New to running? Here is your guide to finishing strong

January 5, 2022

Running is a sport that can both delight you and break you. It is not unusual for a day when you run your best pace ever to be followed by one where you struggle to manage a slow jog. Although many runners will describe it as a frustrating sport, often announcing they are done with it after a shocker of a run, they will still admit that it is one they love and will never (seriously) consider giving up.

“Watching confident runners run through South African neighbourhoods, enjoying the weather as it warms up, often inspires new runners to buy a pair of running shoes and hit the street, thinking ‘how hard can it be?’,” comments Amy Hopkins, brand manager for sports brand Totalsports and an avid runner. “And although there are the few who can simply hit the road running without any difficulty, there are many that need to start off slow and gradually build their strength, their times and their fitness.” But this shouldn’t be a cause for discouragement, Hopkins motivates. This should be the time when you prove to yourself that you can do it and push yourself to improve after every run.

One of the biggest mistakes that new runners make is believing that they can start with long distances at a quick pace. A plan needs to be put into place to ease your body and your mind into the activity. It is not only about the strength of your body but also about the strength of your mind for you to get going and get over any setbacks.


Guide to your best run

Hopkins recommends following the below guide before hitting the road and starting your running journey:

  1. Never forget to warm up before your run. This will help protect your body so that you don’t start your run with cold muscles. Walk or do a slow jog for about five to 10 minutes before you increase your intensity. You can also include running stretches into your routine before you run to help prevent injuries.
  2. Always run in the correct running gear. You will need running gear that is easy to move in and allow for breathability. Always wear running shoes that suit your running style to avoid any injuries and frustration later on. Selected Totalsports’ stores offer the opportunity for you to analyse your running style and provide you with your gait analysis information. An experienced running technician will be able to assist you in finding a shoe, in your budget, that will suit you. Totalsports also offers running apparel suited to all runners no matter the budget. The TS by Totalsports running apparel has been designed and made to suit all runners’ needs as well as provide comfort and movability while on the road.
  3. When starting don’t expect to be a running star. Start with running/walking intervals to gain fitness – a one minute walk followed by a one-minute run and so forth. As you improve you can increase your running time and adjust to suit your level of fitness. A way to judge your fitness is if you can speak in full sentences while running. If you can’t, then slow down.
  4. Hydration is key when running. You should be drinking water before, during and after your run. If there are no water stops along your run, be sure to carry your own water with you. Drink when you feel thirsty, but there is no need to gulp it all down, as this will cause a stitch. Simply sip your water as and when you need it.
  5. Always include a rest day (or two) depending on your fatigue. Your body needs time to recuperate before you put it under stress again. You will see much better results if you rest when you need to, than by pushing yourself beyond your fitness levels.

“Running is sport that you can do in a group or on your own and offers time to be able to reflect and find time for yourself,” explains Hopkins. “Stick to your fitness levels and gain intensity when you feel comfortable, and not another’s. This is what makes running a rewarding and enjoyable sport. It’s all about you and achieving what you believed to be impossible.”

When you join TFG Rewards you benefit from various special offers and discounts including the Runner’s Rewards, where you will receive 10% off premium running shoes over R1999.

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