You don't have to be a pro runner to join the Wings for Life World Run. You just need to start from somewhere and now we are going to make it easier for you to start.
For those of you who don’t know your warm-ups from your warm-downs, we were given a few pointers by US-based marathon runner and PUMA Team Faster trainer Kelly Whittaker.
Kelly’s the brains behind Wing for Life World Run’s tailor-made 12-week programmes for beginners and intermediate runners. They are designed especially so you can run at your best for those who can’t on May 7, no matter what level you are.
1. I've never run before, what do I need?
Training for the first time can be scary. First and foremost, you need a positive mind-set. Think of every run as a new adventure.
Proper running gear for the climate and new sneakers are essential. Some of the most common running injuries happen because beginners wear incorrect or worn out shoes. Go to a running store and have an expert check your stride to ensure you’ve got the right shoes for the job.
2. What's the best way to start training?
A friend always helps, especially when you're starting out. It can be daunting to run miles outside alone and good company’s a great distraction.
If you choose to go solo, make a motivational playlist.
3. How can I make sure I don't get injured?
Don't try to be a hero! Start with short distances at a comfortable pace. Building gradually will prevent injuries that could completely derail your training.
Also, make sure you warm up before runs with some dynamic stretches: high knees, jumping jacks and butt kicks are perfect.
Afterwards, recovery is key. Foam rollers can be runner’s best friend. Stretching and proper hydration either side of a run will make sure you bounce back quickly for the next one.
4. How can I make sure I enjoy it and don't just give up?
Running is a test of mental and physical strength. Only you can push yourself to run further and run faster. Sticking to a training plan will not only improve your pace, the benefits will turn up in your normal life, helping you stay focused on everything from work, school and family.
Running will make you feel great about yourself and running for a great cause will only make it better. Before long, you’ll realise the best runs are the tough ones. They’ll build the most strength in the end.
5. What should I eat and drink?
Everybody is different. Experiment with different foods and meal times before your shorter runs until you find what works for you.
If you run in the morning, get up early and eat a healthy breakfast that will give you lots of fuel. Peanut butter and whole grain English muffins are a personal favourite. A little caffeine boost isn’t a bad idea either – I swear by coffee!
If you go later in the day and eat a lot, you may feel the day’s meals weigh you down.
No matter what, don’t run within an hour of eating.
6. How long will it be before I start seeing progress?
You’ll feel the mental benefits before you notice the physical ones. Running helps people sleep soundly, focus better and feel stronger and more energised.
It can complement other exercises too. Combine your runs with strength and cross training and you’ll get even more out of them.
Remember, don't get frustrated if you don't see results right away. Every run will bring you closer to them.
Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.