Say what? A mind-muscle connection? Move the damn weight! Yeah, kind of. But, if you really want to improve, let's take a look at this, as lots of people miss out this important aspect in the gym.
In a year where athletes across the globe leave no stone un-turned in a venture to find the best performance within themselves, the one per centers mean a lot. Strength and conditioning, mobility, sports psychology, exercise physiology, physical health, planning, tactics and nutrition all become vital considerations in an overall training plan.
As an elite lightweight rower (standing 171cm tall and competing at 57 kg) it was a daily challenge to maintain the balance in my diet. Training 6 days a week for 2-4 hours a day, trying to build endurance, strength and lean muscle mass; at the same time hitting the low body-fat required to meet competition weight targets sometimes seemed incompatible.
7 tips to start running in 2017
I am glad that you have made the decision to get into running! Here are some tips to support you in this new adventure.
1) Give yourself time
Many of us can run to catch the bus without thinking about it too much. When it comes to taking up running as a hobby, my number one tip is to give yourself time. Give yourself time to increase your distance and your speed. You do not have to run a marathon or try to keep up with Usain Bolt tomorrow.
2) Don’t be afraid to walk
Walking during one of your running session does not mean that you have failed. Subscribe to my mailing list to receive my couch to 5K running programme. You’ll see that the first few weeks alternate running with power walking. In the later stages when you can run continuously, I would still encourage you to take a short walking break to drink / fuel if you fell the need to.
3) Sign up for a parkrun or a race
Having a clear goal in mind is always helpful. Why not sign up to your local parkrun (free 5K run that occurs in many parks every Saturday at 9am) or encourage your friends to sign up to a race with you. The more the merrier.
4) Dress up for the job
Nowadays, running gear is readily available on the high street and you do not have to spend a fortune to get quality equipment. I would make a technical t-shirt a priority in your new runner’s wardrobe. These t-shirts are more breathable. With the current cold weather, you want to have different layers of breathable material otherwise you might not get rid of the sweat effectively and get a cold. For women, get a good running bra!!!!! This will definitely make all the difference.
Shoe wise, you would ideally need a gait analysis and trainers tailored for you. Don’t let this put you off. Start with some sports shoes and not Converse to begin with.
5) Stay safe
I fell during a long run of my half-marathon training. That is when I realised that I was a bit young and stupid as nobody knew where I was, I did not have my oyster card, tissue, keys, money or anything on me, and it was not a busy area. SO my advises would be to let somebody know where you are going, be careful if you listen to music as you might not hear cars coming, nights come early so check my top tips for running in the dark and maybe have your oyster card on you or some money so you can take public transport if you cannot run anymore.
6) Keep track of your progress
It is very motivating to look a couple of weeks back and realise that your runs are getting faster and longer. My favourite tracking app is Strava but I would also recommend the Nike+ app and MapMyRun. If your friends use these apps too, you can then encourage your friends.
7) Pump your arms
When you start to be fatigued, you are likely to hunch your back and not breath properly, making running even harder. As mentioned above, don’t be scared of taking a little walking break and when you start running again, pump your arms! Trust me, when the arms are pumping, the legs are following.
About the Author: Laureen "Peachy Lau" Jacquet is a 4th year Medical student with a PHD in stem cell research, a runner, and a writer. Get more healthy info & running insights from her on her website here and follow her training plan ahead of the Manchester Marathon.