Thinking of running?

One of the loves in my life is running and recently I took the plunge and did a Leadership in Running Fitness (LIRF) course. This is a course run by UK Athletics and it gives you the ideas and knowledge (and insurance) to take groups of people and help them become runners. This is an exciting challenge and gives me the chance to give something back to a sport that has changed me into a fitter and healthier person.

I am hoping to lead a group of ladies from Bedfordshire Business Women in a 'Couch to 5k' schedule, and get them running a 5k by Christmas. I will keep you updated on our progress. :-)

A few pointers to anyone out there who is considering starting running:

It's worth getting your running gait analysed at a local running shop. Having this done will enable you to get shoes that will support your feet as they need to be supported. Please don't be tempted to drag your old school daps out of the cupboard and pluck off the spiders - this could well be a recipe for injury before you've even run your first race.

Choose something comfortable, but be aware that loose and non-technical clothing can get wet and chafe. Lycra may not be the thing you ever imagined yourself wearing but runners like it for a reason. It deals with sweat reasonably efficiently and it doesn't tend to rub you raw. (Plus it feels great!)

Have a Plan!
Following one of the many plans that are available free of charge on line can take you safely from couch to 5k in about 9 weeks. These plans take into account increasing distance and time on feet safely, without putting you at risk of injury.

Running with music is motivating and helps stop you hearing the noises your lungs make when you're running, but make sure you can still hear outside noise, especially when you cross roads and take extra care to look in both directions. Consider joining a club - we're very lucky in Bedford to have Bedford Harriers who cater for a very wide range of running abilities. This will give you safety in numbers and someone to race back to the club.

Get a check up from the neck down with a good Physiotherapist or Sports Massage Therapist. A top to toe massage will highlight the areas where you are tight or where your muscles are scarred(knotted), getting those areas dealt with can prevent injuries occurring and help you train more efficiently.

Cross training
No, don't get mad, get flexible, strong and improve your running with other activities. Yoga, Pilates and Body Pump all compliment running well, and give your body flexibility, core strength and power.

In summary, it's worth investing a little energy in getting it right and giving your body what it needs to take you running.