New Year, New Choices: Running

Yes, that’s right: RUNNING.

It's time to start running!

noun [mass noun]
the action or movement of a runner: his running tore United to shreds
– the sport of racing on foot: marathon running

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I’m not a big one for resolutions. Hell, I haven’t even made any this year. But a strange thing happened on January 1st, something that I’m not sure has happened to me before; I woke up, around 8am, having only had only around 3-4hrs sleep (after much fun and shenanigans on NYE, of course) and I wanted to go on a run.

I hadn’t decided to

“I’m going for a run” I said.

And I did.

And the following day I did it again, and the day after that I ran again, and then on the 4th? Well, then I took a break. It seems not running for years and then taking it up again suddenly and rather aggressively isn’t the way to do these things. There was limping, and a fair bit of pain, and all my running friends (turns out I have a few) came out of the woodwork to advise on all sorts.

So here we go: the complete 100% newbie and unscientific list of things to do if you’re going to start running:

1. Actually go for a run
Yeah, it seems an obvious one but getting out there and doing it is the easiest way forward. Get that out of the way and you’re halfway there. No, scratch that, you’re all of the way there. You have done some running. Well done.

2. Warm up (and then down again)
I didn’t do this at first and I suffered for it. I recommend you don’t make that mistake.

STRETCH

Warming up? Some stretching before you head out is definitely a good idea (thanks to the comments, only stretch AFTER your workout – see I am a newbie! However you should definitely) Consider ‘briskly’ walking for the first five minutes of the route you’re about to embark upon. Stupid really, you’d think people would know to do this. Even when I went for my first run I remember thinking ‘Yup, we definitely used to warm before any sports in PE at school… but I’m an adult now! I don’t need to deal with such tomfoolery!’ – I am a numpty, clearly. But that means you could be too. SO WARM UP, (then do some stretching when you’re done too).

And that’s it really. Straight up – that. is. it.

Warm up. Run. Warm down. Done.

Well, there’s a few more, but these next few are 100% optional.

3. Pick an app
There are a whole ton of sports-tracking apps available for your selection, each of them measuring all kinds of things from the route you take, through to your avg. speed; some can plug into other services and some you can integrate into your entire LIFE.

Endomondo, Run Keeper, Nike+, there’s loads. Me? I’ve gone for Sports Tracker. Why? It’s across the most platforms and, given that I swap phones every month, it’s the best one there is. Your choice might be different. Do some research.

4. Get the right kit
When I say ‘kit’, I mean – these are the things that I don’t run without –

Kit

First up, my hoodie. It’s bloody cold out there at the moment (and it won’t be getting warmer anytime soon) and I’ve got one of those Superdry hoodies which is pretty damn cosy, and good for running in. It’s not rained yet, so I don’t if it does actually keep me Superdry, but only time will tell (christ, rain. I hadn’t thought about that). Either way, it does the job. Winner.

Second, my mobile. Currently Up until yesterday* this is was a Nokia Lumia 920** and [while it’s not the most robust handset in the world] it has done a good job of not only tracking my runs to date, but also providing the tunes to said workouts too.

Finally, some decent shoes!

New trinners

I got the above bad boy Asics from Runners Need on Great Portland Street. They cost me £70 and I got a free gait-analysis thrown in too. I’d never heard of that analysis part before but those running friends I told you about earlier? They all swear by it. Get tested, then get the trainers you need to mate.

Again, this isn’t gospel; you can run in plimsols if you so wish! However, I’m committing to this (hence the bloggage too I guess) and want the kit to see me through. And hey, if you find yourself on the streets of Maida Vale one morning (say around 7ish), look out for this knackered-looking guy –

Morning runs: ain't fun (yet)

– he may even fancy a race!

Maybe.

In time.

Like, in a month or three.

 

*Device at the moment is now the Motorola RAZR i, just while said uber-damaged Windows Phone is in for repair. Still using Sports-Tracker though, which rocks.

 **I know I moaned about it on The Voicemail, but since then it’s really grown on my and I’m actually sad to see it go.

 

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19 thoughts on “New Year, New Choices: Running”

  1. That’s great! I started running about 6 months ago. Well I say running, it was more like fast walking. Its been a slow journey and I like to think of myself as a regular runner now. Nothing special, nothing fast but I’m running 5k in around 35 minutes a couple times a week and have managed to clock up 180km in that time.

