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Nicky's running tips
If you are thinking of running a marathon or other distance race for charity, here are some tips from BBC H&W's super-fit Nicola Goodwin.
1. Walk before you can run
It may sound obvious, but you won't change from a couch potato into Paula Radcliffe overnight. By building your fitness up gradually you're far more likely to enjoy it, avoid injury and stick to your exercise plan. If you've not done any running before or for a while, then start by walking briskly then move on to alternate running and walking (perhaps one minute running/one minute walking etc.) before building your running up bit by bit.
2. Make sure you're healthy enough to run
Again a bit of common sense, but if you do have any long-term health worries then check with your doctor before you start an exercise plan. If you feel any aches or pains when running then stop and make sure you get yourself checked out.
3. Be Safe - Be Seen
Bright yellow running vests will never be top of the fashion stakes, but they may well save your life. If you're doing any running or walking on the roads or crossing a lot of busy roads then make sure you're wearing bright reflective clothing. It's best to wear it at any time of the day or night because you may start your run in bright sunlight and finish it in a rainstorm! Most running shops/websites and sports shops sell vests or stickers for your trainers. Bright running gloves are also excellent.
4. Wear proper running shoes
It's essential to wear running shoes once you've started regular running or walking. Cross trainers, tennis shoes or fashion trainers will not offer the necessary support for your knees and back. If possible, go to an independent or specialist running shop which will test your feet and advise the best shoes for you. You don't need to spend a fortune, £25 will get you a decent pair to start your exercise.
5. Be warm and dry
You'll enjoy your exercise far more if you're not cold and wet! You don't need to spend a fortune on specialised running clothing, just wear proper socks and appropriate clothes for the time of year. Lycra and other technical fibres are better than cotton as they will take the sweat away from your skin, but try and avoid overly baggy clothing as it'll get in the way of your natural movement.
6. Stay hydrated
If you're planning to exercise in the day, make sure you've been drinking plenty of water. If you're running in the morning then have a drink before you start on your run or walk. In the spring and summer, it's best to take a small bottle of water with you on your run. Most sports shops sell small bottles that fit around your hand - they cost a few pounds.
7. Leave the music at home
Sorry to be a party pooper but whilst music can add enjoyment to your run, it can also be dangerous if you can't hear the traffic or people around you. Leave the headphones off if you're running on the streets, in busy areas or on your own.
8. Grab a friend
Exercising can be made far more fun if you're training with friends or a group of people. Arranging to train with a friend or partner will keep you motivated and you can work together towards your goals. It's also harder to find an excuse not to go for that run if you're doing it as part of a group!
9. Enter a fun run or charity race
Running races are not just for the super-fit. Running is incredibly popular and local events are a great way to meet other runners and keep motivated. Why not find a short race that you can work towards? The Race For Life ladies' events are fabulous social events which raise millions for charity, and there are many other similar events across the country. Use the race as a goal for your training and then celebrate making the finish line!
10. Join a club
Running clubs are not just for gazelles and cheetahs! The two counties have lots of running clubs which all cater for all standards, shapes, sizes and age of runners. Joining a club will help you to stay motivated, run safely and make friends. Most clubs run beginners' groups and can give you lots of advice on kit, training plans and health and fitness. There's a full list of local clubs on our website.
last updated: 25/02/2009 at 14:23