In light of the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, more and more of us are turning to pounding the pavements to give us an excuse to go outside – or even to try and get fit or lose weight. For those who are looking to get started with running, there’s a few more things to consider than simply putting one foot in front of the other.
Express.co.uk spoke to Martin Dowdall, Running Gait Advisor from SportsShoes.com, for his top tips on how to start running the right way.
He said: “To get the best results from your running it’s important to set goals.
“Whether that’s a certain distance that you want to get to or being able to run continuously for a set amount of time.
“Giving yourself a goal helps to focus your training and keeps you motivated when you’re lacking enthusiasm.
“Being able to do a 5km run is a great milestone to aim for as a beginner.”
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But if you’re new to running, what do you need to know before you start out?
Well, Martin says that mastering your running form is key.
He added: “Correct running form reduces the stress and strains on the body as we run.
“This not only lessens the risk of injury, but also helps to improve performance, helping us run quicker and for longer.”
There are three things you need to remember for perfect running technique.
1. Stand tall
When running, keep your spine straight and your head up and focused, looking ahead.
Martin says: “It’s okay to lean slightly forwards but maintain the length in your spine.
“As we get tired, we have a tendency to start looking down, but try not to. This puts stress on the neck and shoulders.
“As you run, your shoulders should also be square and pulled back to help open up the chest and ribcage.
“This allows the lungs to expand and optimises their capacity, helping you go that extra bit longer.”
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When running it is important to avoid stiffness and tension when running.
Martin says: “Aim to run with your hands in a loose fist position with the arms swinging freely.
“Your elbows should be at your sides and bent at around a 90-degree angle, moving in a front to back motion and not across the midline of your body.
“If you find yourself tensing up as you run, shake out your arms and shrug your shoulders to loosen off some of that tension.”
3. Don’t over stride
A common mistake is lengthening your stride when trying to up your pace.
Martin says: “This actually increases stress and impact on the body, affecting the knee, hips and back.
“Instead, focus on increasing leg turn over when you want to go faster.”
Following these simple tips should help you run further and faster in no time.
But it’s important to note that doing too much too soon can result in injury or fatigue.
Martin advises you gradually build up your running fitness, which helps you to allow your body to adapt to its new regime.
He added: “Generally, most runners aim for around three or four runs a week, but if you’re brand new to running I’d suggest starting with two runs a week and working your way up.
“It’s important to remember that your rest days are just as crucial as your running days.
“Resting helps your body to repair, recover and build strength. Be patient and the results will shine through.”
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