If you prefer Netflix marathons to actual marathons or if you would rather run past a treadmill then on one, then you might be one of the many who would consider themselves a ‘non-runner.’ Like runners, non-runners come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of fitness.
However, non-runners are often baffled at the mental strength of the runner who will wake up at 5am to run anywhere between 1km and infinity in rain, hail or shine for a free banana and glass of Gatorade. The fun fact is that running is one of life’s natural forms of exercise and that even if it can feel supremely unnatural at the beginning when given appropriate advice, anyone (even non-runners) can do it!
Check out the following list of tips to help you on your way to dropping the ‘non’ from your current running status:
Firstly and most importantly, the word ‘RUN’ is about as broad as a word can be. There are no rules in running: nobody minds if you don’t set a daily 5am alarm or cares if your run takes you to a local café, with a soggy $20 shoved into your crop top. What is more important is running to your experience and fitness level. I like to encourage new runners to take a more conservative approach. For example, find a local park or running track and use it as a guide to build into your running regime.
Begin by running the short lengths of the park and walking the long ones. Don’t be too unrealistic with pace or distance goals, just run how you feel. Eventually, you’ll find you’re comfortable to run the long lengths and soon the entire park! If you go out too hard early you can put yourself at risk of over-training, injury or even a very steep decline in your motivation levels.
On the topic of injury prevention, my second important tip is to get yourself a good pair of running shoes. Ideally, find a local running specialty store where the trained staff can fit you in a shoe that is suited to your foot-strike style and comfort levels.
RunStopShop has three locations Melbourne-wide that can certainly help you out here. Also, while you’re there, I’d recommend getting yourself a good sports bra. A poor fitting sports bra can lead to upper body tension and may even reduce your breathing capacity. I like the New Balance ‘tenderly obsessive’ sports bra for extra support. If you often find yourself cooking dinner before you’ve even had a chance to sit down, try to schedule your workouts in the same way you would a doctor’s appointment or hair-cut. If you don’t make time for a run you will often run out of time – pun intended! Put reminders in your phone, pin it to the fridge or write it in your diary.
One way to do this is to join a running group or casual run. Running clubs and group training may seem daunting, but getting out and getting social is a fantastic way to ease into becoming a runner. The best thing about them is they are suited for all levels, regardless of age, fitness level or prior running experience. I find if you bring a friend, you will most likely spend the entire session talking about how crazy it is that you’re out running and you won’t even notice the km’s tick away! Friends have a fantastic way of making you feel accountable, even on the days where you couldn’t fathom lacing up your shoes, so you’re more likely to stick to your new regime over time. RunStopShop has a free Run Club that meets every Wednesday lunch at the CBD store at 12.15pm, but if that time doesn’t work, check online – you will be amazed how many are out there.
Lastly, dress for the weather and recover well. If it’s cold, run-up, if it’s hot then stay sun smart. The best thing about the running craze in Melbourne is the subsequent boom in running-specific apparel with built-in technology for people who want to run in comfort. Try the 2XU compression range, who just released ICE-compression tights that can actually reduce surface skin temperature!
Remember, always stretch before and after your run and before you know it you’ll be googling ‘what events are at Melbourne marathon?’ and setting your alarm half an hour earlier every morning…
Article by Erchana Murray-Bartlett, RunStopShop Running Technician
Since graduating, I have turned my career towards helping new and advanced runners get the most out of their training through exercise, nutrition, and correct recovery techniques. As well as my role with RunStopShop, I work as a rehabilitation trainer, working one-on-one with individuals who are overcoming injury, illness or have other barriers to exercise. I’m also a personal trainer, with a specialty focus on program writing for goal running events.
Credentials: Bachelor of Science (Human Physiology), Masters of Human Nutrition, Diploma of Fitness.