Home Fitness guide How to Stick to Your Running Goals This Summer – Advice from Olympians

How to Stick to Your Running Goals This Summer – Advice from Olympians

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As a newbie runner, it’s exciting to get started, to achieve new goals, and to experience the joy running can bring. However, it can also sometimes be difficult to know where to start, how to set realistic goals and how not to overwork yourself. So, to empower people to get up and running with confidence, four-time Olympian Donna Fraser OBE has launched a “Give Me 5” beginner running program with community fitness app Her Spirit, which offers tips on how to get started and why a holistic approach to running is the best approach.

Running has many benefits, including improved aerobic fitness, increased metabolism, stress relief, peace and solitude, or increased social interaction – and it’s also a great mood booster.

Donna started by recommending that new runners who have been sedentary for over a year get medical clearance from their GP before starting a new exercise routine.

She said: “There are so many reasons to incorporate running into your wellness routine.

“It has physical, social and mental benefits, a low entry bar, is inexpensive and you can do it almost anywhere.

“It’s also an activity that crosses the ages, many people start running in their 50s and 60s for example.”

1. Avoid injury

You should also invest in comfortable, well-fitting running shoes to ensure you take care of your feet and ankles.

“I would recommend going to a store to discuss your options as everyone has different running feet and gait, so you’ll need the right trainers to avoid injury,” Donna advised.

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2. Warm up

Always make sure to warm up before starting a race. You can do this by walking briskly for five minutes and doing dynamic stretches.

This will help ensure your muscles are warmed up so you don’t hurt yourself.

3. Run in intervals

To start your running journey, start by combining walking intervals with short periods of jogging.

This will build endurance and decrease stress on the joints. You can do two minutes of walking with a 30-second burst of jogging to start with, then start reducing the walking time and increasing the running time.

Controlling your breathing is key in the beginning, practice breathing techniques even when you’re not exercising to help you find a rhythm.

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4. Set goals

Aim for consistency in your first few weeks, such as running a certain number of times per week, rather than speed or distance.

Set a workable schedule that you know you can stick to with rest days in between.

“My running program, Give Me 5, which you can find on Her Spirit, is just about getting you out three times a week and getting into 5K over eight weeks,” Donna said.

Small, realistic goals like this help boost your confidence and give you a great foundation.

5. Consider the shape

Everyone has a different running style, but these tips will help you stay in shape; keep your eyes looking forward, never down.

Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle and try to relax your hands rather than clenching them into fists, which can create tension in your shoulders and neck.

Try to relax your shoulders and not hunched them and keep your posture straight.

Regularly check in on yourself and your body and readjust, it’s good to stop to give yourself the space to do so. And don’t forget your breathing technique.

6. Other factors

Take a holistic approach to your running journey.

This means looking at other things you can do alongside running to complete it that also help your recovery.

Donna said: “I would recommend adding weight training, yoga or pilates, and even meditation to your routine. Weight training is important for runners because it strengthens muscles and joints, which can improve your running and reduce the risk of injury.”

Yoga and pilates are amazing for strengthening your core, which can be overlooked when running.

Practicing meditation can increase your powers of concentration, strengthen your willpower, and overcome mental distractions, all of which are good things when it comes to running.

“If you’re feeling sore or tired, why not spend less time running and more time doing mobility exercises for this session.

“Have fun running with friends or joining a fitness community.”

She added: “Be kind to yourself if you miss a race, self-care is just as important and you need time to recover.”

7. Food

Another important thing to keep in mind when it comes to having a holistic approach to running is nutrition.

Running creates micro tears in our muscles which then repair themselves, but they can only do this if they have the necessary nutrients.

Before you go for a run, eat a meal full of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats like walnut porridge to give you enough energy.

Always make sure to eat a healthy snack that includes protein like full-fat Greek yogurt and nuts or an apple with peanut butter right after your run.

Drink plenty of fluids and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that contain water throughout the day.

Of course, take water during your run, take small sips, but often to avoid having this dreaded point.

“Make sure running is part of your life, not the other way around,” Donna says.

“If you’re feeling sore or tired, why not spend less time running and more time doing mobility exercises for this session.

“Have fun running with friends or joining a fitness community.”

She added: “Be kind to yourself if you miss a race, self-care is just as important and you need time to recover.”