How To: Become a runner

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When I first started running I was lucky to make a lap around the oval, I would be huffing and puffing with every step and I was convinced running wasn’t for me, I just couldn’t do it, I wasn’t “a runner”.

However there was something about running that intrigued me, I would see people outside pounding the pavement and think how therapeutic and energizing it looked. People who ran seemed so strong and focused. So one day I decided that was it, I was becoming a runner.

Does this sounds familiar?

I started on the treadmill, it was warm indoors, there were no hills, I could watch TV to distract myself and when I’d had enough I could go and do something else. Over the course of a few months I was able to work my way up to 10km, I then headed outdoors and slowly but surely, with persistence and determination, I worked my way up to being able to run for over 2hours straight (wow saying that sounds crazy)

Now don’t get me wrong running is challenging, if you find yourself sweating like crazy and puffing like a billy when you bust out a slow paced jog, you’re not alone.

If you look around at the gym, or on the track, and you see those long lean lasses sprinting their hearts out and feel like you’re barely moving, don’t be disheartened or disappointed, remember we all have to start somewhere and what does it matter, you’re still running and that’s a hell of a lot better than everyone else who is sitting on their behinds saying “I can’t run”

Yes it may seem torturous to brave the hills, the elements & varied running surfaces, however, trust me, it wont take long until those endorphins are flowing and you learn to LOVE it. Now, I am an outdoor runner

The fresh air, the beautiful scenery and being engrossed in nature just adds an element of spiritual bliss to running that can’t be achieved in the gym. That feeling of being connected to your surroundings, everything that’s been fogging up your head, BAM, it’s left behind and all you’re left with is your surroundings, all your focus is on regulating your breathing and mentally cheering yourself on.


Tips to stay motivated in the beginning:

1. Sign up for a fun run; whether it is 5km, 10km, 15km or 21km, having something to work towards will keep you on track.

2. Make a weekly workout plan: At the start of the week set out your intentions for the week ahead, this will help you visualize what you hope to achieve

3. Set aside two “Running Days” It is handy to set aside two days and make them your running days every week. My two set running days are Wednesday & Saturday, the other days that I choose to run on change depending on my commitments, this makes it a lot easier to tackle each week as it presents itself.

4. Be sure to drink lots of water; Both during and after you’ve been for a run, this will help flush out the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles during exercise and will also keep you feeling hydrated and fresh for the rest of the day.

5. Get a running buddy; it’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get out and go for a run, especially when it starts to get cold. So find a friend to run with or do some research and see if there is a running group in your area so that you don’t have to go it alone.

6. Be patient with yourself; don’t expect to be able to run 10km the first time you head out, consistency is the key, your body is an amazing machine, every little bit counts, put in the hard yards and you’ll be flying in no time.

7. Get yourself some good runners; nothing is a bigger deterrent than blisters or sore knee’s & feet, the right shoes for your running style can make all the difference. Runners socks are also a blessing, they banish blisters and are far more comfortable to run in than cotton socks.

If you’re new to the game of running a great way to start running is with intervals.

– Set out with the intention of completing a 3-4km run.
– I recommend using an iphone app such as “Mapmyrun” or, if you have one, a sports watch,  I use a Garmin GPS watch (and in the past used a Nike GPS Watch) to record my runs but before I purchased a watch I used the aforementioned Map My Run app.
– For the first 500m do a light jog,  just to get the muscles warmed up. This is followed by 200m of walking followed by a run/jog for another 500-700m and then another 100-200m of walking.
– Continue in this pattern for the duration of the run.

Each time you head out for a run, aim to go a little bit further, even if it was just 50m more in the running intervals. I recommend running 2-4 times a week, depending on your life and work commitments.

You will be surprised at just how quickly your body adapts to this style of running & hopefully you’ll find yourself able to run 1km, 2km or even 3km without the walking segments in no time.

Now pace doesn’t matter in the beginning, at this stage it’s all about building up endurance, finding your rhythm and easing your body into the movement.

Once you can run 3km straight and you are completing 3km run’s 2-3 times a week you can slowly started working on building on the distance of your runs.
Nothing too drastic, 1-2km every 1 or 2 weeks is a good amount to prevent injury or burning yourself out.

Once I could run about 5km straight my weekly running routine may have looked a bit like this:

Week 1:
Monday: 3km run

Wednesday: 4km run
Friday: 5km run
Sunday 3km run

Week 2:
Wednesday: 5km

Thursday: 3km
Saturday: 6km
or if training 4 days, fit in another 3-4km run

It is important to have rest days, your body needs that time to repair and rebuild, so whilst you may be enthusiastic to get out there and get moving all the time, it is in your best interest to stagger your runs throughout the week, trust me your body will thank you and on the days you run, you will feel a lot better.

The most important thing when training is consistency, if you can keep your base level of fitness up, then even if you slightly fall behind the 8 ball you’re not going to end up having to go back to the beginning.

It is also vital that you listen to your body, if you have a niggle, have a rest, there is no point pushing yourself and potentially causing injury just to prove a point.

How often should I run? Is a commonly asked question and I honestly think the answer is different for everyone. It depends on a number of things such as how far your running, how long you have been running for and what you are aiming to achieve.
When I was training for a second half marathon I was running 3-4 times a week.  When I was training for the first half marathon, I was running 4-6 times a week and looking back now, FOR ME, that was too much, it didn’t give my body time to recover in between runs and I ended up getting quite run down and got sick a few months into training.

When training for a half marathon my week looked something like this;

Monday: 5-6km
Tuesday: 5-6km or rest
Wednesday: 6-8km OR hill training OR VO2 Max (which is a high intensity interval hill training for 30-40mins)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run; each week it gets extended, it started at 10km’s and ends with the 23km GOR Half Marathon.
Sunday: walk or rest.

Some weeks I would only run 2 or 3 times, and that is fine, it all depends on how your body feels and you should use that as a guide.

If you are honest with yourself you can always tell if you don’t want to go for a run because you’re being lazy or because you’re body needs a time out.

Pre Run Breakfast
What do I eat before a run? If I run in the morning I have peanut butter and banana or maple syrup on toast, orange juice & warm water with lemon 1-1.5hours before I plan to run, this gives the food enough time to digest and stops you from feeling sick. 

This works well for me but it might take a bit of experimenting to find what works for your body.

After I run I usually have a smoothie, with frozen bananas, berries, almond milk & supergreens or maybe a smoothie with some of my chocolate vegan protein powder (I have posted a recipe on my website for Moca Protein Thickshake this is my go to smoothie after a big run.) I also love hard boiled eggs, tuna & brown rice with veggies, nuts or toast with vegemite, avocado & tomato and lots of water to help flush that lactic acid.

As long as you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water your body will be very happy during training. Before I started running & improving my diet a few years ago I weighed 9-10kg more than I do now, so if you give your body things that nourish it, it will thank you.


2 Responses

  1. Kate
    | Reply

    Great article Chloe! Lots of amazing tips and loved seeing your own journey as well. Got myself up to 4 runs a week again all thanks to you! Loving it and hoping for a half marathon later in the year! x

    • Chloe
      | Reply

      Thank you so much spirited sister, I am so glad you took something away from this article xx big love

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