Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My top 10 running tips

OK - I am no professional.

Remember I couldn't even run more than a km last year ... until my just before Christmas breakthrough ...

So these are my tips for beginners. What works for me.

Take them with a grain of salt if you will ... but worth a go!

  1. Change your expectations of what being a runner is. Running is not going fast. It is not covering a huge difference. Heck, to begin with it is not even "running" the whole way. If you are moving with an intent to run some ... and are working to improve your running action and time ... then you are a runner. Don't put huge expectations on yourself! Even the best marathoners have days they have to walk a little! To begin with our "little" is just a bit more than their's!

  2. If you have never run before go slow. And then slow down a bit more. Honestly I think that is the biggest tip I can give you! Your body is used to walking! So if you are running a teeny bit faster than you walk that is probably the right speed. When I began running my husband would come with me ... and walk and keep up (until I throttled him and told him he could at least pretend to run!) If you are on a treadmill ... slow it down ! 7 ... maybe 7.5km/hr. Yes it will feel ridiculously slow. Who cares! Speed will come!

  3. Find a place you feel safe running. If possible make it just outside your door! Make it convenient. Flattish if you can! But above all an area where you won't be worried about your safety. (I worried enough about not falling over as it was!)

  4. Buy good shoes. Yep now. Before you even start. Go get fitted for your foot type. Yes it is an investment but they will last ages and save you $$$$ in physio bills ! Plus shin splints hurt a lot. Buy good shoes. I mean it. Do it.

  5. Interval running is the way to go. Walk a bit run a bit. Repeat. Build up run intervals. Cut down walk intervals. There are a heap of good plans out there. Check out http://www.c25k.com/ for the couch to 5km. Or if you are doing the 12wbt I highly recomend Michelle's beginning running plan. If a week is hard don't be afraid to repeat it. This will work. It just takes time.

  6. Don't run every day. Give your body a chance to recover. Running is a tough workout. But don't be a couch potato on the other days either! Mix it up!

  7. If you can get a HR monitor. It really helped me to monitor my heart rate to help me determine if I needed to slow down or go faster

  8. Once you are building up longer intervals ... or trying to run the whole way ... slow down before you walk. Learning to run is a mind game. You will be tired. You will want to walk. It is easier. But before you walk try running slower. Stupidly slow. Like a shuffle. It's easier to keep going once you recover if you don't lose the momentum.

  9. And before you stop (or walk) do a check ... can I breathe? Yes ? Are my legs about to die? No? Am I feeling dizzy? No? Is my heart rate ok? Yes? Then do I need to stop ... or is it in my head? This was the breakthrough I needed

  10. Don't compare. Someone will always run faster than you. Or further. Or more often. You may run stupidly slow (heck I still do!) But you are a runner. And this is YOUR journey! Do what it takes. Babysteps. As John Bingham would say ... you may be more penguin than gazelle ... but you are running! Just enjoy the journey. And see your body respond! You can do it!


  1. Great post Katharine! Am going to start my shuffling / jogging career tomorrow. Have mapped out a 1km track around the field my son trains Rugby on. I figure I can use it as my time trial and also run where it is flat, safe, and well lit. I think your tips are marvellous and I will run (hee hee) them through my head as I set out. :) Thanks.

  2. Margaret! So exciting! I know you will rock it!

    Let me know how you go!

  3. Excellent post Katharine! I have just taken up running and do the Cliff Young shuffle. 5 weeks ago I couldn't run 100 mts. I hadn't run since 1986...seriously! Last weekend I competed in my first 4km cross country race and ran the whole way.

    I agree with your points about changing expectations and going slow. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that you are a runner! I may not be fast, but I can run!

  4. Thanks heaps Kath!! That all really helped :) I'm up to week 3 of the c25k and so far so good, A few months ago I could only run about 20 metres!!!

  5. Kath, as someone who has progressed from couch to 'shuffle runner' over three rounds of 12WBT, I am still yet to nail number 9. I know it is in my head. Now every time I want to stop, your wise words will be ringing in my head.

  6. #11. Play music. Inspiring music. Energetic music. Music you can sing along to. Music that makes your heart soar. It will give you rhythm to run to & make the run go SO MUCH quicker ;-)

  7. Kath, I just want to say a huge thank you for your running advice. Running is something I do but not enjoy. Last night when reading your blog something just clicked (my lightbulb moment). You spelt it out to me, changing my expectations, changing my pace and checking before I stop. I am someone who mentally stops before I physically have to. Well to cut a long story short, I ran this morning (with renewed inspiration and motivation) without stopping on any of the killer hills and did longer than I ever had, and I wasn't knackered. I am so proud of myself for kicking the demons out and JFDI. So THANK YOU :) From another 12WBT buddy

  8. Thanks Kath, your tips have made me realise that I am too hard on myself and need to slow myself down in order to improve. I am trying to get my husband into running so will pass these tips on. A BIG thank you! Rgds Cazza

  9. Thank you for this great post. I have done 5km and 4.5 km and I was slow as - but I didn't stop - it is nice to see a post like this! So thank you!

  10. And put the tune "moves like jagger " in your head and keep the pace.. Lots of fun and I am a slow runner

  11. thank you going to look at starting my jorney my cousin carmen is doing michelles programme going to read up now.