Run to get fit
Lisa Rennison, personal trainer and instructor at Vivacity gyms, offers expert advice to get you on the road to fitness...
My very first experience of fitness was running. What I loved about it was I could do it whenever I wanted, which fitted with my lifestyle at the time, and I felt and saw the benefits pretty quickly. Running gives you a solid basis to do other activities in fitness and can give you the confidence to take it one step further, entering events such as the Perkins Great Eastern Run. As a personal trainer I often have clients whose goals are to take part in a half marathon or marathon. Lately, one of biggest challenges was training Darren Grigas, whose goal was to run six consecutive marathons across the Sahara desert to raise money for Anna’s Hope charity – a phenomenal, life-changing challenge. Your aims may not be quite so ambitious, but we all start somewhere! Whatever your needs and fitness levels, running is a great way to stay in shape, lose weight and gain lean muscle. A person weighing 60kg burns an average of 300 cals per half hour (depending on your speed, weight and age this calorie burn can vary). Just 30 mins of regular exercise 3-5 times per week can vastly improve not only your physical health, but your emotional wellbeing, too.
Running is a full body activity, so it’s important to train other parts of the body to make you stronger, leaner and fitter. Performance exercises that strengthen your core and upper body as well as your legs will give you a strong physique which will hold off fatigue and help you avoid injury. To achieve this, you can train in a gym yourself, hire a personal trainer, attend fitness classes – or all three! A personal trainer can design a bespoke training programme to help you reach your goals. I know from my own experience with clients that targeted, personalised programmes such as this can make a huge difference to a clients overall fitness, performance and bodyshape. There’s also a great range of fitness classes at your local Vivacity gym– and classes are FREE with Vivacity gym membership, so you can try as many as you like and find the right ones for you. See the next page for details. Hope to see you there – and happy running!
Benefits of running
■ Running can help prevent obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other medical conditions
■ Anyone can do it – running is accessible and its free!
■ It’s practical – you don’t need lots of expensive or bulky equipment (although a decent pair of trainers is a must have)
■ It helps build strong bones, as it is a weight bearing exercise
■ Strengthens muscles
■ Improves cardiovascular fitness because of the increase in the heartbeat
■ Burns lots of calories, so helps aid weight loss
■ Builds lean muscle
Set yourself a goal!
Whatever your level, setting challenges is a good way to keep you going and stay motivated. Training for a race such as a 5k/10k, half marathon or marathon is a great goal, and if you can raise money for your favourite charity too, all the better – that will greatly boost your overall motivation. The Perkins Great Eastern Run is a fantastic half marathon run which takes place every year in Peterborough. It’s a great first-time race, and having run it several times myself, I can confirm that the feeling you get when you cross the finish line is amazing!
■ To sign up and find out more, go to www.perkinsgreateasternrun.co.uk
Running for the first time
Here are my tips for enjoying the experience, avoiding injury and getting the best out of your training when starting out:
■ Invest in a decent pair of trainers – this is very important to avoid injury and to enjoy a comfortable run
■ Ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually to avoid injury
■ Start each run with a gentle warm up for at least 5 minutes. This may be quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts or stepping up and down stairs
■ Start walking first, then introduce running at intervals at a speed that feels comfortable
■ Run regularly for 2/3 times per week from between 10-30 mins and increase time and distance when you feel comfortable – your running will improve as your body adapts to the routine.
■ Always cool down and stretch out your muscles and upper body as well as your legs after your run. If you’re not sure how to stretch out, Google and YouTube are a great source to show you how. Cool down should be gradual, and heart rate should lower as the pace slows right down.