Running – The Ins & Outs, By Hayley Nye
Running, Why I Run and How You Can Get Started!
With the Covid Lockdown putting restrictions on our way of life and in particular exercise last year, more and more people took to running and walking in their local area to make use of their ‘one hour’ escape from the house. I personally loved seeing families out on their daily run or walk together. Something so simple, that costs nothing, is easily accessible and can provide so many wonderful benefits.
I began running in secondary school – the dreaded cross country – although I wouldn’t say it was something I really enjoyed back then. Fast forward a few years of just the odd run to keep fit as an extra to playing netball and I was lucky enough to gain a ballot place in the London Marathon 2016. For me that is really when my love for running took off and my desire to get better at it! Since then I’ve ran the Manchester Marathon in 2019 and numerous half marathon, 5k and 10k events. Although I tend to avoid the 10k ones – that’s my least favourite distance.
WHAT CAN RUNNING DO FOR YOU?
Running is a such a great movement. Not only can it help you physically in terms of losing weight/maintaining weight but it can help us mentally as well. For me, running is my escape. For those short and long runs, in those moments I can truly switch off and have nothing on my mind. I often get asked how can you run without music? How can you run all by yourself? Why do you run so much? In all honesty, firstly I enjoy it and secondly those minutes of calmness from the 101 things that are often racing through my mind are simply needed! I also like to try an inspire others, whether that be the children I teach, my nephews, my friends or strangers that follow my journey online.
In addition to all this, there are many extra benefits to running that are so often taken for granted. The runner’s high after finishing a run whether it be the longest/ quickest you’ve gone, that sense of achievement finishing a race or a run you’ve worked so hard on, getting a PB or even just being able to put one foot in front of the other, raising money for worthy charities that are close to your heart knowing your fundraising will go such a long way to help others and just simply socialising with your friends (switching those coffee catch up dates for run dates). Lots of my friends tell me they wouldn’t class themselves as runners. The same friends that get up 3 times a week to run at 5am! I often see the saying ‘if you run, you’re a runner’ and this is so true. Time, distance it doesn’t have to matter, as long as you put one foot in front of the other and run you are a runner!
TOP TIPS FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO GET INTO RUNNING
You may be thinking about getting into running – you’ve bought the trainers, you’ve watched the marathon or the Olympics and this has inspired you.
So how do you do it?
The first nerve wracking part of getting going is getting started but once you do, you’ll soon catch that running bug. I often plan my routes in advance using google maps or an app called on the go map. Strava and Garmin apps also have features that you to plan and see other planned routes. I love to run in different places and planning a route around different cities so I can explore; what better way to explore the sights! Stick close to your house and run routes that that are familiar if it helps to feel more comfortable at first. After a while you’ll get to know how far a mile or a kilometre is and you can roughly work these out without the map.
Do invest in some comfortable trainers that are suitable for running – your feet will thank you! Suitable trainers will also help prevent injury.
There are plenty of sports shops and websites online that have a huge range of trainers to suit different feet. Take recommendations from others, do your research and find a pair that are right for you. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to buy to latest brand new model of trainers but sometimes these might not be right for you.
Quite a few brands now do a 30 day trial of trainers so you can try them and if they don’t suit you then you can send them back! In fact, my go to marathon running trainers are an old model of the brand I like to wear that isn’t even made anymore – nothing fancy at all!
Follow a plan
If you’ve never run before there are plenty of training plans and apps out there that can help you.
Couch to 5K is a great app that builds up running intervals weekly. You don’t need to go a run a 5k continuously straight away. If you are already running regularly but looking for the next challenge you can download lots of free training plans for 10k, half marathon and marathon training from Runners World, Nike, Asics – have a look there are plenty out there.
Remember, everyone started somewhere. It takes time, but be consistent and patient. You will see the rewards, whether that’s being able to add an extra couple of minutes of running to the end of your run, going faster for half a mile or a mile, it will come! When I trained for the London Marathon in 2016, I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about training I simply added an extra mile or 2 to my long run each weekend and then just ran two 5ks or a 10k in the week – and this is absolutely fine by the way. I completed the training and the marathon, but since then I’ve learnt so much.
