Walk before you run!

Gold medal-winning athlete Kriss Akabusi tells us his top tips for getting you on the road to successful running

When we asked Kriss about running, he was very clear.  It’s all about finding ways to keep up the good work, stay motivated, enjoy the benefits and avoid running out of steam.  Finding ways to stay in the running is part of a recipe he has developed, which ultimately made him a winner.

It IS all about winning!

But not the racing kind; the win comes from successfully keeping up your new sport and discovering how it can improve your fitness, relieve stress, burn calories and make you feel happier.

You don’t need to worry about your pace, it’s better to alternate between running and walking for 30 minutes than to run as fast as you can for 5, before collapsing in an exhausted heap.

Get a programme

It’s much more difficult to motivate yourself to go running if you don’t have something to aim towards. “Have a powerful reason why!  Ask yourself; why do you want to start running?  What do I want to achieve?” Kriss tells us. Your goal can be anything you want it to be, from running a 5k or losing body fat to reducing your resting heart rate. Keep a record of your progress to keep you motivated towards your goal.

Speak to the gym team for a plan specifically tailored to you.

All about that bass

Create a playlist of energising music; research shows that listening to your favourite tunes whilst exercising will motivate you, improve your endurance and help you to maintain a consistent pace. Music, particularly with a strong bass and an upbeat tempo, makes you feel strong and confident and can also take your mind off fatigue.

There’s an app for that

Track your distance, pace, elevation and calories burned with your smartphone. Apps are great for recording your runs, measuring progress and keeping you from getting lost if you’re running outside!

See our top 8 fitness apps here

Mix it up

Cross-training is a great way to boost your fitness, keep your workout plan interesting and give your running legs a chance to recover.

Try swimming in our Spa Pool.

Furthermore, to reduce the risk of injury or alignment issues, it’s essential to strengthen your core muscles. These muscles will quickly fatigue when you run if they are untrained.

Try a TRX Blast Class or Core Conditioning Class

Run With a Buddy

Having someone to talk to about your training reinforces what you achieve, Kriss explains, It also keeps it interesting and makes you feel “accountable.”

When you first start running, you should run at conversational pace, so having a friend to chat to whist running will help you to maintain a steady level of effort.

You’ll probably train harder with a bit of friendly competition too. “For example it’s 6.30 am.  It’s dark.  It’s cold.  Do you want to go running?” At this point, without a buddy, it’s easy to back out.  If you have someone else making the effort, you’re more likely to put in the effort needed to get yourself going, for them.

Warm up, Warm down

Making sure you’re properly warmed up before you set off, will improve your performance and prepare your muscles for maximal power. To warm up, dynamic movements like side-to-side lunges and hip rotations are better than static stretches.

Running can lead to tightness in the body, foam rolling after a workout is the best way to release energy and tension in the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Look Ahead

Try giving yourself an exciting goal to work towards. Kriss suggests raising money for a cause you believe in, “give something back” by signing up for a charity run or even a half marathon. The Olympic champion told us he believes in visualising success.  Perhaps you could look forward to being able to run on the beach when you are on holiday! And his final words of wisdom? “Decide you’re going to enjoy it and find the fun in it!!”

For a plan specifically tailored to you, book in with one of our expert trainers, and remember you receive 6 1-1 sessions completely free of charge.