Are you new to running? Have you decided to start running to get into shape or improve your fitness? One of our goals at Blackrock A.C. is to help people achieve their running ambitions at all levels, including beginners. Running is a wonderful sport that is accessible to everyone. It can be done year-round, on your own or with others. Additionally, running has long-proven benefits for your mental and physical health.
When you start out on your running journey you can make big improvements in your fitness and performance relatively quickly. However, it is also very easy to overdo it and get injured. There is plenty of training programmes and advice available but when you’re starting out it can often be confusing. Don’t worry, everyone was a beginner once, we know how you feel and we can help.
So whether you are thinking of going alone or joining a group, before you lace up your runners, check out these very useful running tips from Blackrock A.C.’s running expert Rob Asher as well as guidance on our Blackrock A.C. Fit4Life and other local beginner running groups.
Short Running Intervals
Are you feeling excited to start your new running training? As a new runner, you don’t need to run the whole distance in one go. Break it down into small intervals and focus on short distances in the beginning. There is no shame in walking. Use the time between intervals to walk and recover. After some time, you will naturally feel like lengthening your running sections and reducing to walking. A good tip for beginner runners is to try alternating between 2 minutes of jogging followed by two minutes of walking. Then increase your running intervals by one minute per training session until you can run the complete distance without having to walk.
Take Your Time
A lot of beginner runners start jogging too fast and in just a few minutes are really feeling it. Remember that your body is getting used to new stresses and strains that come with running. Overexertion, pain, injuries and ultimately frustration are some of the consequences you may experience if you start out too fast. Run at a moderate pace, one in which you could hold a conversation. When the urge comes to pick it up a little, maintain your moderate pace for the entire distance. Giving your body the chance to get used to the new demands will give way to long-term running success.
Your Body Needs To Recover
If you are feeling your first run went well and are excited to head out again straight away – great! However, your body needs time to recover and you should wait a day or two before attempting another. Let your body adapt to the new demands on your cardiovascular system. Beginner runners can use this simple training plan to avoid overuse injuries and benefit from the greatest training effect.
Take it Easy, With Short Steps
Running is a technically challenging activity. Many beginner runners and even more experienced ones lack proper running technique. As a result, jogging is more difficult than necessary and lots of energy is wasted in the process. Try running relaxed, with good form. Remember, short, easy steps are more efficient than long, powerful strides. These strides often act as a brake and slow your forward momentum with every step. More on how to run properly.
We have all been there. You ate something and all of a sudden you found yourself having to run for a bus, or something! Avoid eating food two hours before a workout and drink small amounts. If you do find yourself with a side stitch when running, take a break. Press your hand against the side that is hurting you and don’t run again until the pain is gone.
Take Care of Yourself
Did you know that running is a full-body workout? At the centre of this operation is your core. Through your core, the swing from your arm influences every movement in your body from the hips down, including step-length and cadence. So to run tall, you need a strong and healthy, stable core. When the rest of your muscles are in good shape too, it’s easier to run light on your feet, not to mention helps you avoid injuries. Regular strength training will help with better running performance.
Mix it Up – Crosstraining
Your heart loves variety. When you do different sports you also reduce the stress that running adds to your joints and core. Besides, doing only one form of exercise may sometimes get a little boring. Mixing it up helps keep your love for running strong.
Beginner Running Groups
At Blackrock Athletic Club we know the benefits of running together in a group. Running in a group is valuable for beginners and elites alike. It will hold you accountable, meaning you will likely miss fewer workouts. You will also be able to form strong bonds with fellow runners and like-minded people. It’s fun, keeps things simple and helps you develop good running habits.
For adults, the Blackrock A.C. Fit4Life group caters for runners who are able to run 5k and up. Our Fit4Life group is a large and very welcoming group of members of all ages. Generally, members of this group are able to run 5k and up.
- Fit4Life training takes place at 7pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Weekend runs also happen on Saturday and Sunday with many members doing parkruns or often longer runs that incorporate parkruns.
If you are not yet confident running 5k and are looking for a group catering more to beginners – similar to a Couch to 5k programme – we recommend the following local groups as an excellent starting point:
- Clare Ryan at Green Team Fitness, has beginners groups on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:15pm in Kilbogget Park, with a twice-weekly, 8-week course commencing on 11 January 2022
- Gráinne Keane at Keane for Fitness also has a beginner group which meets on Monday evenings at 7:45pm in Kilbogget Park, with a weekly, 8-week course commencing on 10 January 2022
Blackrock A.C. has an extensive set of guidelines on all things running which can be found here.
When you feel you are confident that you can cover 5k or further – at any pace – and are looking to take the next step, we highly recommend trying out our Fit4Life Group, trying out one of our local parkruns and/or maybe signing up for a race!