As the Spring approaches people generally feel the need to move around a bit more and with the weather improving it can be a great time to either start running, or get back to running after a Winter break. If you’re new to running it can sometimes seem a bit daunting with people often thinking they need the latest designer gear, or fancy watch and heart rate monitor. The truth is, if you get serious about your training then you may need this eventually, but if you’re just getting started then there is absolutely no need for these fancy things. As long as you have a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you can hit the road, field, track or trail.
It can often be disheartening when first starting out running or trying to get back to a certain level after a break, but as I have found to my cost, patience is a virtue. I ran a marathon at the end of 2015 and after a few months of not running thought I could pick up where I left off, give or take a few miles, big mistake! This led to putting my body under too much strain leading to an injury. This is often the case with new runners who think they need to get out and run as fast and as far as they can straight away. A better idea is to just start off slowly, building up speed and distance gradually.
Dr Phil Maffetone, creator of The MAF Method, argues that we don’t need to do any speed work at all and that all of our runs should be done in an easy running zone. A lot of people have opinions on this but the thought behind it is to build up aerobic fitness before anaerobic fitness. To take up ‘The MAF Method’ properly a heart rate monitor is advisable but not necessary to begin with.
If you are new to running, or just getting back in to the swing of things, try starting off with some slower runs, if you feel yourself getting out of breath then you are going too fast. You should be able to still hold a conversation when running and you may find that it’s actually enjoyable and invigorating to run this way.