7 Common running questions answered!

2022-10-29 07:04:00

So, you’ve decided to take up running, and you probably have lots of questions about the sport! It's very common to wonder what you should eat before running or if walking can be incorporated into your running. Well not to worry, because we have answered some of the most common questions asked about running right here for you!

1. Am I allowed to walk?

Of course! Lots of runners add walking into their training and during their races. some runners who are just starting out sometimes feel that walking is like cheating or giving up but it absolutely is not! Incorporating running into your runs is actually a great strategy for improving your endurance and even regular runners use run/walking (How to Do the Run Walk Method (verywellfit.com)) as part of their strategy for longer distances.

2. How should I breathe when I’m running?

This is a really common question for runners just starting out! Try not to be overly conscious about this, as it is most definitely something that will develop with time.

However, when you’re beginning to try out running, it's useful to have a starting point. It Is beneficial to breathe through your nose and mouth as this allows maximal oxygen uptake to your muscles. When running, you should try taking in breaths from your diaphragm or stomach as opposed to your chest, as this creates a deeper breath and intake of efficient 2 uptakes.

You can try this throughout your runs, finding your own breathing rhythm, or take a look at these breathing techniques (How To Breathe Properly While Running (runtastic.com) to help you out.

3. What should I eat before running?

It's important to consume something before your runs to give you energy but you want to make sure it’s the right thing and consumed at the right time. You never want to run straight after eating as this can lead to stitches and discomfort during your runs.

Everybody is different, so only use this as a guide! On shorter runs, you may consider a light snack 30-90 minutes before you go for a run. This can include:

- A piece of fruit (e.g. banana)

- A handful of dried fruit/nuts

- An energy bar or an energy gel

- Peanut butter/Jam on toast (perfect for breakfast before a morning run!)

4. How do I know if I’m ready to run a race?

It can be exciting and daunting thinking about entering a race, but if you think you are ready to smash that racecourse then you should give it a go! But how do you know if you’re ready? This will depend on the distance you want to sign up for, however, a common first distance is a 5k event. If you have covered the 5k distance during your training and you feel fit and healthy when running, it may be time to sign up for a local event or try out your nearest park run!

If you’re looking at entering longer distances, ensure you have clocked in some consistent training and you are feeling fit and healthy. For half and full marathon distances, you should aim to have completed around 75% of the total race distance in one training session. Remember, that your running is a journey of discovery, so build things up and when you're feeling ready to try out a running event and have that something to aim for - go for it! We have plenty of events throughout the year - just check them out HERE.

5. Why do I get a side stitch?

No matter how well you prepare, you can still experience a stitch when running. Sometimes you can experience pain in your side when just starting out and there can be many reasons for this. It's important to give yourself time between eating and running as this can cause the discomfort of a stitch. You may not have warmed up properly or started out too fast and hard, which has not prepared your muscles causing cramping.

When experiencing pain, try focusing on your breathing with deep breaths. You may need to slow down or stop to ease the pain and relieve pain by pressing on the affected area. Ensure you have efficiently warmed up to get those muscles prepared and ready to work!

6. Will my running training get easier?

The simple answer is yes. However, the point at which is gets easier is different for everyone and takes a little bit of patience to build up your fitness levels. Don’t push yourself too far too quickly as you may end up injuring yourself or becoming bored very quickly. Give yourself time to build up to your goal. This may be being able to run continuously for 30 minutes, or running a 5k. whatever your goal is, be patient and don’t overdo it! You want to enjoy running, and it will be easier.

7. How do I choose the best running shoes?

There is not one shoe that suits all. When looking to buy your running shoes, you need to try on different sizes/brands/styles and find what suits you. A Nike running shoe may be perfect for your friend, but completely wrong for you and that’s ok! It's worth finding a store where you can try on different running shoes to find the best fit. Some stores offer a ‘gait analysis test’, carried out by a running professional, which will help you to find the shoe suited to your running style.

Stay safe and happy running