Whether you’re new to running, a confident runner or somewhere in between, join Jessica Ennis-Hill in clocking up some kilometres for Team UK in the Vitality Running World Cup.
Here are her tips for every stage to help you on your way…
If you’re… new to running
If you’ve never tried running or can’t get into it, I know it can take confidence to begin. So start by setting yourself realistic, achievable targets and take small steps towards reaching your first 3k.
Here are some key strategies:
FIND A REALISTIC RUNNING SCHEDULE
Use this schedule to build up to a 3k.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TRAINERS
Go to a specialist running shop like Runners Need for trainers, otherwise you might run with imbalances that affect your knees or hip joints.
FIND YOUR START POINT
Whether you begin with a walk or a jog, build on it at your own pace.
INTRODUCE SHORT RUNNING INTERVALS
Start running once you can walk briskly for 30 minutes. Then start by running for 1 minute and walking for 2. There’s no need to sprint!
FIND A RUNNING BUDDY
You can motivate each other and it ensures you run at conversation pace.
SPREAD YOUR SESSIONS
Don’t run on consecutive days: allow time to recover.
DON’T RUN IN PAIN
Feeling achy when you first start running is normal but don’t run through pain. Instead, stop for a couple of days, then try again. Running on soft surfaces such as grass is easier on your joints but avoid uneven or slippery areas.
I don’t always take a drink with me on a run (I don’t like it sloshing in my stomach!) but I always rehydrate after.
If you’re… up and running
Your next challenge is to add distance, but you don’t have to go further every time you run. It’s completely okay to have some sessions where things stay the same, especially if running is fairly new to you and your body is still adjusting.
SET YOURSELF A CHALLENGE
Taking on another challenge – like a charity race or parkrun – in addition to achieving the target distance in the Vitality Running World Cup – may help with your motivation.
WARM UP THOROUGHLY
For beginners, a brisk walk can be a good warm-up. If you’re running more consistently and, perhaps, at a faster pace, you’ll manage your runs better if you warm up more thoroughly. I would always do a light jog and then a mix of static stretching and some more dynamic moves. Find what works for you; you’ll be able to tell by how well you run.
EAT AFTER RUNNING
Make sure you have food ready for after your run so that you get the most out of it. Healthy carbohydrates and protein to feed your muscles are best, so try some nuts, a banana and a drink.
KEEP A TRAINING LOG
Some people find that gadgets which tell them how they are doing are highly motivating, while others prefer to go on how their body feels. It can be handy to keep a training log. Make a note of how you feel before, during and after every run so that you can get a sense of what works best for you. Remind yourself of how great running is making you feel!
If you’re… a confident runner
Once it’s no longer a challenge for you to run 3k or more a few times a week, ring the changes to keep your runs mentally and physically stimulating. You might want to set a new performance goal, such as increasing your weekly mileage or entering a race.
MIX THINGS UP
Try new routes, run on different terrain, or run with others to keep things fresh and boost your training.
TRY OTHER TYPES OF EXERCISE
Exercise in other ways to stay strong. My husband and I often do circuit training together in the evening when the kids have gone to bed. This can make you stronger for running and reduce risk of injury.
Make your run a bit shorter but include faster, high-intensity intervals, and turn it into a HIIT session. It’s still running, but it’s challenging your body in new ways and increasing your fitness. Try my Jennis Fitness HIIT Run sessions (from beginner level) on Soundcloud or YouTube.
DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
Layer up in winter! If it’s very cold I wear thick, fleece-lined leggings. I layer up with a crop top, a vest, a long-sleeved top, a short-sleeved top, then probably a thin jacket. Better to have layers you can take off and leave in the car than go out in something too thick – or too flimsy. I wear a thin hat, too.
KEEP IT FUN
You don’t want to try to break yourself every time you run. Running is about enjoyment and quality training, not about getting obsessive about PBs and paces.
- WHO CAN TAKE PART? Whoever you are, wherever you are, you can join in for free. All you need is a smartphone or smart fitness device and be able to run 3 km in 30 minutes. The more you run the better.
- WHAT DOES IT COST? It’s completely free to join!