5th June 2020

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6 Ways to Improve and Enjoy Running by Charlie Sandison

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Charlie Sandison is an avid runner. He started competitive running four years ago and has raced and trained around the world since, from the peaks of Chamonix to training camps in Spain. Charlie ran 2h:29 in the New York Marathon, making him the fastest marathon runner in Britain for his age. He runs for a number of reasons beyond just competing, namely to meet people, to give himself time to think and, most importantly, to allow himself to learn valuable life lessons.

In this new world we live in many people have taken up running. Maybe it’s to keep healthy, boost your mental wellbeing or heck, perhaps just to escape the company of your lockdown inmates. Whatever the motive, here are my tips to help you get out of the door and enjoy running.

1. Patience

When you started swimming, you wouldn’t have just jumped straight into the deep end and tried to swim 40 lengths, would you? Or in rugby or hockey, you wouldn’t pick out the biggest and most experienced player on the field for your first attempt at tackling. Well, the same goes for running. Don’t just step out the of the door and try to tick off a 30 minute run. That will only end one way… I would advise splitting your first session between running and walking: run for two minutes, then walk for four minutes. This will help your body become used to the consistent effort and help your form without rushing into it. Even when I am coming back from an injury, I use this method.

2. Not every run has to be a personal best

Chances are that you have downloaded a running app like Strava, giving you the immediate urge to be as fast as someone else on every run. But running is all about consistency and the best way to keep this consistency is to run easy. I see in too many cases of people running way harder than they should and subsequently, picking up an injury.  Get comfortable with running slowly and you will get faster over time. 80% of my training runs are a good 2 minutes per mile slower than my marathon pace.

3. Shoes

Compared to other sports, running is a pretty cheap, but it’s essential that you buy a good pair of running shoes. Think of it as an investment so that you don’t get injured and have to fork out a greater amount of money for a physio session. It’s worth trying them out and if they don’t feel right, be honest with yourself and retire them.

4. No Music

Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to a bit of James Blunt or a podcast on my runs but as soon as the music starts, you aren’t not fully tuning in to how your body feels, how you’re breathing and how you’re moving. This can come back to bite you later in the run and even contribute to picking up an injury. Unplug and become aware of your surroundings. When I want to listen to something, I’ll wait 15 minutes into my run before I press play, so that I’m fully aware of how my body is feeling and focused on my breathing.

5. Explore

Running can be boring and it’s easy to find yourself in a rut, especially if you’re running the same route day after day. Use your running to explore new places, whether it be new dirt paths or a road you’ve never been down. Enjoy discovering new routes and don’t get caught up on how fast you are going.

6. Habits

Finally, the more you do something the more habitual it becomes and the same goes for running. Find out what motivates you and soon you’ll be running most days. It will form part of your routine and you won’t even hesitate when stepping out the door.

I hope these tips will help you; that you’ll put your new shoes on, get out there and run safe and free. Of course some days will be tougher than others, but in the end, running should be fun. 

Running is mostly about being consistent and avoiding injury. I really believe its the purist athletic way to test yourself day in, day out.  Go running.  It’s another one of these Good Ideas!

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Charlie Sandison
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Charlie Sandison is an avid runner. He started competitive running four years ago and has raced and trained around the world since, from the peaks of Chamonix to training camps in Spain. Charlie ran 2h:29 in the New York Marathon which made him as the fastest marathon runner in Britain for his age. He runs for a number of reasons beyond just competing, to meet people, to have time to think and to learn life lessons.

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