Petts Wood Runners


HEALTH If you have any concerns about your health (e.g. heart, weight, asthma) or if you are over forty check with your GP before you start training. WHAT TO WEAR Good fitting trainers that provide support and cushioning. Don’t run in worn-out shoes, or in shoes that are designed for other sports, and don't lace them up too tightly. Wear clothes appropriate to the weather, if it is cold, wear gloves and a hat to retain heat. Sunblock, sunglasses, a cap and white clothing make sense on hot days. If you have to train on roads, or after dark, make sure you are clearly visible. WHERE TO RUN Wherever you feel safe and happy. Vary your course. If you run off-road there's more cushioning (relieving strain on ankles, knees and hips) but also more chance of turning your ankle. Including a training partner in your programme with similar ability and goals can add motivation and increase the safety of your running. Tell someone where you’ll be running and when you expect to return. Carry some identification and 50p for a phone call. WHEN TO RUN At a time to suit your routines, but at least three hours after your last meal if possible. HOW FAR TO RUN This depends on your level of fitness. If you are unfit then alternate jogging and walking. Go out for 20-30 minutes. Over the weeks try to increase the proportion of jogging and try to increase the time that you are out. Your aim is to reach the point where you can comfortably jog for three or four miles. If you are already fit, perhaps because you already play a lot of sport, you may be able to run six miles already. Spend the first few weeks consolidating this and get used to a comfortable pace. Perhaps, try an occasional run where you go a bit farther or a shorter run when you run a bit faster. Don't try to increase your weekly load too rapidly; no more than about 10 per cent per week. HOW FAST TO RUN Each person has a natural pace. Try to find your pace. You should be able to hold a conversation while running. Until you have a good base of endurance don't try to go faster. Train don't strain. HOW OFTEN TO RUN This depends on what other commitments you have and what other physical activities you undertake. Try to aim for four good work-outs a week, including your other activities. Have a rest day (or an easy day) after a hard day. If you are constantly tired you may be overdoing it. Running can be a release from other stress and is a good time to sort out problems to do with work or family. WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates for energy (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread). Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. Avoid fatty foods and highly processed foods. Drink plenty of water leading up to a run and afterwards. Beware of too much tea, coffee and alcohol, all of which are diuretics, and may lead to dehydration. Fizzy drinks may cause a stitch. Too much fruit juice may lead to loo problems. HOW TO AVOID INJURIES There is no guaranteed way to avoid all injuries. Listen to your body, and don't overdo it. Build up your endurance base slowly. Don't try to work on increasing distance and increasing speed at the same time. Structure each session so that you warm up well beforehand and warm down at the end. Don’t attempt to train through an athletic injury. Little aches and pains can sideline you for weeks or months if you don’t take time off and seek medical advice. Stretching should be an ingredient in your warm-up and warm-down. Warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles. Stretching will keep you supple and reduce stiffness and soreness after running. Seek advice about which stretches you should do and how to carry them out. Over-stretching, wrong positioning and bouncing can cause problems, so take care. HOW TO RUN FASTER When you are happy with your endurance base you can attempt some slightly faster running once or twice a week, when you're feeling good. Don't make every session a hard one. You need easy recovery runs and rest. Running faster doesn't mean sprinting, but controlled lengthy bursts of manageable pace. Proper warm-up and warm-down becomes essential as more intense running is included. Different sessions could include:- Fartlek (or speed play): During your run increase pace whenever you like, and make an effort of 100m to 1000m as you feel. After an effort, walk or jog or run slowly until you are ready to continue. Try to make 6 to 10 efforts during the run. Timed Efforts: Run normally for 10 minutes, then alternate one minute fast and one minute slow. Try to make 6 to 10 efforts. As you gain experience increase the effort to two minutes fast and two minutes slow. Experiment with variations. Jog slowly for at least 5 minutes to finish. Continuous Pace Run: Run for 10 minutes to warm up, then run for two to three miles at race pace. Jog slowly for at least 5 minutes to finish. Hill Training: Choose a longish, moderately steep hill. Make 6-10 efforts up the hill and recover by slowly jogging back down. Try to maintain good style throughout your efforts. Jog for at least 5 minutes to finish. HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED Keep a training diary. Plan when you will run. Record how it went. Find a training partner of the same standard or run with a running club. Explore new places to run. Be imaginative. Vary your sessions.