    I’ve been using the Nike+ GPS app to track my runs and it has been great for me as through the website you can set targets like run 50km in 6 weeks or whatever you fancy. It is complete gamification of fitness, earn trophies and gather miles stones all to earn Nike Fuel. You see your progress mapped in graphs and splits. You can compare yourself to your average self over the last 30 days, your age group or the community as a whole. It even has league tables for you and your friends.

    Another thing that I have found that has been really good for the running has been squats, lunges and the plank on the days I’m not running nothing too horrendous just a couple of sets of each and holding the plank position for 30 seconds. All that led me to getting a Nike Fuel band at Xmas which now has me setting daily targets. All good.

    I even tried like Loudmouthman and using the Xbox and Kinect for extra fitness routines as I know it has really worked for him but I don’t have the room needed. Don’t think my good lady was too impressed that I was forever moving the front room around…. bigger house on the horizon 🙂

    I’m not getting any skinnier but I’m definitely getting fitter….

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    I’m on the fence about Nike+. More investigation is required, methinks.

    [Reply]

    tookiebunten Reply:

    Maybe one for The Voicemail, all these fitness apps and sites…

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Ha! That would require Stefan do actually do some exercise…

    😉

  2. Few points from a long-time runner:

    1. I would strongly advise against stretching before you run. ‘Tapering’ the start as you describe (a light jog or brisk walk beforehand) is a better plan. You can stretch after this if you wish to, but stretching cold muscles is a no-no.

    2. Afterwards, standard policy is to stretch and then do a slow warm-down (i.e. the reverse of the start).

    3. Shout out for Brooks and New Balance shoes – then are much more ethically manufactured than Asics and Nike, and generally a bit cheaper.

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Hey Sam, thanks for commenting! 🙂

    1. Have adjusted the post accordingly, thank you.
    2. I’ve been doing that already – hurrah!
    3. Good to know, will keep in mind for future purchases.

    [Reply]

  3. Oh, and I for one think gait analysis is mostly bollocks designed to sell expensive shoes. Sorry!

    http://www.championseverywhere.com/why-gait-analysis-doesnt-work-future-of-the-shoe-industry

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Yeah, I got into a debate about that one on Facebook the other day. I’m not fussed to be honest. I was always going to spend £50-£70 on a pair of decent trainers and if pseudo-science has helped pick the ones that (actually do) feel comfiest, then great.

    [Reply]

    Geoff Reply:

    Hmm, when I first started running I very very quickly developed problems with my left knee, which was getting worse with every run. I was on the verge of giving up when a mate suggested gait analysis. I went, they diagnosed the problem, built me custom insoles, and off I went. The problem disappeared almost straight away, and since then I’ve gone on to run a marathon. So yes, it’s expensive, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to people who are running without any problems, but if you do then it may be worth the cost.

    [Reply]

    Samuel Palin Reply:

    Hi Geoff,

    Let me clarify. I think as a general technique for ‘finding the right shoe’, it’s close to useless. I have no doubt that a knowledgable person can notice telltale irregularities in your gait and, coupled with info about your injury history, recommend a better shoe for you. I’m glad this worked out in your case. I just don’t think the bog standard gait analysis they do in running shops does much for most people.

    [Reply]

  4. there is a podcast/app type thingie called “Couch to 5k” that has some sort of music and instruction thing.

    I know a few people who have used it and it has helped them (disclaimer, never looked at it myself)

    [Reply]

    James Reply:

    Yeah, Couch-to-5k has come up a lot in my discussions with friends actually and I’m referring back to it constantly.

    Cheers!

    [Reply]

  5. Hey James,

    Glad you have enjoyed the jogging clan. Its great. Also when you start doing longer runs go get lost in a part of London you don’t know so well – you soon will!

    If you decide to run any races (don’t read who finishes first is important) the GB 10k and the half marathons are great distances without the training taking over your life (as can be the case with Marathons). The Royal Parks Half is Brilliant!

    good yogging!

    [Reply]

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