Lockdown life is now in full swing. I hope you’re all coping and have managed to adjust your daily routines to suit?
I feel your pain…
Times are challenging at the moment and who knows what will happen in the forthcoming months. I know you may be struggling right now…
Whether this is being stuck in the same place, not seeing family, or missing your friends.
Flip the situation into a positive…
But with that said… I firmly believe that this lockdown period can be used to focus on positive areas of our lives. It’s an excellent opportunity to work on areas such as your health and fitness… which are easy to neglect when you’re busy, have time constraints, work commitments, etc.
We can all spend 30-60 minutes per day exercising. The government is encouraging people to exercise each day, providing they maintain social distancing and are healthy enough to do so.
One of the most popular things people are doing is…RUNNING.
Have you noticed lots of runners?
Every time I go on a walk, I notice lots of runners (far more than usual); have you noticed this too?
Runners seem to be showing up everywhere. It feels like every person in Sheffield has dusted off their running shoes and is putting them to good use.
Have you been running?
If you said YES…good work. If you answered NO, then it’s something worth considering.
Benefits of running…
Running is an effective exercise. For one, being outside will lift your mood.
Running also helps you to improve the strength in your legs, especially your thigh muscles.
Running will also boost your cardiovascular fitness, meaning you’ll develop improved stamina and be able to go longer.
With many of us being in lockdown, there’s plenty of built-up tension and energy that needs to be released. There’s nothing better for boosting your mindset and blowing off steam…than a good 20-30 minute run outdoors, especially in good weather (it’s currently sunny and 21 degrees as of writing this article).
The Downside of running…
Although running has many advantages, I’m sure you’ve noticed a few niggles, aches and pains starting to creep in?
It’s very easy to injure yourself and do more harm than good.
Last year I chose to take up running as I wanted to run a 10k, which I completed in March of this year. The experience taught me a great deal, seeking out help and aid from various sources on how to overcome certain areas of my training. I want to pass on some of those tips to help you get the most out of your running during this period and keep you active and injury-free.
#1 QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
If you’re feeling like you’re running yourself into the ground (quite literally), then maybe it’s time to readjust your training.
Aches and pains have been creeping in for lots of LEP Fitness clients who’ve been running during this period. So myself and Nick have had to come up with ways to help members stay healthy and motivated during the lockdown.
You want to be able to enjoy your running, get the benefits of weight loss, and feel-good hormones, and most importantly…be able to wake up each day pain-free.
One of my first tips is not to push your runs to the limit every time you go out. Start small and focus on quality over quantity. You don’t need to achieve personal bests in every session. Running little and often is better than beasting yourself on one big run BUT then not being able to walk for the next week!
Set yourself a goal for the week in terms of time or distance, and then divide this up accordingly, i.e., to complete 20km each week. For example, you could do 4x 5km runs each week, or 1x 10km, and 2x 5km runs. In total, they both add up to 20km per week. Set a goal and break it down into smaller runs, to enable your body to recover.
#2 WARM UP & ACTIVATE YOUR MUSCLES BEFORE YOU RUN
Hands up if you’ve ever started running to discover the first five minutes feel incredibly hard on your legs like you’re dragging yourself along?
This is most likely down to not warming up correctly. What’s scarier is that you can also do yourself serious harm if you don’t warm up/activate your muscles before running.
You only need to spend 10 minutes warming up/activating your muscles. It’s worth the time investment if you want to get more from your running, prevent injury, and be able to run pain-free.
Before you next go on your run, try out the following:
- Foam Rolling (2-3 mins)
- Tennis/Lacrosse Ball Activation (2-3 mins)
- Resistance Band Activation (2-3 mins)
- Dynamic Stretching
You can also try this routine that I’ve put together below before your next run…
#3 SLOW IT DOWN, TAKE SMALL STEPS, REAP THE REWARDS
It can be incredibly tempting as a new runner to start going ‘flat out’ straight away, only to discover that a few minutes later, you’re laid out on the pavement gasping for air. You need to start slow and build up.
Your main aims when running should be able to hold and maintain your pace for the duration of your run. This is where you have to be mindful of your breathing, speed, and technique.
If you are brand new to running, maybe you could consider a couch to 5k? I recommend these programs to my clients all the time, whether they’re new to running or coming back to it after some time away.
#4 NUTRITION & SLEEP
It’s not just about working hard… It’s also about how you recover. This is paramount when it comes to exercise. If you eat rubbish, your joints will get inflamed, and your recovery will take twice as long.
I know it’s tempting to order and pizza and binge on the latest Netflix release, of which there is, of course, a time and place. But, to get the best out of yourself, let’s look at during the week cooking yourself and getting an early night to optimise your running performance.
I guarantee if you optimise sleep and nutrition for the next seven days after reading this article, you’ll perform better during exercise. Muscle recovery is king, don’t let your hard work go to waste by neglecting food and rest.
#5 Play Some Feel Good Music
There’s nothing quite like a feel-good playlist to get you in the zone for a high-quality run. Whether you like pop music, house, electronic, rock, hip hop…pick music that makes you feel good and inspires you to work hard.
Apple Music has lots of pre-done playlists which are great for runners. Although I personally prefer to listen to Spotify. This week I’ve been listening to Colin Airey, which has helped me through some tough runs. I would encourage you to create playlists that pumps you up and makes you feel good.
#6 Don’t Forget To Cool Down
I get it, you’ve done your run, and you’re tired. All you want to do is grab a shower and probably eat some food/chill. But don’t miss out on the cool down. You only need to spend 2-5 minutes, but don’t miss this essential step.
I would recommend picking 2-3 stretches for your leg muscles, a stretch each for the thighs, hamstrings, and glutes. Hold each stretch for 60s.
Here’s to getting more out of your running and staying pain-free.
Ollie @ LEP Fitness