New to Running? Here’s your how-to guide

By Bethan Hamilton, MMSc, ANutr, categorized in Active Lifestyle

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Summer is well and truly here, the constant stream of runners going past my window is a pretty good sign! Now I am not a runner, I never have been, you are much more likely to catch me at a gym class, doing a HIIT workout in my house at lunch time, or going for a long walk in the middle of nowhere. But as soon as the sun comes out, I suddenly want to get outside and experience what everyone else is. So, I am determined to get into running this summer with the help of my fellow National Educator, Kim McDevitt. She has come up with some fabulous running tips! Whether you’ve decided to conquer a long-time goal, or you’re ready to experience what everyone is posting on Instagram, this running how-to guide will help you on your way:

1.   Make a Plan

If you’re anything like me then you may need that end goal as motivation. I personally need something to work towards to make me put those running shoes on. Luckily, there are dozens of apps and running events to get signed up to.

  • If you’ve never run before, Couch-to-5K may be the app for you. Over the course of 9 weeks you will start slow and gradually build up to running your first 5K (3.1miles). Perfect for beginners.
  • If you’ve dabbled with running and feel ready to take on a bigger challenge such as a 10K (6.2 miles) or a half-marathon (13.1miles) there are a lot of fantastic training plans to help get you there, for example Runner’s World. If you get yourself signed up, you can then create a plan specifically working up to the date of the event.

2.   Talk the Talk

Just like any sport, running has its own jargon to get your head around. Once you’ve got your training plan, this mini glossary will help you translate it.

  • Easy run: you should be able to maintain comfortable conversation the entire run.
  • Fartleks: an easy pace run mixed in with quick bursts of sprinting. Often you pick an object in the distance—like a sign or a distinct building—sprint to it and then slow back down to an easy run.
  • LSD: Long slow distance runs. Depending on the length of the race you’re signing up for, this distance could range from 3 to 22 miles.
  • Pace: The number of minutes it takes to run 1 mile or 1 kilometre.
  • PR: Personal record set by you. This is your “personal best” – the best overall time and pace you hit in a race.
  • Tempo Run: a form of speed training. On this run you hold a comfortably hard pace for 20 minutes or more. Often this comfortably hard pace is the speed you’re hoping to run an upcoming race at.

3.   Walk the Walk

Time to admit it, I still wear the same trainers I had at Uni for running… it might be time I hit the shops and treat myself to a brand new pair. Plus, I will then want to get outside to test them out and show them off to everyone else #motivation. Not everyone will suit the same shoes, or brand for that matter, so if you can, head to a running store and get properly fitted. Find out how you run, therefore what trainer will suit you best. Let them know how much you plan to run per week, the type of terrain, and test out a few different styles and brands. Many stores even have treadmills to let you take them for a test spin!

4.   Fuel Right

Don’t overlook nutrition, as it’s an integral part of your training plan to consider.

  • Pre-Workout: Reach for carbohydrates before your run. Easy grabs are a banana, dates or Vega Clean* Energy mixed with ice cold water 20 minutes before you set off. You can even make yourself some Pre-workout Energy Bars too as a ‘grab-and-go’.
  • Mid-Workout: No matter how long you’re running for, it’s never a bad idea to bring water. If it’s a hot day, reaching for a drink with electrolytes would be a good idea as well. There are lots of gels and chews out there that can support you with this. A personal favourite is once again Vega Clean* Energy Because it is a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution, it contributes to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise, so it’s great to use in combination with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for good health.
  • Post-Workout: There are many elements to post-workout nutrition, but two key things to remember are carbs and protein. Depending on how much time you have, you could either whip up a simple Apple and Banana Protein shake or spend a little longer and make yourself a scummy batch of Vegan Banana Protein Pancakes!

Right, time to get outside and start running. Let me know how you get on @VegaTeam_UK!

*At Vega®, Clean means: Non-GMO, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten-free and non-dairy ingredients.