RUN TALL AND LIGHT. It might seem sensible to take longer strides, but actually shorter, lighter strides are the way to go. Aim for 180 steps per minute while you run. This will avoid over-striding which puts extra strain on your knees. Keep your posture tall - no slouching - and your form should also improve dramatically.
RECOVER AND REST. If you’ve had a tough running day, make absolutely sure you rest up the next day. If you feel you must exercise do light work like jogging or some form of crosstraining such as swimming or lifting weights. Minimize injuries by stretching muscles well after a hard workout (around 10 minutes) or try some yoga moves for runners.
EAT SMART. Firstly, you really don’t have to buy any special energy drinks or gels. Real food – lean protein, wholegrains, quality fruit and veg and dairy - is really all you need to get the best performance. An hour or two before a run have a small carb-based snack with a little protein and minimal fat. A peanut butter sandwich is ideal. After a run you want to help repair muscle tissues and replenish glycogen stores so feed your body carbohydrate and protein such as a milkshake, chicken sandwich or yoghurt with berries and honey.
AVOID PAVEMENT RUNNING. Whenever you can, run off road. Grass, gravel or sand are ideal. Mo Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar says “Pavement damages joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. The more you can run on grass, woodchips or dirt, the better off you are. My athletes run 90 percent of their workouts on soft surfaces.”
COMMIT TO BE FIT. Keeping track of your running progress will motivate you. Aim to run two or three times a week and log each run for time, distance and how you felt. A simple paper log will do, though you might find the latest running apps and trackers more motivating.
STRENGTHEN YOUR WHOLE BODY. Running strength training should form an essential part of your fitness programme and will power your running, making you faster and run for longer. Expect increased endurance, injury prevention, more efficient calorie burning, improved running form, bone strength and joint flexibility. Good exercises include one-leg squats, lunges, side planks and press ups.
BUDDY UP. One of the best ways to keep running is to find a training partner. But make sure it’s someone of similar ability and out to support you, not compete with you. Joining a running club is a great way to run with other people, get advice and keep you motivated. Finding a gym near you is also a great way to meet someone you can train with.
Running strength training is a great idea. It's easy to think you're doing all the exercise you need when you just go for a run. but it's only recently I've realised I mustn't neglect the rest of my body, and that every part affects the whole. Sounds woo hoo but it's so important to remember as we get older.
The one about avoiding pavements is interesting. I find that it can jar the knee joints. Running on grass is far better.
Posture - always think about your posture! If you start slouching, slow down.
loads of common sense tips - really helpful, thanks. The thing about running posture makes sense, just never thought about it before!
I would recommend always having a rest day between runs if you run on pavements, even if they're only 20 minutes. It's a lot of pounding on your feet. Personally I run one day on one day off so I end up running 3 times a week. I intersperse this with gym visits too so I get really well rounded training.
I'm not much of a runner but I have always run on the roads/pavements when I've given it a go - will remember to avoid this in the future.
I would definitely agree with the avoiding long strides. I am tall so it's easy to take less steps but when I read this somewhere else a while ago I took shorter strides and it felt quite different, and easier on the feet when you land.