• How To Start Running For Beginners

    how to start running

    The simplicity of running is something that has always appealed to me. Having the ability to slip on a pair of trainers and immerse myself in the great outdoors is a wonderful feeling and one which I would encourage everyone to experience.

    Running is a great way to get fit but it’s important to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of going from 0-100 with your training. Running is an incredibly high impact sport and so it takes time and patience in order to prevent injuries or burnout occurring. This blog will detail the best approach to take for running newbies which is both simple and easily attainable.

    How to train

    Sign up to an event

    If you are serious about starting your running journey, finding a running event is the perfect way to ensure that you keep plodding on, even in the gloomy and cold winter months. It doesn’t have to be a high-profile marathon or a highly competitive race, park runs can be a great (free) way to experience a running event that is easily accessible to everyone.

    Whatever your aim, make sure you set a date and put it in your diary so that you stay committed to the cause.

    Get your running form right

    Whether you are a natural heel striker or lead with your toes, it’s important to maintain the form that feels natural to you. Just remember to look at the horizon, stand tall, use your arms to help drive your legs, and relax your upper body.

    The Run-walk method

    Starting to run is hard (no doubt about it) and so following a run-walk session is the perfect way to build up your running gradually. Start at 1-minute running intervals with 2minutes of walking in-between for the duration of your run; gradually build this up to longer running efforts and shorter periods of walking.

    Be patient with this method and you will be running non-stop in no time!

    Plan and track your training

    If you are starting out, keeping training simple is the best way to ensure success. Here are some basic points for a great start-up training plan:

    • Run or run/walk 20-30minutes two days per week
    • Run or run/walk for 40minutes-1hour on the weekend
    • Rest for 2-3 days per week and cross-train for the rest
    • Run at a comfortable pace

    Once you have your plan sorted, find a training platform that enables you to record and keep track of your progress. This can help with future planning and acknowledging progress. Strava, Garmin Connect, Run Keeper, Training Peaks, and X-Hale are all great platforms that keep an electronic record of your training.

    Clothing, Footwear, and Accessories

    Find the right running shoes

    It’s important to find a shoe that is comfortable and provides an adequate amount of cushioning and support whilst you run. Avoid making a decision based on fashion, brand names, or sales pitches. Source trainers that are specifically designed for running and have good third-party reviews. Lastly, ensure that you try out the trainers in a shop which provides customers with a treadmill.

    Invest in some good socks

    Socks are often overlooked within the running industry, but poorly fitting socks can cause blisters which will keep you off your feet for days. Choose a breathable, seamless and snug sock that is made from a sweat-wicking material. Much like your trainers, the most important feature of a sock is comfort, so try a style out before investing in a few pairs.

    Choosing your playlist

    Upbeat music, a podcast, or an audio book can be a great distraction whilst you are out running.

    Using a timing device

    It’s important to use a timing device to help manage your training. It doesn’t have to be a high-tech GPS watch; a simple stopwatch will suffice. Alternatively, you can use your phone to track your activity through a third-party app such as Strava or Run Keeper.

    Fuelling your training

    When to eat

    One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a runner is to not eat before exercise. Plan to eat one hour before your run to keep your energy supplies topped up without causing gastrointestinal distress.

    Once you have finished running, try to consume a snack that contains a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. A good post-workout snack will help the body re-synthesise muscle glycogen, recover more rapidly, and reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness.

    What to eat

    Before and after a run you should aim to consume a snack the size of your fist, including carbohydrates and some protein. A peanut butter sandwich is a good pre workout option and a glass of chocolate milk is the perfect recovery fuel.

    Staying hydrated

    Keep hydrated throughout the day with regular glasses of water. On longer runs (60min+) you may want to take an electrolyte drink to help replenish the water-soluble nutrients that are lost when you sweat.

    Preventing Injuries

    Stretching

    Dynamic stretching prior to a run will warm your muscles through the repetitive movements. An ideal warm-up would include ‘form drills’ like high knees and heel kicks.

    Cramping solutions

    Cramps during exercise could be a result of over-excited nerve endings, probably due to fatigue. Stretching the affected muscles will calm the misfiring nervous system connections which will ease the discomfort.

    Taking rest days

    Rest is often a word that runners dread, but it is a vital part of any training routine to ensure that your body has enough time to recover and adapt. Taking a few days off your feet each week will ensure that you don’t pick up any niggling injuries.

    Planning recovery weeks

    It’s wise to decrease your running volume and intensity one week in every month to ensure that your body isn’t being overworked. One of the main reason’s runners suffer chronic injuries and illnesses is through over training and excess stress placed on their body.

