The true beauty of running is that unlike costly gym subscriptions and pay as you go fitness classes, it is essentially free exercise. As long as you are prepared to brave the atrocious Irish weather, you can go for a run whenever you wish. Best of all, no matter what your current level of fitness is, you can start straight away (though if you suffer from any medical condition, it is best to visit your GP before starting a new training plan).
The running programme that gets the most positive reviews is the ‘Couch to 5k’. This programme aims to have complete beginners running 5km routes within nine weeks. Users start off with a mixture of walking and jogging to ease into things, which is important as when a lot of people start to exercise they tend to overdo it which leads to injury. The plan progresses steadily and by week nine, a 5km becomes a doddle. For further information and podcast downloads see the NHS official webpage for Couch to 5k. For those who wish to receive podcasts in different languages check out C25k.com.
To keep things interesting while you’re out running, there is an abundance of amusing smartphone applicationss available. If getting chased by the undead floats your boat, the ‘Zombies, Run!’ app is for you. More information at zombiesrungame.com.
Perhaps the best known running app, MapMyRun allows the GPS of your mobile to track your runs, workouts, distances covered and the routes you take. You can also store all your fitness data so you can check on how much progress you are making. More information at mapmyrun.com.
If you are going to start running, make sure you have a comfortable pair of runners. I know that may sound very basic, but you would be surprised at the amount of people who suffer from ailments ranging from blisters and ingrown toenails to ligament damage all as a result of ill-fitting footwear.
After splashing out on decent runners you might as well go full belt and get proper tops, socks and shorts to go with it. If possible try to use technical fabric as it is good for facilitating moisture to rise and evaporate.
Last but not least, try getting your friends in on it as well. That way you will have people to run with. If all else fails, when you have mastered the Couch to 5K, consider joining a local running club if you wish to step things up a gear or two.
If you’ve found your running rhythm and want to try something more challenging, here’s a list of runs taking place in Dublin in the coming weeks.
- Skerries Charity Run Club 5k 2014: Takes place on 22/02/2014 and starts at 10:00.
- BHAA/Dublin Airport 5 Mile XC: Takes place on 01/02/2014 and starts at 12:00.
- Balbriggan Cancer Support Group ½ Marathon / 10K Run/Walk: Takes place on 17/03/2014 and starts at 09:00.
For further information on these and other marathons taking place around the country, check out runireland.com.
By James Creagh
Image via TA Physio