3 WAYS TO EASE YOU OFF THE SOFA AND RUNNING 5K PAINLESSLY
Hello! Last year when I hit 35 I realised there was so much I hadn’t yet achieved. Along with writing a book, swimming with dolphins and attending a silent retreat, I really wanted to run. I’ve always classed myself as a non-runner. Like an embarrassingly bad one. So bad that I would give Phoebe from Friend’s a run for her money! And although I loved gymnastics and swimming at school, when it came to cross country I’d be finding every excuse under the sun to skive off (with varying degrees of success!)
In my early 20s when I lived by the coast, I attempted many times to jog along the beach as the sun was setting. Whatever good intentions I had, I would end up sacking it off and going down the pub instead. I hated the feeling of my lungs burning and my legs wobbling under me. I couldn’t understand it as my dad is along distance walker and marathon runner. Surely it should be in my blood?
As I said, I hit 35 and thought sod it. It’s now or never. I sat down and wrote out every excuse I had for not enjoying running and came up with a solution for each and every one. They mainly revolved around running being painful, so I needed to find a way to start running painlessly!
So if you’re toying with the idea of running painlessly, here are the top solutions for getting started (and sticking to it!)
GET A PROPER PAIR OF TRAINERS AND INSOLES
This is probably the most important one I can recommend, because injuries do happen and they frigging hurt! I suggest going to a sports shop and get some expert advice.
I have 2 pairs of New Balance for the gym and indoor training, and 2 pairs of Asics for outdoor wear. The first were recommended to me after an in-store foot analysis, but the second were given to me by a friend (she’d bought a size too small in the sales and after one wear realised she was crippling herself!) Although they were the perfect fit, the soles were incorrect for my feet as I have a low arch which can cause me pain.
The lovely guys at Sole sent me some custom footbeds to try out and my gosh, they were game changers! The footbeds themselves come in different sizes and I suggest going up a size rather than down as they can be trimmed. You place them in the oven for a couple of minutes, pop them in your trainers and let your feet mold them to the shape of your feet.
The first time I ran in these was like running on air. I usually run on natural ground as I find it easier on my legs, but running on pavements with these was a breeze! They are so shock absorbing, your feet feel cushioned and supported. Also the fact that they are anti-odour is a massive plus. I went for the medium thickness (1.6mm.) These retail at £35 and can be purchased here.
USE AN APP
When I exercise, I need to be told what to do and that’s why I work with a trainer and attend classes. Running is different. No one is telling you what do and I found that really hard!
I’d heard great things about the Couch-5k app which is promoted by the NHS and uses British presenters on the podcast. I chose Jo Whiley to talk me through my runs, and by the end of the course I felt so attached to her, I didn’t want her to leave!
The podcast is set up so you do 3 runs a week, with at least a day’s rest in-between. My excuse was I didn’t have time to run, but 3 x 20 minute slots could easily be pencilled in to my diary. The first run was hideous (and by “run” I mean jogging for 1 minute, walking for 2.) I just couldn’t understand how I could be physically fit, but find running so flipping hard, but I stuck to it and it got easier. Each run was pushing me to the next level, but I never experienced the dreaded lung burn or feeling like I wanted to vomit. In fact, within 6 weeks I managed to run my first 5k – something I never dreamt I could do!
You can download the app via the iTunes store here.
USE A MUSCLE GEL
This is an absolute must when you’re starting out (unless you want to walk like John Wayne the next day!) When I started running, I’d be using muscles which I didn’t even know I had (and I have a diploma in Anatomy and Physiology!) The would seize, and even walking down the stairs the next day would reduce me to tears.
Puressentiel have an incredible range of muscle balms, roller balls, gels and heat pads which are completely natural and work like a dream. Puressentiel kindly sent me a gift basket to try out and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
The Muscle and Joints Gel is fantastic for slapping on straight after a run. The consistency makes it easy to apply, and the scent is fuelled with pure essential oils (including Cajeput, Roman Chamomile, Clove, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, Juniper, Lavandin, Majoram, Peppermint, Niaouli, Nutmeg, Pine and Rosemary) which get to work within minutes. It’s recommended to use the gel 3 x a day on sore muscles and joints and we actually bought a second tube of this to keep in my husband’s work bag. Being a tree surgeon, he is always aching!
The Muscles and Joints Soothing Balm is perfect for using as a massage medium. Made of shea butter, beeswax and sunflower oil, it is laden with camphor and menthol which soothes the muscles almost instantly.
Being an Aromatherapist myself, these are not oils which I would regularly use, so having a pre-made balm is perfect for neck and shoulder rubs.
The Muscles and Joints Roller is an ingenious invention, and not like anything I’ve come across before! The oils (including Roman Chamomile, Cajuput, Cloves, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, Juniper, Lavandin, Majoram, Peppermint, Niaouli, Nutmeg, Pine and Rosemary) are inside a roller, which makes it easy to use without getting it on your hands. Perfect for when you’re out and about!
The Muscle and Joints Heating Patches are definitely one of my favourite products by Puressential. I’ve used heatpads in the past, prescribed to me by my Chinese Acupuncturist, and I just love the warmth and smell that these release.
There are 3 patches in a box, each one containing the same ingredients as the roller, as well as Eastern Teaberry and Capsicum. These can be worn for up to 8 hours, so are perfect for a working day or overnight.
What I love about Puressentiel is there are absolutely no nasties in their products – no perfumes, synthetics or mineral oils. Apart from the heat pads, they are also safe for children over the age of 7 to use. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that yesterday we went to an Extreme Trampolining Park. Cue Monday morning and we are all rubbing gel into our backs!
6 months on and I’m pretty in love with running, especially the way it clears my head and helps me sleep deeply. What I have learned about myself is I am fair-weathered (running in the wind and rain is no way appealing to me) and I am far from competitive. I loved the idea of Parkruns (if you like group running, these are fantastic for you – they run every Saturday morning around the globe and are totally free) but pushing myself against times and other people really switched me off. To me running is about tuning in to what’s going on in my head, how my body is reacting and going that little bit further.
I’d love to hear your running tips – drop them in the comments below!
All my love,
ps. products were sent to me as samples to review but I only recommend things which I adore and would buy myself