When I completed Manchester Marathon I followed a plan from a running coach Jordan Foster @pmgcoaching which opened my eyes to different ways of training and gave me some great structure, which led to a 27 minute marathon PB! I am now part of a club ‘Best Athletics’ and follow a plan from Nick Bester @justalilbester which contains track sessions, interval running, easy paced running and longer runs with marathon pace intervals. It’s taken me 5 years to get to this point, I’m still learning, still progressing but having a plan in place keeps me focused and accountable.
Strength training is so beneficial to supplement your running. If you are looking to improve your running efficiency, speed and injury prevention I would definitely recommend doing some strength work 2 – 3 times a week. There are plenty of free content online from PTs and you don’t need to buy expensive weights to do it. You can do body weight strength work or even use household items (tins/bottle of water). A couple of good basic exercises I would recommend are squats, lunges, calf raises, glute bridge and deadlifts as well as incorporating single leg strength work.
My go to breakfast on a running day is a big bowl of porridge, protein powder and berries. Sometimes I mix it up and blend the ingredients, add an egg and make them into pancakes!
Some people find porridge a bit too heavy before a run so other good ideas are bagels and peanut butter, cereal or toast and some fruit. I definitely eat a lot more now I run a lot more but I just make sure I try to choose the right things to eat; making sure I get enough carbohydrates and protein into my diet. I always get hungry after a run. My go to post run snacks are a banana, rice cakes and Nutella, Boostball Maple and Cinnamon Swirl Protein Balls, protein shake or a chocolate milk drink! My advice is, don’t eat a great big meal just before running! I find eating an hour or two before running is ideal. If you are training for a race definitely practice your race day nutrition before hand and see what works for you!
Find your local Parkrun, it is a free weekly event in your local area that takes place every Saturday morning. The sense of community and enjoyment at these events is great. Nobody is judging you, there are a range of abilities and you just run your own run! It’s also a great way to meet other people and who knows you may even end up with some new running partners!
Run with Friends
Once you’ve persuaded them, honestly running dates are the new coffee dates. Running with friends is a great way to stay motivated but also socialise and catch up. The more often you end up running the more often you could ending up seeing your friends, it’s a win win!
So important. Don’t over do it. Once you’ve started running it can be easy to get caught up in that runner’s high and wanting to go out every day but it is important to take rest days. You can even mix up some of the days and cross train instead of running – cycling and swimming are great forms of cross training.
So what do you do when motivation seems to dwindle?
Set yourself a challenge – sign up to a race. Have you ever watched the Olympics, London Marathon, The Big Half or the Great North Run on tv and thought ‘I wish I could do that, but I can’t’. Believe me, you can! Now that mass participation races are back what better way to keep motivated that with an actual finish line! I love running events, everyone is so friendly when you line up at the start lines. I’ve never experienced a negative atmosphere only positive where everyone is rooting for each other! Crossing that finish line may have you saying ‘never again’, but believe me give it a few days and you’ll be signing up again! The medal is also a bonus!
Some people find listening to music or a podcast a helpful way to motivate themselves to run. I personally don’t, I enjoy the sounds of nature or the traffic – in fact half the time I don’t even think I notice any sound at all. I just switch off.
On those dark cold winter mornings or any early morning before work it can also be hard to get out the door. Set out your clothes the night before, invest in some warm running clothes, set your alarm and go! Don’t think about it too much, don’t let your mind take over and tell you not to go. I guarantee you, you will feel better. You could always find someone mad enough to go with you, that way you both keep each other motivated to go! I know lots of people incorporate their run into their commute to work. If you’re lucky to have shower facilities at work then this is a great way to start the day or run home/part way home instead!
Think about your why.
Why did you start to run?
Whatever your reason is – keep hold of that.
This year I’ll be back at the London Marathon with a personal target but also to raise money for Cancer Research UK in memory of my nan and granddad – this year that’s my why.
You can follow Hayley’s running journey on Instagram HERE
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