I'm currently getting ready to my next challenge which will be a 30km Trail Run (25th November/18) and I always receive messages from people saying they would like to start running but have no clue of how to start or asking for running tips.
As you know I personally really enjoy the long distances and trail runs and to be prepare for that my training program involves a combination of resistance training, cross-training/strength work and stretching.
But at the moment let’s focus on running itself. In my own experience, running can change our lives. In my case, it has improved my whole lifestyle, with benefits to my physical and mental health and strengthen my self-belief giving me more courage to face other challenges.
I’ve decided to share some of my Running Essentials with you. Whether if you are planning on running just for fun or getting prepared to a competition, I'm sure you can benefit from the following topics:
Healthy eating and sports nutrition have a dramatic impact on performance. If you really aim to reach your running goals, you not only have to train like a pro, you’ve got to eat like one too. Here and here you can find previous posts with specific information about nutrition for endurance training.
-Sleep like a baby, run like a beast
Running can be addicting (I know) but it is important to listen to your body. It is incredibly intelligent. Push yourself, but also know when to stop and rest or either enjoy an extra hour in bed.
For runners, sleep is especially critical for performance, as deprivation can impair post-exercise recovery. Sleep is when muscles rebuild.
During the sleep happens the release of hormones such as prolactin regulates inflammation and growth hormones that stimulates muscle repair. During a workout, your muscles break down on a cellular level. Sleep allows the body to repair those cells, enabling you to bounce back stronger and faster.
I'm the kind of person that if I don't discipline myself I get cought sabotaging my sleep and stays "on the go mode" so I always give an extra attention to that. Since I've changed my pillow and sheets for BEDGEAR performance bed gear, I'm sleeping a lot better. I felt a massive difference as I sleep much more comfortably and stay cool in bed which makes me feel extra energised in the morning for my runs.
Hydration is an extremely important component.
Dehydration can cause fatigue, decreased endurance capacity, headaches, nausea, overheating and heat cramps. Make sure you consume plenty of fluids before, during and after your runnings.
The exactly amount of fluids to be drunk during the race will vary depending on the runner's individual sweat rate but plan to keep race fluid intake of ~150-200ml every 20 mins.
-Specific Running Gear
To start running the first Kms all you need is a good pair of running shoes. I ran with Saucony for a while and recently I’ve changed for Brooks (Levitate 2) but it is really personal. One of the best ways to get the right shoes for you is to visit a local running store and have them watch you run on a treadmill. They should be able to help you pick the right shoes for you.
Once it starts to be a little bit more serious look for some basic running apparel such as running shorts/tights, tops and socks. A good and supportive sports tops are a must for womens.
-Tracking your pace and your progress
A running watch can help you know your pace, track your progress and encourage you to run for longer and faster but I suggest you to invest on this accessory only when you are sure running is really your "thing".
You can use your smartphone in place of a watch, running apps can also be a great help some of the most famous ones are: Strava, Nike + Running and RunKeeper.
-Music/ Fun playlist.
One thing that I truly recommend adding to your running essentials is some good music. Studies shows that music can boost your running performance by up to 15%.
When it comes to music while running a good headphone can really help your pace and give you that extra edge to keep on going.
I'm quite fussy with headphones as most of seems to fall out of ears when I start to sweat or it gets uncomfortable to use after a while (I normally do long runs). Jaybird is my choice, I use the Tarah Pro.
-Dynamic warm up and Stretches
That is something I had no idea when I started my running journey but you didn't suppose to stretch before running, instead of it, the ideal is doing a series of dynamic warm-up exercises that prepares the body to run, it helps the body transition from rest to action without creating stress on the organs or brain. It will improve range of motion, increase blood flow to the muscles, help to engage more muscles and prevent muscle imbalances, plus improve post workout recovery.
Some simple exercises that you can do before running to warm up are: Butt Kicks, Side Lunges, Single-Leg Dead Lifts, Straight-Leg Lateral Swings, Knee Circles, Crab Walks and Bent Over Toe Taps.
Immediately after running (and hydrate of course) make sure you are taking the time to properly cool down. Post-run is a great time to stretch because your muscles will be warmed up. Make it part of your post-run routine to help prevent injuries, improve your flexibility, comfort, and performance.
Some stretching suggestion are: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch, Supine Glute Stretch, Hamstring Stretch, Calf Stretch, Quad Stretch.
-Join a Running Group
Running with a group is much more fun and it will help you staying committed and motivated. You can exchange experience and learn from each other. It is also a great way to make friends with the same interests. Always when I have time I love to join the Running Heroes events.
To give you an extra push to start I asked my Running Coach Gabriela Ferretti to design a Training Plan for beginners, so here it is:
**This content is for informational purpose only. For personalised nutrition and training program consult a professional.