Top Five Rules to Being a Roadrunner

Friday 4 October 2013 by

Road, Running, Countryside, Tree, Instagram, House of BlogYou’re going to hear a lot about running on House of Blog! I don’t really do sport, although I come from a sporty family, but what I do love is running. With two half-marathons under my belt, I’m a complete addict – to the point that I’ve been known to schedule my social life around my runs.

I took up running when I realised that I had had enough of getting out of breath going up a flight of stairs, and I was suffering from lack-of-endorphins-ness (technical term).

I was very lucky in that I have both a coach in the form of my dad, and if you get to the end of my road and turn right, you’re in deepest countryside. I don’t need a gym membership when I have miles and miles of winding country lanes to run down!

There’s a distinct difference between running on a treadmill and road-running, so here are my top five tips to becoming a real roadrunner…

1.       Don’t listen to music

This is REALLY IMPORTANT, particularly if you’re running on back roads. Country lanes are full of blind bends and high hedges, so you’re never going to know when a car is coming. Even worse, if a cyclist is coming – even without headphones in they’re hard to hear so you’re going to need all your faculties to know when to get out the way. I’d even add an extra bit to this and strongly suggest you run with someone – a running partner is a great extra pair of ears and eyes, and is perfect motivation when you get tired.

2.      Know your route

It sounds daft, but knowing your route is really helpful when running roads; you know how far you are away from the end (always a nice feeling when you’re on the home stretch), where the pavements and lit parts are (key when the nights are closing in and you might not have enough light to get all the way round in one go*), and you know where you might be running on main roads and need to be more aware.

Running, Trainers, Shoes, Road, House of Blog, Instagram3.      Get good shoes

Running is incredibly high impact, and on concrete roads, you’re going to feel it all the more. Find a shop that tests your gait and get the shoes fitted properly – you’ll appreciate it in the long run (geddit!?). I have something attractively known as “collapsing ankles”, where I lean onto the inside of my ankle when I run, and so need shoes with extra support to push my legs straight. If I hadn’t got them fitted at the Sweatshop in Reading, I’d never have known!

4.      Have a goal in mind

It doesn’t matter whether you’re pounding along on a treadmill or the road, you need a goal. Start small and work your way up – I run three times a week, and make sure I have at least one 10km+ run in that, but I never push myself. I’m working towards being back at 10 at 10 fitness (10 miles at 10am on a Sunday), but it’s going to take a while. Once I reach that, then it’s on to half-marathon distance, and then I’m aiming for 20 miles. But right now? My goal is to run three times a week. Your goal has to motivate you, so make it reasonable.

5.      Stretch, stretch and stretch some more

The longer you go, the more important this is. You’re damaging your muscles every time you run, and stretching properly helps them repair in the right way once you’ve stopped. Decide on a routine of some stretches and stick to it – perhaps have a “speedy” routine and a longer routine you can do when you have more time. I hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds (everyone laughs, but I always count elephants to keep time). If you are part of a gym, check if they offer sessions with personal trainers – they can advise you on good stretches – or try these six stretches recommended on the NHS website which are great simple stretches to start with. Be really careful when stretching that you don’t hurt yourself – if it doesn’t feel right, stop!

*Always wear high-vis clothes if you’re running in the dark – you’d be amazed at how many people don’t!

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