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Get your running back on track

Have you fallen out of your regular running routine? Perhaps you’ve been walking a lot during lockdown and would like to start running.

Now is a great time for getting your exercise regime back on track. September is here, the kids are back at school, holidays are over and normal routine starts again. For ready-made running programmes see our Walk2Run and 5k to 10k self-led running plans. https://www.ayreshealth.co.uk/running-programmes-cheshire

Here is our quick guide for getting going again.

Keep things in perspective

Even the most devoted runners get side-tracked from their usual routines. Never feel guilty for taking a break. Try to focus on the reason you would like to get going again. Maybe you're running as part of a weight loss plan, or you want to enter a particular running event. Perhaps running is a way for you to release stress. Think about your own personal reason and keep this in mind everyday. It will help you on days you may be feeling less motivated.

Form a plan. ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’

Identify where your fitness level is currently and where you want to be. If you have been on holiday and a little more indulgent than normal, you are unlikely to be where you were 6 weeks ago.

There are many ways to measure your current fitness and track your progress over time. 2 tried & tested simple methods that don’t require any equipment are:

1. Coppers 12-minute run.

Simply run or walk for 12 minutes and measure how far you have gone, as your fitness improves the distance you can cover will increase.

2. Squat test.

Count how many squats you can perform in 2 minutes.

Use these methods to give yourself a baseline fitness level, then use intermittently to see how you are progressing as you follow your plan.

Make your plan fit your lifestyle

Choose the most convenient time and routes to make the plan easier to stick to. Do you prefer to get up early and get it done before the day starts? Maybe you prefer to go after work with a friend. Do you have a route you enjoy such as a local scenic footpath? Planning exercise to fit in with your usual routines can make it easier to form a habit and stay motivated.

Goal setting.

When setting goals try to:

1. Be realistic.

For some people running a sub-20 minute 5k is realistic; for others this could be a long term goal and aiming for sub 40 mins is more achievable. Whatever your goal, it is personal to you and reaching that goal is an achievement no matter what it is.

2. Be specific.

‘I want to run for 30 minutes non-stop’ is a clear goal, you know when you have achieved it and how far away you are from achieving it. ‘I want to be a runner’ is not specific, how will you know when you have reached your goal?

3. Set a deadline.

This will help you to stay motivated. If you say “in 8 weeks I will run 10k” you are more likely to get out of bed and train, than saying “I will run 10k one day”.

Progressive overload

This is the concept of overloading the body to bring about desirable adaptations such as increased strength, flexibility, or aerobic capacity.

Progressive overload is essential to help you move towards your goal.

Although a simple concept, safe and effective progressive loading is not so simple.

If you don’t overload the body enough, adaptations will be minimal and no real fitness gains will be made. On the flip side if you overload the body too much or too frequently you risk injury.

To help guide your progressive overload, think about F.I.T.T. these are the parts of your training plan that can be manipulated to bring about overload.

Frequency – how often you will train.

Intensity – How hard you will train.

Time – How long your training session will be.

Type of exercise – e.g running, swimming, resistance training, aerobic, anaerobic, HITT.

There are many ways to work out how much to progress each component of FITT. The 10% rule is the most common and probably the most simple method. Each week you add 10% on to either the intensity or time of exercise. E.g. if you run for 10 minutes on week 1, on week 2 you run for 11 minutes.

When introducing a new exercise regime, or returning to exercise after injury, it is always worth seeking the help of a personal trainer or coach who can design a fitness programme specific to your needs.

Running programmes

If you would like to start running or progress your running, take a look at our self-led running programmes. https://www.ayreshealth.co.uk/running-programmes-cheshire

Both programmes were designed in collaboration with professional running coach Alex Cann of 'AC Running and fitness'.

The programmes both include free nutrition advice and recipes designed by Nutrition Coach Eddy Knightsbridge of 'My Nutrition Club'.

To help prevent injury, these programmes progress gradually and include strength exercises by Andrew (MSK podiatrist) to help strengthen the foot & ankle.

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