Beginners FAQs

What is better; running first thing in the morning or last thing at night? 2017-06-24T08:53:47+00:00

Neither extreme is ideal but your body can adjust as long as you take it slowly and carefully and beware of the risks. You’re more at risk of injury first thing in the morning, so avoid hard sessions first thing and warm up before heading out of the door. Running late at night is usually riskier for personal safety; so keep visible, avoid wearing headphones and stay alert.

How can hills make me faster? 2017-06-20T20:43:35+00:00

Hill workouts are fantastic for improving VO2max and increasing muscle strength. They are also a great form of strength training. As a runner, you can do squats, lunges, and hamstring curls until your muscles burn, but hills are just as good and more functional.

Why do I need to run up hills? 2017-06-20T20:41:57+00:00

Hill training strengthens the legs for running better than any other activity I know. At the same time it can help you improve leg speed and enhance your ability to run hills in races. Hill training provides a gentle introduction to faster running while improving your capacity to perform speed work down the line.

How fast should I run strides? 2017-06-20T20:31:42+00:00

You should feel like you are running fast but controlled. It’s more important to focus on running at 75-85% of top speed and using great form. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate form when running strides at the end of a run.

Can I do other exercise alongside my running training? 2017-06-15T10:32:22+00:00

Yes, you can do other exercise alongside your running training. This is known as cross training. As running is a relatively high impact exercise, alternative activities like swimming and cycling offer a way to have a good workout without the impact. Try not to replace runs with other activities (running is the best training for a running event) and be sure that any supplementary training isn’t tiring as rest is an important part of training.

I’ve entered a race, what next? 2017-06-15T10:32:10+00:00

Congratulations! Research has shown that you are more likely to stick to a new fitness plan if you have a specific goal to target – in this case an event. Why not register for a generic training plan or get in touch for a personal coaching plan to help get started? Most events will send you a confirmation pack or email followed by further information nearer to race day such as your race number, which you must wear on your front, and in most cases a timing chip which will track your own personal time from crossing the start line to crossing the finish line to provide you with your own personalised result.

How do I choose an event right for me? 2017-06-15T10:31:59+00:00

Generally speaking it takes less training to complete a shorter distance event. If you are aiming for your first event, a 5km or a 10km race could be a good distance to start with. You can, however, run longer events but you should give yourself the appropriate amount of time to prepare. Also if your lifestyle is such that it will be hard to fit in the training required for a longer event, you may find it more achievable to aim for a shorter distance.

Should I enter an event? 2017-06-15T10:31:47+00:00

Research has shown that those who enter an event are more likely to stick to their training plan because they have a specific date to target.

Why have a training plan? 2017-06-15T10:31:36+00:00

All plans on this website from generic to personalised plans are developed by international athlete Jonny Mellor having competed at the highest level in the UK for over a decade. The plans therefore use tried and tested methods to help you improve in the most effective way, whilst avoiding mishaps that may lead to under preparation, overtiredness or injury. A training plan can give you direction as well as structure and guidance in your training.

When does running get easier? 2017-06-15T10:31:25+00:00

Many new runners find that running gets easier when they can run continuously for 30 minutes. At that point, they start to feel more comfortable and confident. This can take a little bit of patience to build up your fitness and get to a point where running feels easier but don’t be afraid to alternate periods of running and walking.

Am I good enough to join a running club? 2017-06-15T10:31:16+00:00

Most clubs are very welcoming to those starting out in running and also those who do not run at a fast pace. There are also more and more informal jogging clubs starting up – you may find adverts in your local press. These are excellent at keeping new runners motivated. For those based on the Wirral we have a beginners running group every Wednesday evening at 6:15pm from UTS Hoylake.

What’s the difference between running on a treadmill and running outdoors? 2017-06-15T10:30:48+00:00

A treadmill pulls the ground underneath your feet, and you don’t face any wind resistance, both of which make running somewhat easier and why you should always add a 1% gradient on the treadmill to simulate outdoor conditions. Many treadmills are padded, making them a good option if you want to decrease impact.

Is it normal to feel pain during running? 2017-06-15T10:30:35+00:00

Some discomfort is normal as you add distance and intensity to your training. But real pain isn’t normal. If some part of your body feels so bad that you have to run with a limp or otherwise alter your stride, you have a problem. Stop running immediately, and take a few days off. If you’re not sure about the pain, try walking for a minute or two to see if the discomfort disappears.

Why do I keep getting a side stitch when I run? 2017-06-15T10:30:28+00:00

A side stitch, or a sharp pain on the lower edge of the ribcage, can be a huge annoyance for runners. To get rid of one, try gently pushing your fingers into the area where you’re feeling the stitch, which should help relieve some of the pain. Then, to get rid of the side stitch, try altering your breathing pattern.

I always feel out of breath when I run. Is something wrong? 2017-06-15T10:30:15+00:00

Yes, you’re probably trying to run too fast so consider slowing down. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is to run too fast.

Should I breathe through my nose or my mouth? 2017-06-15T10:30:06+00:00

You should breathe through both your mouth and nose when you’re running. Your muscles need oxygen to keep moving and your nose simply can’t deliver enough. Make sure you’re breathing more from your diaphragm, or belly, not from your chest as that’s too shallow.

Do I have to wear running shoes, or are normal trainers fine? 2017-06-15T10:29:50+00:00

Running doesn’t require much investment, but you do have to have a good pair of running shoes. Unlike normal trainers, running shoes are designed to help your foot strike the ground properly, reducing the amount of shock that travels up your leg. They’re also made to fit your foot snugly, which reduces the slipping and sliding that can lead to blisters. I’d always recommend visiting a specialist running store to find the right shoe for you, especially if you’re just starting out.

How many times per week should I run? 2017-06-15T10:29:38+00:00

The number of times per week that you should training depends on your current level of fitness and your goals. Generally speaking, you should train three times each week when starting out. Where you go from there will depend on your ambition and your commitment. It is important not to increase your training until you are comfortable with your current load.

How much do I have to train? 2017-06-15T10:29:26+00:00

It really depends on what you’re training for and your goals, and also what level of fitness you are at when you start training.

Where should I run? 2017-06-15T10:29:16+00:00

You can run anywhere that’s safe and enjoyable. The best running routes are scenic, well lit, free of traffic, and well populated. Over time you can become more adventurous with your running routes.

How quick can I improve? 2017-06-15T10:28:59+00:00

Improvement will vary from person to person, even if the same training plan is followed. The important factor is to allow yourself to adapt to an increasing training load without becoming injured or overtired. Having a coach can help you do this and adapt and change your training based on your progress.

Should I run for a set time or a set distance? 2017-06-15T10:28:48+00:00

Some people like to run for a set time (and record the distance they covered in that time) while others like to run for a set distance (and record the time taken). Both are fine, but for those just starting out, I’d recommend going for time to take the pressure away.

How do I get started? 2017-06-15T10:28:28+00:00

Start walking for a length of time that feels comfortable, anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Once you can walk for 30 minutes easily, start by adding short periods of gentle running into your walk, such as 1 minute on, 4 minutes off and build up to increase the amount of time running until you’re running for 30 minutes straight.