This year, we’ve teamed up with Matt Dorber, local Bristol Running Coach and regular runner with Queen Square Run Club, to bring you a series of motivations, inspirational and educational blog posts throughout the Series.
The University of Bristol Run Series launched in January and we’re hurtling towards the virtual and in-person 5k events which take place in March 2022! Whether you are completely new to running, returning after a break or a season pro, you can never get enough advice from the experts about how to make it through your events in the speediest, safest and most enjoyable way!
We’re kicking off with Matt’s top tips for new runners, from mindset to what you wear on your feet.
Tip 1 – Invest in some kit.
It doesn’t have to be expensive – there’s loads of good quality brands out there at cheap prices (Karrimor is a good example) but I would recommend starting with at least:
- Running / Sports socks
- Proper running trainers
- Some good shorts
- A long sleeve or short sleeve technical running top
Socks, tshirt and shorts are a ‘nice to have’ that will help avoid those painful blisters and chafing. If you’re on a limited budget, then focus on getting yourself a good pair of trainers as a priority.
With your first pair of trainers, it’s always worthwhile getting your gait checked first – a lot of places in Bristol will do this, but I’d recommend Moti. It’s a simple process that involves filming your feet whilst you run on a treadmill, in order to see how and where your foot lands (heavily towards the inside, heel striking, outside of the foot). Based on that, a good local running shop will be able to recommend a trainer with the right amount of support for you.
Tip 2 – Have some patience
Patience is the new runners worst enemy, and as a coach I see a familiar pattern with a lot of new runners – they go out for a run, it feels better than they expected, so they run again the next day. And the next day. Before you know it, you’ve run 20 miles in a week, and your body is exhausted…and most likely injured.
The general rule of thumb with running is to increase mileage or time by 10% each week. This gives your body time to adapt to the volume safely and reduces the risk of injury. There’s no rush – recovery is just as important as the running itself!
Tip 3 – Keep it chatty
It sounds completely contradictory, but to get faster, you need to run slower. A quick bit of science:
Most of the energy your muscles need when running comes from mitochondria. When you run slower, your body produces more mitochondria, meaning you have more energy. Your body will also increase its capillary production. Capillaries are the networks of blood vessels in your body that supply oxygen to the muscles and tissues. The more capillaries you have, the more oxygen your muscles receive. The more oxygen you have, the more energy your muscles can produce.
The best way you can keep your pace slow, is by keeping to what I call a ‘chatty’ pace – you should always be able to speak full sentences. If you start speaking broken sentences or you’re not able to talk at all – slow down!
Tip 4 – Enjoy yourself
Above all else, this is the most important tip, and the part that will keep you running for years to come. There are so many routes you can go down with running – you could be a parkrun tourist, spending your Saturdays travelling round the UK running in new locations.
You could be a trail runner – seeing the beautiful sights and challenging yourself on some difficult terrains.
You could be a club runner – enjoying the social aspect of building new friendships, attending races together and sharing the experience.
You could even be an ultra-runner! Running anything over a marathon distance is considered an ‘Ultra’ and there’s events that split over weekends, running over 100 miles. It’s a huge mental challenge but one you’ll remember forever.
Whichever route you choose to go down, running is so much more than just a way of keeping fit. Enjoy!