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5 easy steps to start running (and stick to it)

Your run begins the moment you forget you are running- Adidas

by Tarryn Povey (from Physio Works)
Running is by far the simplest form of cardio available to us. Just grab a pair of shoes, pick a comfortable time of day and you're on your way to natural health.  No matter what your level is, you can change your distance, pace and terrain to suit your needs. Whether you are looking to challenge or increase your endurance, burn off the weekend's indulgence or just  get outdoors and clear your head, start running along the path to natural health.
I used to give myself every excuse not to run but now I’ve come to realize the mental and physical benefits that running has to offer. Running can teach you a lot about yourself both physically and mentally and the great thing is, it doesn’t matter if you are running 5km or 42km! You set the pace.
This week's #InstaHealthMondays post is for those of you who would like to run but don't know where to start. 
When putting together a running program, there are a few things to consider:
1. Start injury free.
Make sure that you get rid of all those niggles and pains before starting a new exercise regime. Running is a repetitive sport and if you are going into it with an existing injury there is quite a high chance that it’s going to rear its ugly head in a big way. Get checked out and ensure you are A-Okay.
2. Make Time to Run
Schedule your running times and stick to them. It’s very easy to get home after a hard day and let the couch win, or sleep in later on those cold dark mornings. Its time to get tough, set yourself goals with your running. Whether it be: setting 10 alarms, taking your running clothes to work to avoid the call of the couch or joining/starting a running club with friends so that they will give you grief if you bail on them. Anything to get you out of the house... To be honest, getting out the door is generally the hardest part, once you are warm and going it all gets better from there.
3. Start slow and steady
The easiest way to get injured is to go out too fast and hard. Start out slow, get your body used to the tar/trail and work your way into it. Let’s start off with 20 minutes at a time 2-3 times a week.
4. So you have the jogging down, now what?
There are a few different ways to challenge yourself and improve your running
  • Speed- You don’t need a fancy watch to tell you that you are going faster. There are a few other ways of doing this.
  • Time trial- Pick a route that you like and tie yourself on it. The next time you do this, beat your time. This can also be a good indication on your fitness
  • Sprints- I tend to call these, “lampposts” or “trees” simply because you pick a lamppost and form there, you sprint/run to the next lamppost where you can slow down to your normal pace. Repeat this a few times on your run.
  • Distance- Run further, it’s as simple as that. This needs to be increased slowly, just because you have run 5km’s does not mean that you will feel good doing a half marathon. If you are running 3km, 3 times a week, change one of those runs into a 5km. once that feels to easy do 2 x 5km and a 3km and increase in increments of 2km form there on.
  • Terrain- Hills are the name of the game, whether you add a new hill to your standard run or try hill sprints (guaranteed to give your heart a run for its money). It’s all about increments, start off jogging the downs and flats and walking the hills. When you are comfortable, jog as much of the hill as you can and note how far up it you got. Next time, beat that spot, until you are jogging the whole thing. Then, do it faster.
  • Mix it up- Now that you have a base, mix it up. Doing the same route day in and out will drive you insane, running will be boring. So change it up each week to keep things fresh and new.
5. Listen to your body
One of the best things about running is that you learn to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired and miserable and sore, then have a rest day. The worst thing you can do to yourself is work it when it’s too tired to work. Often this will do more harm than good.
Realise that you will feel a little sore sometimes. You are building muscle, so you will have some stiffness and soreness. Get into a stretching routine and respect warm up and cool down times to combat the muscle soreness.
Summer is here and, as Capetonians, we are blessed with ideal running conditions and terrains. What better way to get in touch with your city? 🙂


Thank you for reading. For more lifestyle advice on how to achieve optimal health, visit your Chiropractor at The Chiropractic Health Centre. Chat to one of our friendly receptionists to make a booking or follow the link to learn more about our services: www.chiropractor.co.za/our-servicesPhone: 021 683 2996 (Claremont) or 021 439 8898 (Sea Point)Email: atlantic@chiropractor.co.za

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