    Running is a sport which can provide a great means of activity in a very simple but effective way. Follow my running approach for beginners and you’ll be pounding the pavements in no time.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete and has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Joseph Thomas Athlete Ambassador

    running runner marathon

    Joseph is a runner who has his sights set on an ultra marathon. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I'd say I've always had an on and off relationship with sport. Through the years I did football, climbing, cycling, swimming, running, golf, tennis, cricket and anything else I got told to try! But the first sport I ever loved was windsurfing, which I started when I was 11. That love was swiftly accompanied by a love for running. Even if I fade in and out of fitness, I always find myself having that urge to get back to these sports and remember why I love them.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Whilst I'd predominantly consider myself a runner, I have tried a few triathlons. The first one I ever did, I had to borrow a bike and only did it because of a semi-sarcastic suggestion in school when I was 15/16. I enjoyed it immensely and have done a few more whenever I've found the opportunity.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Probably the Chester Marathon. It was my first ever marathon and every second was painful bliss!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I think it's coming through mental health issues I've suffered with since I was a teenager. Everything else aside, being able to come through incredibly tough times and improve and recover is a massive achievement, whoever you are.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I did an off-road race at the start of 2020, just a few weeks after having my tonsils out. I'd lost 3kg by being unable to eat properly and felt terrible. It took me over an hour to finish the 8km and at the start of the second lap I fell over and face planted hard!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It's about re-shaping your perspective. If a race goes badly, it's still good training. If you have a rubbish training run, it makes you appreciate the good runs. If you get injured, it gives you chance to work on other things.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Buy the right shoes!

    What are your goals?

    In 2021, I want to do my first ultra marathon and set a PB in every distance from 5km to marathon.

    Who inspires you?

    I watched a documentary by Billy Yang about ultra running and since then I've been amazed by so many who run these incredibly long distances. I also love content creators who talk about bigger issues beyond just the running. If I had to pick three people it would be Kaci Lickteig, Tina Muir and Joseph Gray.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Our planet and its resources are finite and we need to protect it. Running is such a throwaway industry with clothing, gels, medals and everything else that we go through. Having sustainable and accessible running clothing is vital.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Make Exercise Enjoyable In 10 Simple Steps

    how to make exercise enjoyable

    According to recent government statistics, around 34% of men and 42% of women are not meeting the recommend exercise requirements for good health. The problem is that exercise can be boring and repetitive. Even for the workout enthusiasts amongst the population, exercise can start to become a mandatory chore rather than an enjoyable choice. But this does not have to be the case.

    Whether you have a few minutes to spare or a whole day to be active, exercise can be enjoyable. Here are ten suggestions to inject some fun into your training regimen and prevent it from seeming like a chore.

    Find the right type of workout for you

    There isn’t a perfect way to exercise and so it’s important to choose a way to move that will be enjoyable and conducive to your goals. Don’t force yourself to go to your local pool if you hate swimming because you will be less likely to engage in the activity for a prolonged period of time. If you are someone that likes an adventure, then try rock-climbing. If you enjoy listening to music, then dancing could be the right type of exercise for you. By learning to love exercise, you will no longer have to worry about finding the motivation to do it.

    Find a training partner

    It can be a real struggle to get up and moving in the morning or motivate yourself to head to the gym after work. By finding a friend to workout with, you will have more motivation and it will make training much more enjoyable.

    Participate in a class or group training session

    By moving away from solo training sessions, you can have a great workout and even make new friends in the process. Join a class in your local area or sign up to your local triathlon club to keep training fun and varied.

    Incorporate movement into your day without realising it

    Did you know that shopping, gardening and housework counts as movement? Whilst I’m not suggesting that they can replicate the intensity of a gym or running workout, there are plenty of activities that you can do which will keep you moving on the days when you don’t want to ‘exercise’.

    Plan and track your training and progress

    There are thousands of fitness apps and training platforms that will enable you to pre-plan your exercise for the week and keep track of your progress. By having some structure to your week, it will enable you to set realistic goals and make notable progress.

    Get outside

    Get your daily dose of Vitamin D and head outdoors for your workout. Find somewhere new to cycle rather than heading to spin, go open water swimming rather than jumping into a pool, or find an outdoor bootcamp rather than training in a gym.

    Sign up for an event

    Make a commitment to fitness and look up a local event nearby. There are copious amounts of charity runs, sponsored walks, or obstacle races. This will ramp up the fun factor and help you meet other people that you can train with.

    Mix it up

    Don’t make the mistake of sticking to the same types of physical activity and the same weekly routine. Keep things interesting by trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.

    Use music to keep you moving

    Create a workout playlist with all your favourite upbeat songs to help keep you moving when your motivation begins to dwindle mid-workout.

    Take a break

    It’s important to acknowledge that your body and mind needs time to adapt and recover. Motivation and enjoyment will start to diminish if you are overtraining and not giving yourself the adequate amount time off. Aim for regular rest days and recovery weeks for the perfect balance between movement and recovery.

