Is running good for you?

runnerAny runner will tell you, there is nothing like heading out for a run, the fresh air, the exercise, and the freedom.

Despite bad press on occasion, running or jogging remains one of the go-to exercise options. It’s ongoing popularity due in part to the fact that it requires no special equipment, and that it gives participants the ability to head out the door and run almost anywhere. However, like all physical activity there are some areas you will want to pay attention to ensure you don’t cause yourself injury, and so your running experience is the most positive it can be.

For every runner there is anther person who feels unable to start a running programme or who has tried and not succeeded. Getting the right advice means it doesn’t have to be this way. By using a development programme that allows you to improve your fitness slowly while minimising injury and discomfort, almost anyone can become a successful runner. Some of the physical benefits of running are improved cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Beyond this, running, like other physical activity, improves your mood, your sleep patterns and your mental health.

Have you heard those ‘horror stories’ you have heard about running? Many of them will have been caused by a runner not getting expert advice before they started, and just as often because of overtraining. To avoid becoming a tale of caution rather than success, make sure you get the right advice from a professional before you start running, and as you improve. And if you aren’t getting the results you desire, check in with a trainer then, to avoid wasting time, and risking injury on incorrect technique and run planning.

Long gone are the days when the advice to improve your running was that you should run more. The wisdom of this advice has now been called into question. While running has many benefits, it is not the full picture when it comes to health and fitness.

Runners find the addition of other exercise means less chance of overuse injuries and imbalances, and less chance of losing motivation through boredom. Running has all over benefits, however the consistent forward motion means some muscle groups are worked more than others.

A balanced running programme is likely to include some form of resistance exercises, and functional exercises to keep your body moving as it should. For those new to running we recommend starting out slowly. The biggest mistake for first time runners is that they run too fast, get tired out after not very long and give up. An average running pace is not much faster than a brisk walk. When you start to get a bit puffed slow down your pace. The aim is to run for as long as you can, not as fast as you can.

For the runner looking to improve we suggest getting a trainer to take you out for a pacing run. This needs to be a trainer who is a competent runner, and who understands what it’s like to get started. A pacing run is one where you ‘keep up’ with your trainer. They’ll be monitoring your effort and keep you running at a pace that within your limits and be able to help motivate you to keep going. A pacing run will give you an idea of what you can achieve.

Running has remained a popular exercise option for a long time for a good reason; it’s affordable, achievable for most people and allows freedom to exercise almost anywhere.

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