Running for beginners

Running can take a toll on your body, especially when you’re just getting started your birth certificate. Here are a few ways to help you manage the demands of running, while minimising the chances of getting injured.

The none to run plan

The none to run plan is a structured program to help you get fit, even if you’ve never run before. The plan focuses on building mileage slowly to make lasting changes. This is a system that will moderately push you toward higher levels of activity and better nutritional habits. You’ll go from running continuously for less than five minutes and eventually, up to 30 minutes.

The aim is to build strength over a few weeks starting with:

  • Walking briskly for five minutes.
  • Then alternating between 30 seconds of slow running and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. This will result in a total of 25 minutes.

After 12 weeks, you’ll be able to walk briskly for five minutes, then run slowly for 25 minutes, bringing you up to a total of 30 minutes.

How to get started

Running involves the nervous, muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular systems. When you move, the brain sends messages via nerves to the muscles, to tell them to respond in a certain way. To perfect a movement, you’d need to do some brain-training too!

Get ready to run…

  1. Hold your head up with your eyes looking straight ahead, not down.
  2. Get some advice about which running shoes are best for your specific feet.
  3. When you’re running, make sure to land lightly instead of slapping your feet on the ground as this can increase risk of injury.
  4. Make sure your knees are slightly bent as you make contact with the ground.
  5. Your hamstrings (back of your thighs) and gluteus maximus (biggest muscle of the backside) play a crucial role in the running movement and it’s key that you strengthen them. Often, the quad muscles (front of your thigh) are much stronger than the hamstrings.
  6. Keep your back straight but relaxed. Tired runners often lean forward.
  7. Relax your neck and shoulders, .
  8. Try and keep your hands relaxed with the palm facing inwards.
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Chant a mantra to help you reinforce your focus and belief in your own ability. Adopt a “Yes I can” attitude.

“Couch to 5k”

The Couch to 5K running plan has helped thousands to run their first 5K. The plan consists of 30 minutes per day, three days per week, over nine weeks and you’re 5K ready. Would you be able to keep up?

Well for many people, Couch to 5K may be too difficult and here’s why:

  • Beginner runners generally don’t have the lower body strength needed to prepare them for the demands of running.
  • Beginner runners need time to adapt to running.
  • New runners often develop injuries like shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, Iliotibial band syndrome and plantar fasciitis.
  • When running for a distance, beginner runners often feel pressure to cover a certain distance in a certain time. This creates bad running habits that can lead to burnout, injury and less enjoyment.

Find a suitable plan for yourself and your lifestyle, the more active you become, the better for your health Alternatively, talk to a professional runner or trainer to make sure you’re choosing the most appropriate plan.