Beginner's Running: 8 Top Hacks That Will Make Running Easier.

Mental Hack 1.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to be fast. One reason people are put off running is that they believe they have to be fast. You don’t.

Whether you run a mile in 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Run at your own pace and work slowly to get faster.

You’re still lapping everyone on the couch.

Mental Hack 2.

Acknowledge that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable – the whole point of starting and developing your running is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

Recognize the difference between ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘injury’. Pain or having to alter your stride means you’re probably injured. Stop and walk. If the pain goes the try again. If it doesn’t, see your physician.

Mental & Physical Hack 3.

It’s ok to walk. Really, it is. Walk when you need to, and don’t give up when it sucks.

Plan rewards when you reach goals and enjoy getting stronger and enjoy the journey of getting from the couch to your distance goal.

If you're consistent with your running sessions you’ll get back what you put in.

Enjoy your body getting stronger and fitter.

Variety is key to keeping it interesting. Plan different routes to give you a variety of speeds, terrain and distance. Talk to other runners about their routes.

Physical Hack 4.

Don’t underestimate the power of breathing!

Try the 2-2 pattern: 2 steps while breathing in and 2 steps while breathing out.

Physical Hack 5.

The other key is good form.

This came home to me one day when I saw 2 runners – the first looked enlivened by her run:

  • she was trotting along at her own pace,
  • body upright,
  • head up looking at the world,
  • her shoulders were relaxed
  • her elbows were bent at 90 degrees so that
  • her forearms swung parallel with the ground.

The 2nd had stooped shoulders, bent at the waist, was barely lifting her feet off the floor and she looked exhausted. If you’re so tired that your form is compromised, STOP and WALK.

Walking is ok (see the tip above). When you’ve got your breath and strength back then check your form and run on.

Physical Hack 6.

If you get a side stitch, breathe deeply and concentrate pushing all the air out of your abdomen. Stitches should decrease as you get fitter.

If you get a stitch in your shoulder, push your fingers into the pain and raise your arm above your head. Give a little massaging motion with your finger tips.

Mental Hack 7.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. If you can 2 legs that function be grateful – many don’t. Use them.

They say a run begins when you forget that you’re running. So make a spotting habit – birds, hedgerow flowers, out of area car registrations etc. Think about something other than your run.

Physical Hack 8.

Look after your feet and ankles.

Take care of the skin and pay attention to any build ups of hard skin and callouses as these may indicate where improvements can be made. See a running coach or a sports footwear specialist to help with this.

To strengthen your feet and ankles do this exercise: on a flat surface, bring one foot up behind you and grasp the ankle with the hand on the same side, as if you were doing a static quad stretch. Keep your balance as you stand upright. If you wobble, hop until you rebalance.

Do this for about 15-30 seconds on each foot and do about 5 for each side, each day.

When it gets easy, close your eyes while you do it.

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