When gyms shut down and our favourite classes came to a halt earlier this year, many of us looked to running to get our daily movement in. If that commitment faded as the year went on, you’re not alone. Running as a beginner is hard, and it’s important to have some expert guidance to help you get started and keep going.
In celebration of the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival which took place November 8th, we spoke to Vlad Shatrov, a Blackmore’s running coach and founder of Runlab, to find out how new runners can get started. Read on below to find out what he had to say.
Rescu: What are your top 5 tips to go from novice to runner?
- Start steady. Consistency is the key to improvement and reducing the risk of injury.
- Incorporate weekly strength training or cross-training if you are not already doing this.
- Make sure you have a rest/easy day weekly
- Make sure you have a pair of decent correctly fitted running shoes, they make a massive difference to injury prevention.
- Set a goal. Then write down the things you are going to do to achieve this, keeping a record of your weekly training and progress.
Rescu: What are the key techniques to apply?
Vlad Shatrov: For me, I always recommend practising your running drills weekly. Running form drills are specific drills that help to develop coordination, leg speed, and improved running form. They can be easily done on an oval or anywhere where you have a bit of space.
They are usually best completed after a short warmup. Pick 1-2 running form drills and repeat them 3-4 times each, focusing on form. You could even get a friend to film you running, to review and understand what you might need to improve. You are looking to make sure you have an even arm swing and leg swing.
Whilst some of these techniques come faster to some than others, just by being aware of it, you will start trying to focus on this in some of your runs. Good running form helps to prevent injury and leads to a more efficient running stride.
Rescu: What prep tips do you give your clients?
- Make sure you are well hydrated before key running sessions.
- Always start interval sessions with a slow jog, gradually getting faster.
- Dynamic stretches such as running drills are ideal after an easy warmup and before a harder session.
- Wear clothing that is functional, keeping you warm if it’s cold/wet but easily removed as you warm up.
- Take a phone with you on longer sessions especially if running by yourself.
- It’s a great idea to stretch post-session or later in the day to aid your recovery; ensure you fuel your body with plenty of water, a healthy diet, and supplements such as Magnesium to support your muscle recovery and general wellbeing
- For early morning sessions, have your gear ready and out the night before, so it’s an easy and quick process to get ready in the morning.
Rescu: What are some coaching guidelines our readers could try?
Vlad Shatrov: Before sessions which include harder interval efforts, make sure you warm up well first. Pay particular attention to recovery techniques especially as you increase your running. You should stretch, use a foam roller to help release tension and tightness, and possibly look to get a sports massage.
Look at least 6 months out from taking on a goal event and work towards that. Use a GPS sports watch to track your workouts and ensure you are training at your target paces.
But most importantly, keep it fun and join a running group or find a running buddy for some of your runs. If you are building towards really doing something special for yourself, remember it’s a marathon and not a Sprint. You simply must have elements of your training that you really enjoy, as this will make sure you continue to do it! x
Rescu: How does rest and recovery fit into the picture?
Vlad Shatrov: This is really important. If you don’t allow yourself to recover from training sessions, you may fall into the trap of doing multiple average sessions as opposed to being able to perform at a higher intensity during your workouts.
Any weekly training routine should incorporate some easier runs, a steady longer run, and 1-2 key sessions that are run at or near your potential. Depending on your training history though, you should aim to increase your training volume/time gradually with ideally an easier week every 4th to 5th week before building up again.