Some tips on getting up and running


There’s no doubt we are right in the middle of a running boom in Ireland.  There isn’t a parish or village across the country that haven’t had a 5km fundraiser. When we add Parkruns, Daily Miles, and Marathons, we are fast becoming a nation of movers and joggers.

Time and time again I get asked the question. What’s the best way to start? With that in mind I’ve put together some advice on how best to get moving and more importantly, stay moving.

How to Start?

First and fore most my suggestion would be to search out your contact your local Athletics Club or running group. There are over 350 athletics clubs within Ireland and they are full of people willing to help out and offer advice. The Fit4life programme run by many AAI Clubs have qualified, experienced Coaches that will be able to help and guide you in a measured way. Running is one of cheapest forms of exercise- all you need is a pair of runners and some open space. Why not set yourself a goal and target an upcoming race. The Irish Life Health Festival of Running 3k is a great place to start for anyone looking to start on their running journey. You can find a beginner training plan for the 3k HERE.

How to keep going?

Make a date with yourself -

My Old Coach the late Noel Carroll always had 1pm-2pm line in his pocket diary filled with “Noel-Running”. No matter what cropped up in the usual Hussle and bustle of everyday life his “lunchtime” was a serving of 30-40mins light exercise. Clearing the mind and refuelling the body with exercise induced endorphins. This “date time” for you maybe 7am-8am or after Kids go to school or to bed, varies for everyone, but the date stays constant.

Too fast too soon -

What I mean by this is racing out of your housing estate or the second you hit the park. You may want to look good as you bound past the Neighbours house, but an ill-judged start (ie Striding out of the estate like Sonia O’Sullivan) will be costly. By running to fast too soon you don’t allow the body to warm up properly, calling on the wrong energy systems in the body. Aircraft, racing horses & cars all go through a measured “Warm Up” the human body is no different. Hassen slowly.

Types of Training

One of the biggest mistakes runners make and this goes for both Olympic runners and recreational runners is, too hard on the easy days and too easy on the hard days. Training, no matter what level has to have a mix of easy and not so easy. For example, easy running has to be at a conversational pace, you have to be able to have a conversation. Not a Yes or no conversation, but a meaningful conversation. If you can’t talk are running too fast.

Mixing up the runs is key too. Follow a routine like this, Steady, Easy, Hard, Easy…..and so on. Steady may be a gradual run where you start off Easy, ½ way through the run the Conversation may become a yes, no conversation and the Final ¼ of the run you’ll be under a little bit of pressure. Hard runs may take the guise of interval training ie Warm up and some timed or distance intervals with a limited recovery  (ie  10 x 2mins running with 1 min recovery). Key to interval running is pace judgment and spreading the effort EQUALLY over the duration. - This can be difficult at first but it’s all about the long term goal.

There will be bumps in the Road

Like everything there will be times when you just can’t be bothered! If you are part of an AAI group this is less likely. The routine is contagious. Avoid multiple loops on your run if you can. I normally run away from my house and therefore I have to run back, rather than doing loops of a park, with loops there’s always the tendency to cut it short.

Careful Now

Less is more sometimes- Paradoxical but true. Sometimes with the euphoric high of running there maybe a tendency to do too much too soon, increasing the likelihood of injury.

Watch your surface, especially within the city and town environs, Kerbs, Cambers not to mention Pollutants all pose potential dangers.

Finally run free, every now and then leave the Watch/ Garmin/Fitbit and phone at home, tie the shoelaces and run unbridled.

Click HERE for further information about the Irish Life Health Festival of Running


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