Spartans Starter Group
The Spartans Starter Group is perfect for anyone wishing to start running. Here is some information you might find useful if you are new to running.
Benefits of Running
People start running for all different types of reasons. Some of the main benefits include:
- Improve Fitness: Or more specifically, cardiovascular fitness. Your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle needs to be worked and challenged to gain strength
- Lose weight: Running, in conjunction, with a healthy balanced diet can contribute to successful weight loss. It also helps to develop more lean tissue which will help you to look slimmer even if there is no change in your body weight
- Improve Bone density: Running is a weight-bearing activity and weight-bearing activities strengthen bones, which can help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis
- Self-achievement: Knowing that you are doing something good to your physical body is an enormous boost to your sense of self-worth
- Social — Joining a running group is an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded people
What should I wear?
There is no set running uniform. You should wear what you feel comfortable in which may include, jogging bottoms, shorts or lycra shorts or tights. Ladies should wear a high support running bra.
The only piece of equipment we recommend is a good pair of ‘running trainers’ to prevent the likelihood of injury. This is especially necessary if you decide to run several times a week. It is advisable to visit a specialist running shop so that they can advise on what trainers are suitable for your running style.
During the hot weather you will lose fluid very quickly. You may want to carry a small bottle of water to minimise the risk of dehydration. Carry bottles are available from all good sports shops.
When should I stretch?
At the beginning of the run, just take it slowly (walk or slowly jog); this will warm your muscles up ready to run. At the end of the run stretching exercises can be done, as your muscles will be warm and loose.
Starting To Run
We recommend that all newcomers to runners should start with a run/walk programme. This consists of short jog/run intervals interspersed with walking breaks. Initially there will be more walking than running in a session but over time the length of the running intervals should increase and the walk breaks will decrease. Running is a high impact sport and it takes a while for the muscles, bones and tendons to adapt to the impact, so even if you take part in other cardiovascular activities, it is recommended that you start off with a walk/run programme.
The ‘Spartans Starter Group’ recognises that everyone will have different fitness and ability levels and will improve at different rates. We will not set a specific structure to the length or number of each run/walk interval. Individual runners can decide how much they would like to do and when they are ready to run for a little longer. Coaches and experienced runners, who will be present at the sessions, will be available to advise on safe progression, if required.
One of the most common mistakes when you start to run is to go off too fast. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run, which is why running is such a sociable sport. If you can’t talk then you are going too fast! Even if it feels that your running pace is the same as your walking pace, this is ok and your body will gradually adapt and your speed will increase. The main thing at this stage is to enjoy your running and to gradually build up your running.
Aches & Pains
It is normal to have a few minor aches when you first start running as your body is adapting to the impact. If you experience pain during or after your runs then it is advisable to stop and rest for a couple of days, or more if you need. If in doubt, rest: don’t let a niggle become an injury
Running More Frequently
To maximise the benefits of running you may want to gradually build up to running two – three times per week. If you run several times per week then you should allow at least a day between runs when you begin to allow your muscles to recover before the next session.
Setting a Goal
You may find it helpful and motivational to set yourself a goal when you first start. Goals should be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely. Examples of goals may be; to run one continuous mile by June, to lose half a stone by July or to complete a local race.