If you have never run before the key is doing small amounts and using walking to increase your time on feet.

Giving yourself plenty of recovery between run/walks is also vital in the early stages. On some of the days in between running doing some basic conditioning would be really useful.

Essentially running muscles are calves and quads so heel raises and squats are a good start. Some trunk strength can also help this process and hopefully reduce the risk of injury.

As an absolute beginner I would say forget about speed or distance. Get yourself a decent running shoe and get yourself out. Run walk is the best way to start. Keeping the running short will allow you to maintain a decent running action and avoid becoming too fatigued. Running is hard. It can initially feel pretty unpleasant. But, it isn’t supposed to be a punishment. If you aim initially to be on the move for twenty minutes, you can run for a short time (a couple of minutes – or even one minute) then walk for a period of time until you catch your breath.

WARM UP AND STRETCH

A warm up and a cool down are also useful. Walking is a nice way to warm the body up. After 5-6 minutes, a few squats, side steps, lunges and heel raises can help prepare you for the first bout of running. After finishing the last run walking slowly can help your recovery. Foam rolling and comfortable stretches of the key muscles – calves, hamstrings, glutes and quads (holding for around 30 seconds) are also helpful for recovery.

EXPLORE SURROUNDINGS

Getting out running and walking may allow people to explore their surroundings. It also allows people to look for different surfaces, grass, trail, and canals as well as the usual road routes.

Gradually increasing the 20 minutes towards 30 minutes and trying to keep feeling comfortable is a nice way to progress. Going from three to four times a week is the other option to increase the volume with more frequency. Cross training can also help build volume of training with reduced impact.

EAT SMART

Eat well but allow time for food to digest (around 2 hours before running). Remember fat is not the enemy. It’s an efficient fuel.

RECOVERY

Recovery is vital. Recovery encompasses many areas. Sleep, time between training, relaxation, stretching, nutrition etc. Increased sleep to compliment your training is an easy way to help recovery. Consuming carb-protein food or beverage as close to any activity can also help. Carbs help replace depleted muscle glycogen and protein helps repair and build muscle.

Tips from Physiotherapist at the Centre of Health & Human Performance (CHHP), Andy Walling

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