Running is a great way to of getting your cardio fix and increases your general fitness, but not everyone can run a marathon so it’s important to introduce running to your workout gradually.
Dan Andrews, a trainer from Virgin Active Health Clubs, shares his tips and tricks for building up to a great running workout.
If you’ve never run before, set yourself reasonable expectations and goals - don’t expect to be able to run for an hour up-hill - remember, slow and steady wins the race. In the beginning it’s a good idea to use interval training to get used to the rhythm. Start by running for 30 second intervals and walking for 10 seconds. Do this for 2-3 minutes and increase the intervals over time.
Once you’ve increased your fitness level and got used to the rhythm of running, extend your goals, keeping them realistic to avoid injury. If you can run for 5 minutes, aim to run for 10 minutes without stopping by the end of the fortnight. If you can run for half an hour, aim to run for an hour by the end of the month.
To really test yourself, start adding a gradual incline as your fitness increases.
If you’re looking to introduce running to your workout, the top three things to remember are:
1) Stretch: Stretching before and after running helps to improve flexibility in your muscles and can help prevent injury
2) Stay hydrated: Hydration isn’t only important after you run, it’s vital to keep your fluids up and body replenished before, during and after your run. If your body is dehydrated, it won’t be able to perform as well and you can run the risk of heat exhaustion (particularly on hot days)
3) Breathing: This is a simple one but an important one. Many people can get lost focusing on their technique, route and times and forget to focus on their breathing. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth maintains a regular breathing pattern and ensures your body receives enough oxygen
Dan Andrews has been a trainer with Virgin Active Health Clubs for 4 years. For more information, click here
Whats your top tip for introducing running into your fitness routine? Let us know in the comments below!