Happy Running: A toolkit

The beauty of running is that you don't need any kit and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Many people couldn't live without it but regardless of whether you're an experienced runner or a relative newbie, there are a few things to pay attention to that will enhance your progress and enjoyment.

Things to remember when you run

  • Think about your running posture

  • Stabilise your mid-section by activating your core stability muscles

  • Keep your shoulders back and relaxed

  • Breathe deeply

  • Lift your knees

  • Use your arms to drive your lower body movement

Common running issues

If you are suffering any pain from running, the first thing to do is check that you have the correct running shoes for your style of movement. Visit a reputable running store and have them look at your running and then recommend the right footwear.

If you still experience pain or discomfort when running, seek advice from a physiotherapist, podiatrist, chiropractor or osteopath, depending on where you feel the pain. Ask for specific exercises to cure the issue and then make sure you incorporate these exercises into your regular routine.

Often, simple running issues can be easily addressed:

Too much repetitive training / Not enough variety in the schedule

For those who like running, the temptation is to run more. This is fine but many people fall into the trap of simply running for longer at the same speed or following the same routes. If you follow this approach it’s likely that your progress will plateau and then you’ll maybe even feel as though you’re going backwards as your familiar runs begin to take you longer or feel tougher.

Overtraining / Not enough rest

One of the benefits of good planning with your training schedule is that you will be able to plan your rest days as well as your training days. Remember, it is during your rest days when your body makes adaptations and grows fitter and stronger. Depending on your objectives you should aim for 2-3 days off running per week. This doesn’t mean you have to be inactive on these days, you can train in other ways, but you should always have 1-2 recovery days each week. If this is part of the plan you can rest without guilt.

How to design the best running training programme

Plan a schedule with plenty of variety. A successful running schedule should consist of the following:

  • Running at steady speed

  • Running at ‘race’ pace

  • Interval training / speed work of different durations

  • Hill training

  • Strength training – upper and lower body

  • Mobility exercises

  • Stretching

  • Cross training – cycling, swimming, X-trainer, Spinning, dancing, fencing, climbing

  • Goals and objectives

  • A nutrition plan

Here’s how the plan breaks down:

Running at steady speed

There’s great value in those familiar runs at a comfortable pace that allow you to work on your running technique but also enable your mind to wander a little bit.

Running at race pace

If you’re training for specific events and / or distances, you need to regularly practice running at the speed you want to maintain for your event. You need to know exactly what it feels like to move at this pace over a variety of terrain.

Interval training / speed work of different durations

Whatever distance you’re training for, you need to include some speed work in your training. And your speed work needs to be varied.