Hello Girls who run NZ if you are just starting your running journey then this Blog is designed for YOU. The information provided comes from my experience over the last 6 years of running and remember I started jogging from lamp post to lamp post so you can do it too.

These tips are practical and simple don’t over complicate things as you start training. The goal is to get out and do little sessions and incorporate 1 of these tips to work on.

Not all of this information may suit you and remember we are all different in body shape, fitness levels, lifestyle, experience and injuries. So listen to your body and adjust where you need to, this is not the bible of running rather my take on giving it a go!!

Lamp Post Running
Yes this is how I started my training by literally running 1 set of lamp posts, walking for 3 and repeating. I suggest you set yourself time out goals rather than distance. 15-20mins at a time is enough especially if you are unfit or overweight. As you start to feel good with running 1 set of lamp posts gradually go to running for 2 and but still walking for 3. Slowly build your number of lamp posts from here.

Don’t reduce the walking intervals as you will need this recovery time to catch your breath and rest your legs.

The load on your muscles and joints will be one of the biggest challenges so please be mindful of pulling back to walking if you need to. Listen to your body and challenge yourself but don’t push though pain.

Your goal is to get to running for the whole time out which could take a few months depending on how often you can get out. Ideally train 3 times per week.

Training Sessions
Sometimes it can be more beneficial to focus on time out rather than how many kms especially as you begin running. You can slowly increase your time out as you progress and start to feel stronger. Like you could go further. Each week I suggest you increase your time out by no more than 10mins per session.

What To Wear
Wear comfortable clothing and watch for any straps, tags or seams that may annoy you during a run. Make the investment on good quality running gear and NEVER wear anything new on race day!!!!!!

The Nasty Stuff
Its a good idea to buy some vaseline or anti chaffing cream for a more enjoyable running experience. Don’t learn the hard way it will leave you red and raw. For blisters try hikers wool to put in your sock and in-between your toes, blister creams or vaseline. All these things you can get at your chemist it is worth a trip.

Running Shoes
I cannot stress enough how important this investment will be so take yourself to a specialised shoe store to get tested and fitted. Make sure they put you on the treadmill and watch you run then give you feedback on your running form. From here the experts will make suggestions on the right type of shoe for you. Prevent injuries from happening by starting from the ground up I know this is more expensive but YOU are worth it and your feet deserve the best.

Posture For Running
Just remember as I talk about posture don’t overthink things. We all have our issues and we should never compare our running style to someone else’s. You may be carrying extra weight, have injury or you just new to running. Here are some basic tips:

  1. Lean forward slightly from the ankles like you are falling forward and keep that position throughout your run, aim to hit the ground mid foot
  2. Keep your shoulders back and open, don’t hunch through your back
  3. Relax your neck and shoulders
  4. Keep everything tracking forward – knees, ankles, hips, arm swing

Small Steps
Taking smaller steps is a more energy efficient and better for your running range of motion. Lessen your stride then next time you go out and see if it makes a difference to the impact of your legs.

Running uphill can use up a lot of energy. However running hills is good for cardio and leg strengthening and should be done at some stage.

I recommend as a beginner runner that you walk most hills this is to keep your energy stores going for the rest of the race. This includes in your training plus if you have any knee issues this is where injury can happen because of the angle you are loading different muscles.

If you are more experienced or have no injuries find yourself a hill and try these tips:

  1. Make sure you warm up first by doing 5/10mins of dynamic stretches
  2. Lean the body forward slightly from the ankles
  3. Lift the knees – you will need to take a higher step so think about increasing the knee lift
  4. Swing your arms – this can help power you up the hill and the legs tend to follow what your arms are doing win win!
  5. Take smaller steps – to conserve energy and less pressure on your joints
  6. Use your gluts – think about activating your butt muscles to help with the extra leg lift
  7. BREATH and relax your Jaw – this really helps

Where there is an uphill there is always a down so use this time to recover and catch your breath. Sometimes your knees can get sore running downhill so make sure your knees are tracking with your toes and take your time. Here are my tips:

  1. Don’t sit back in your heals or lean back this puts a lot of pressure on your joints, slightly lean forward to help the natural motion
  2. Small steps downhill and relaxed pace – don’t try and make up time downhills this is an opportunity to recover.
  3. Take this time to shake out your arms
  4. Deep breaths to recovery
  5. Once on the flat return to your normal pace

Get into some good habits and start doing some dynamic stretches before you run and static stretches afterwards. This is going to help prevent injury, warm your muscles and set you up for a great running experience. 5 mins is all you need it at each end. An example of dynamic stretches – Walking lunges (limit your range), star jumps, squats, high knees, butt kicks. Static Stretches – Calf, hamstring, quad stretches – hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.

Don’t Get Injured
Listen to your body if you feel any niggles stop and walk. Pay some attention to your niggles when you get home. Gentle stretching might be what you need or good old rest. It is not worth pushing through pain and then getting injured which will set your training back massively. Reach out for advice from your Physio or Doctor if your niggle keeps coming back and stop training. Think of other options for training in the meantime like aqua jogging, biking, low impact workouts anything that doesn’t irritate your injury.

Final words from Coach Maree
I hope these tips have helped you and please remember to only focus on one thing at a time. Some things will work for you and some things wont. These are just ideas I wanted to share from my running journey as a beginner runner 6 years ago.

I did a lot of research myself and wished I had read a blog like this.

So look into things yourself, google local running groups, YMCA, Park Run and find ways to learn more about running resources available to you.

It is amazing what is out there when you put some time into research. It will make your running journey more enjoyable if you have some tools ready to go.

Best of luck and I look forward to hearing about your running journey so please post on my facebook page x Coach Maree.

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