Every new sport comes with its own aches and pains, and pushing yourself harder into new territory in a sport you are familiar with can lead to discomfort that might put you off trying again.
Much of the pain you are experiencing comes from pushing yourself further than your comfort zone, resulting in shortness of breath, sore muscles, joint discomfort, cramps, and stitches. Learning to push through the normal physical and mental pains associated with learning to run, or learning to run further, allows you to build stamina and increase your capacity for running further, faster.
Here are some simple steps to get you through your running growing pains:
Preparation is key!
Eat a healthy meal and give yourself plenty of time to digest it so you get the best of the energy without giving yourself a stitch. Livestrong has some handy tips on what to eat when training for a 5k run. Click Here
Get the right gear.
If you're serious about getting into running or thinking about putting in some extra distance, see a specialist about getting a good pair of shoes fitted. Badly fitting footwear can cause discomfort. The wrong clothes can also become uncomfortable when you begin to increase your distances, chaffing on shoulder straps or at pinch points. Take a look at your outfit and make sure to avoid wearing anything that causes discomfort. Very Well Fit have some examples of what is a good investment for your running attire! Click Here
Run with a partner.
Running with someone more experienced than you is ideal as they'll help you keep your mind on your run and keep you on pace. Even if its someone new to running, positive encouragement can make all the difference; keep each other going.
Map out your route.
Know how far you want to go and set an endpoint so you have a goal to work towards. Have regular routes of set distances that are easy to increase. When you've done a route once, you know you can do it so pushing yourself to the end will get easier every time.
Monitoring the flow of your breath helps keep you aware of your pace – too easy and maybe you need to work a bit harder, or slow down if you are out of breath. Take long, slow breaths to fully empty your lungs of CO2 and circulate that oxygen to where it's needed. Being aware of your breathing can help you take your mind off heavy legs, help you breath through a stitch and help you feel energised and strong when you realise you are actually fine.
Set small goals as you go.
Get to the next bend, then the gate, then the slope and by the time you know it you'll be on the home stretch.
Take care of yourself post run.
Stretch and cool down those muscles, they deserve to be looked after! Rehydrate well. Eat well. Take time between workouts to recover, then go for another run.
Remind yourself that these aches and pains are your body changing for the better; you are pushing yourself, challenging yourself and improving yourself by going this extra mile. All of these tips will increase your positive experiences of exercising and help you stay motivated and energised for your next run.
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.” Steve Prefontaine