30 Jan 5 Things I’ve Learnt About Running
Women’s health personal training
Thinking about taking up running? Running can be amazing for your body and your mind and a great way of carving out some time for yourself. Running and I have been on a long old journey together over the past two decades. Here are some of the things I wish I’d known when I’d started.
You can always find the time
Balancing the competing demands of family life and work is something I still don’t feel I’ve nailed (does anyone?). If I waited for an uninterrupted hour of time to myself to exercise, it would seldom happen and I would do a lot of huffing about never having the time! The beauty of running is its simplicity. The only kit you need are your trainers and a sports bra (and on that subject, it’s really worth making sure you have well-fitting versions of both!). You can run anywhere and at any time. Even a quick jog around the block can have the power to reset your mood and give you an energy boost, so it is still worth lacing up your trainers when time is short. You’ll never regret it.
It does as much for your mind as for your body
Like many people, in the beginning I ran because I wanted to get fit, but running has done so much more for me than that. Running can have a profound effect on your mental health and wellbeing. Just being outside can offer an amazing mood boost, even in the depths of winter and when I feel a low mood coming on, I know that running will help and can stop a spiral of anxiety in its tracks.
For years, I used to only be able to run whilst listening to music (so much so, that if I had left my headphones behind or the battery on my phone was dead, I’d use it as an excuse not to run!). Music still has its place, as do podcasts, which I highly recommend to keep you company on a long run. But sometimes, it’s good to let your thoughts drift. I find that even the most knotty of problems will unravel themselves on a run and I will come back home with the answer. Running provides me with a sense of perspective when I can’t seem to find one elsewhere.
Make a plan
It sounds obvious, and, I admit, a bit dull, but following a structured plan can pay dividends. It will help to ensure you don’t get bored, that your fitness and strength improves and, perhaps most importantly, you don’t get injured. There are some great running programmes available for free online (the couch to 5k app is fantastic for beginners). Alternatively, join a running group or book some sessions with a personal trainer who can write a plan tailored to you.
Look after your body
This one would have saved me a lot of pain (and money on physiotherapy!) over the years. Firstly, make sure you warm up properly before you run, especially in cold weather. Then, when you’ve finished running, always remember to stretch. It’s so easy to leave this bit out, but it is really important to prevent muscles from becoming short and tight, which over time can lead to muscular imbalances and injuries. If you do start to feel some niggly aches and pains, then book in to see an expert such as a physiotherapist or sports massage practitioner, before they become more serious. Prevention really is better than cure and will make sure you can keep on running and reaping the benefits.
AUTHOR: CARLY CORRIGALL
PERSONAL TRAINER, GUILDFORD, SURREY
Carly is a personal trainer in Guildford, Surrey specialising in women’s health and fitness. She is also a mum of 2 boys and has been a runner for 20 years. As well as being an expert in pre and post-natal fitness, Carly has a special interest in the impact of exercise on mental health and wellbeing. Follow her latest running adventures on Instagram @carlycorrigall.