Running for Beginners: The Easiest Way to Start Running (5 page)

After I’ve stretched both of my hamstrings it’s time to stretch the groin muscles. I do it in this order because I’m already sat down and am a little bit lazy and don’t want to get up to sit back down again! Figure 8 shows the groin stretch.


Sit in an upright position make sure that you keep your back straight (you can sit against a wall to insure this) and put the soles of your feet together. Slowly drop your knees to the floor and you should feel your groin muscles being stretched. The more flexible you get the closer you will get your knees to the ground. To further increase the stretch you can lean forwards – but always remember to keep your back straight. Hold this stretch for 60 seconds and remember to breathe.


Calf Stretch

Stand with your legs a good stride apart (front to back) and transfer your weight on to your slightly bent front leg whilst keeping the heel of your back leg firmly on the ground. At this point you should feel your calf being stretched. Swap your legs around and repeat. I like to do this stretch leaning against a wall, as it allows me to extend my leg back further so that I can get a better stretch. If you do it this way, your front leg will be bent more – make sure that your knee doesn’t go over your toes. Regardless of which way you choose to stretch your calves hold it for 30 seconds. Figure 9 shows the calf stretch.


Quadriceps Stretch

The final leg stretch I do is for my quadriceps (front on my thighs). If you don’t have very good balance you will want to do this a where you can support yourself against something. Start with your left leg and bend it behind you, then grab your left foot with your left arm and pull it towards your backside. Try to keep your thighs in line with each other so that you knee points down towards the ground and keep your back straight and upright. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat for your left leg. Aim to do this stretch without supporting yourself against anything. The best way to do this is to focus on a stationary object that is in front of you at head height. Figure 10 shows the quadriceps stretch.


Upper Body Stretch

There is only one stretch that I do for my upper body. I’ll stand with my feet at shoulder width apart and link my hands together and stretch upwards whilst drawing my shoulders down. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and remember to breathe and relax whilst doing it. Figure 11 illustrates this.


The Running4B Program

This is it, the main event! This is the part that is going to turn you in to a runner.


The Running4B program is a 12 week program that is split in to four three week phases. It will introduce you (and your body) to running – painlessly and injury free. If you feel at any time like a session is simply too much effort, then simply just repeat the schedule from the previous day – there’s no rush.


The program is based on going out running three times a week with at least one day of rest in between, so I would suggest that you make Monday, Wednesday and Friday your running days and then you can spend the weekend how you want to.


If you take a look at part of the program you will notice that each day is made up of a series of runs and walks. Gradually over the course of the twelve weeks the walking is reduced and the running is increased until, before you know it, you can run for 30 minutes continuously.  


This program measures the time that you run and not the distance. It is much easier (and cheaper) to reliably measure time than it is distance and therefore you won’t need to buy any expensive equipment to get started. When you get hooked on running you will find all sorts of gadgets that will measure everything from the calories you are burning to the distance that you have run.


The first few weeks of the program are made up of runs and walks and when you are out running you may find it difficult to keep track of which intervals you have run. The easiest way I found to keep track of where I was in the schedule, was to write the days running intervals as a list on a strip of paper. Once you have completed the one interval fold it over. Take a look at the example in Figure 12 below. You can also download the whole programs interval strips from the
website so all you will need to do is print them out and cut them up.


The Rules

Always do a warm up.
Always cool down.
Always stretch.
If you are short on time cut your run duration down and not your warm up, cool down and stretching time.
Always leave a day in between runs.

Phase One – Weeks 1 to 3

Phase One is very gentle and is intended to get your body accustomed to running. Don’t make the mistake of missing out this phase as it’s preparing your body for what is to come. Think of it as laying the foundations. If you have a nice broad foundation you’ll have something solid to build upon in the coming weeks.





Phase Two – Weeks 4 to 6

In Phase Two of the program the time spend running is gradually increased – the total time out of the house is about 20 minutes.


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