How to get better at running

5 top tips for more enjoyable runs

If you've started running in the last two years, you're not alone - in a survey conducted during lockdown last year*, 33% of our members said they're using running to stay active while our centres were closed. It's definitely a great way to get outdoors and keep fit!

But if you're finding it hard and your confidence or motivation is waning, don't give up! Running's biggest secret is that everyone finds it tough to start with (and, depending on how hard you choose to push yourself, any run can be hard work, even for seasoned runners). But as a new runner you will see improvements very fast as your body adapts to the new stresses, you're putting it under - so stick with it!

Here are five tips to help:

Invest in good footwear
Running puts a lot of pressure on your feet, so be sure to buy a good pair of running trainers that will give you the required arch and ankle support. The right trainers will give you more spring in your step and will stop you from getting nasty blisters.

Always warm-up and cool down
This doesn't necessarily mean stretching. In fact, stretching before a run isn't a great idea as you may end up tearing a cold muscle. Simply start your run with a brisk 5-minute walk to get your heart rate up. You can cool down in the same way, or use one of the cool down routines in our free Places Tracker App.

Mix running and walking
Manage your expectations. If you're new to running you won't be able run for extended periods straight away, so build up your stamina by walking and running in short intervals. Start with 30 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking, then 60 seconds running and 60 seconds walking, increasing the running time when you need more of a challenge.

Set yourself a target

Having goals is really important for progress. They don't need to be huge - marathons aren't for everyone - just do what works for you. Do you like to have small goals that you can achieve and tick off quickly, or something bigger to work towards, like a certain distance or a race? You might want to combine both, for example if you are training for an event.

We hope you enjoy getting out there!

*A survey of 19,394 customers who had visited their centre at least once between Feb 1st 2020 and lockdown (March 20th 2020)

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