    It’s important to keep up with your training but don’t make it into a chore. Remember that exercise should be fun! As soon as it starts to become unenjoyable; stop, ask yourself why, and then change it up using my top ten steps.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite triathlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • Alexis Lauga Athlete Ambassador

    fencing sport athlete fitness

    Alexis competes in the sport of fencing and has competed at an international level. He talks to Sundried about life in sport.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Absolutely! I tried quite a few different sports when I was younger, ranging from ice hockey to cross country to football. Mainly, I would say that my passion for sports stemmed from my love for the outdoors as well as from my competitive nature, both against others but more importantly with myself. I find the rush of energy you get from any sort of exercise exhilarating and pushing my physical and mental limits is what I find most addictive and where I derive the most enjoyment from.

    How did you first get into fencing?

    Actually, my father has always been a fencer and seeing him come back from training and competitions is what sparked that interest. I first tried fencing at a local club in San Diego, where I used to live. It was a lot of fun straight from the start, especially playing warm-up games and the sparring sessions and I really fell in love with the sport thanks to tournaments - first locally, slowly progressing to national, European and international ones.

    What has been your favourite competition up to date and why?

    My first ever European competition in Birmingham will always be a memory I look back on very fondly. It was by no means a good day in terms of my ranking at the end of the day, but the whole experience of seeing such a large number of talented fencers my age and the high intensity of the warm-ups and matches is very memorable to me.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    A few years ago, during my last year as a cadet (under 17s), I capped off the season with a bronze medal on the national circuit. I had never fenced so well in my life, nor had I ever gotten a medal in as big a competition. This was one of my proudest moments as a fencer and I hope I can continue to enjoy my fencing as much as I did that day, and hopefully aim for some even better results in the near future.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks can come in all shapes in sizes, the most obvious being not achieving the results I am aiming for competitively. In such cases, I find it useful to give myself a few days to cool off before coming back with a fresh pair of eyes to look back on match footage with my coach and analytically pick out weaknesses to focus on in training and individual lessons.

    However, eventually, it is crucial for me to move on from the event and start looking ahead optimistically to the next competition, knowing that the experience and training you have done has only made you stronger. As for most other setbacks - such as injuries - I tend to ask coaches, family and close friends for advice.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    When I first started fencing, I would let my competitive side show too much in training and my sole objective during my sparring sessions would be to try and win against every single opponent. However, over time, I have come to understand the importance of focusing on your own technique in training and to save the competitiveness for tournaments. Losing sparring matches is ok, as long as you have taken away something useful from it, which is something I only learned later-on.

    What are your goals?

    At the moment, I am aiming to get back onto the English national team. I was invited to compete with them a few years ago, but did not have the British nationality at the time to do so. Alongside this, I would love to achieve high results in the BUCS league with my university as well as on a personal level, hopefully getting another national medal.

    Who inspires you?

    Of course, there are plenty of Olympic-level fencers whom I admire greatly; their stunning work ethic and their drive to succeed and become the best in the world is something I look up to immensely.

    More personally though, my father is someone who never ceases to amaze me. He has found an incredible balance between having a family life and driving my brother and I to training sessions, fencing camps and competitions. Like him, I hope to one day pass my love for fencing down to my children and to make as much of an effort to help others push their barriers further than they thought possible.

    Why work with Sundried?

    As I said above, sharing my love for sports - especially fencing - is something I hope to do throughout my life, and I am so appreciative for Sundried’s support in doing just that. Financially, fencing is not a cheap sport, and so providing people with high-quality sports apparel for a reasonable price is something I am very thankful for; it means I no longer need to focus as much on what I wear off the piste because I know that I will be comfortable as well as happy with how I look. As well as this, I strongly support and believe in Sundried’s vision and work towards being sustainable in the production of their clothing line.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Emma Dickson Athlete Ambassador

    Sundried ambassador runner cyclist outdoors fitness

    Emma is a runner who is passionate about her sport and aspires to run a sub 4-hour marathon. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    No, I was never sporty or athletic when I was younger but I was always adventurous.

    How did you first get into running?

    I started running in 2015, started cycling in 2018, and took part in my first duathlon in 2018.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    The Swindon Half Marathon in September 2019. It is my home town race and not only did I get my first sub 2-hour Half Marathon, I smashed my PB by 9 minutes!

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Running a marathon – it’s a long old way to go when you haven’t always been a runner!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I had an unpleasant experience with an energy gel during a Half Marathon in 2017... let’s just say I’m forever grateful for making it to the finish line (eventually!)

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have a little sulk (don’t we all?) then I re-evaluate what went wrong, dust myself off, and carry on.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Invest in a decent pair of running shoes! Also, I wish I knew more about bikes. That said, if you’re a beginner cyclist, get a bike you won’t mind scratching if you forget to unclip!

    What are your goals?

    To get stronger on the bike and run a sub 4-hour marathon.

    Who inspires you?

    I am inspired by everyone who gets out there and gives it a go. Whether it’s a mile walk, a 5 mile run or a marathon, you are all heroes!

    Why work with Sundried?

    Since I discovered Sundried late last year, I have closely followed their social media accounts and feel inspired by their passion for all things sport and fitness and love that their apparel is designed with the athlete in mind. I absolutely love the cycling apparel and have quite a collection now – it definitely is my training partner for life!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren