1. Decide in advance how long you want to train for: Distance covered is not the right criterion
To improve, start with a slow run lasting 10 to 15 minutes, twice a week.
Train at least two or even three times a week.
2. Find and plan your route
Set landmarks, and try to run on soft ground (trails in forests, wooded areas or parks), unless you are aiming to compete in road races.
3. Wear the right shoes
Wear running shoes which are suited to the discipline and to your stride type, one size larger than your regular shoes.
4. Wear the right gear
In winter, everyone agrees on the three-layer rule: a breathable garment, an insulating garment and a garment to protect you against the wind and rain.
In summer, don't forget to cover your head if it is sunny, and beware of sunstroke.
5. Run at the right pace
Running in company is ideal, as it means some extra motivation. However, when you're new to running, you need to find your own rhythm; running with a friend can see you ending up running at a pace that isn't right for you. There are two possibilities in this case, either listen to your body and ask your running buddy to adapt their pace to suit you better; or, if your friend isn't able to change their running pace, it might be wiser to start off running alone until you find your ideal pace.
6. Work on or improve your stride
Train on uneven ground, do gentle abdominal exercises, improve your speed over 100 or 200 metres.
7. Run at the right time
Run at least two hours after eating, when not digesting, preferably in the morning or evening.
8. Eat properly
It is no secret: you need to drink before, during and after exercise, because you lose lots of fluids when running.
Before running, drink diluted drinks (like apple juice). During, drink water. Afterwards, drink fruit juice, Vichy water or coke. In cold weather, get yourself some dried fruits and cereal bars.
9. To stay in shape or lose weight
Go for short runs, run on an empty stomach... and be patient.
10. Stretches and suppleness exercises
Before running, stretches prepare your muscles and tendons for effort. Afterwards, they aid recovery.
What do you do in your first training sessions?
Don't be too ambitious on your first run. Walk to recover. Adopt a very gradual approach. 30 to 40 minutes three times a week is the ideal to keep you healthy
Start every session with a gradual warm-up; end with a stretching session.
Start with 5 to 10 minutes of fast walking (warm-up), then alternate 100 metres of running and 100 metres of walking for about ten minutes. End your session with a 5 to 10-minute warm-down (very slow running and walking). Repeat this session every week, extending the distance you run (200 metres, 400 metres, 500 metres). Don't wait any longer: get out jogging now!
The school year is starting up and you want to start exercising (again). But when you see all those classes, all those machines for cardio, for weight training, it can be overwhelming.
Don't worry, here are my recommendations to keep you motivated and help you reach your goals.