#QuestionsWithKim Series 1: Running
We’ve teamed up with our Ambassador and Fitness Expert Kim Ingleby who will be answering all your health and fitness related questions in a series of posts on our Shock Absorber blog!
We’re very excited to have Kim on board this summer and would like to thank you all for sending in your burning ‘Running’ questions for our very first #QuestionsWithKim.
Q: What warm up exercises do you recommend?
A: The best way to warm up for your run is to gradually increase your pace from a walk run, to a comfortable pace over a 10-15minute period (ideally on a fairly flat route to start), depending on the goal of the session. As you do this, think about your focus and mindset for the run, switch your core on and think about good running technique, so relaxed shoulders, breathing, gluteals engaged. If you are unsure, pop to a local running shop for a gait analysis and some tips. In terms of mobility, carrying out running drills like high knees, heel flicks, bounds, strides, fast feet and arms can help to focus the mind and wake up the body, especially if you are running a speed or interval session. For stretching pre workout, it really varies, some people benefit from carrying out stretches & isolated strength exercises on specific tight areas to wake up that area, others find this affects the flow of their run. There is evidence to support both (so I would choose what feels right for you), yet stretching and foam rolling after a run is definitely key to maintain good muscle care, and reduce the risk of injuries.
Q: What kind of breathing techniques would you recommend whilst running?
A: Breathing when running is so important, yet funny how many of us get really tense and tight when running. This causes us to breathe very shallowly, then making us feel more tired. The trick when you start warming up is to take a few deep breathes in through your nose, and out through your mouth, deeply from your belly area. Really breathe in what you want to feel, relax your shoulders an breathe out any tension or stress. Concentrate on lengthening your spine, engaging your lower core (So below the belly button area, switching those muscles one) yet keep your shoulders relaxed whilst you increase your pace. Then throughout the run, check in every 20mins or so and do around 6 deep breathes. This can be tied in with your interval; hills, speed or a longer run, just having the awareness makes a big difference. When the effort becomes harder, some people change to mouth breathing completely, this is fine. Just remember, to breath as deeply as you can, and relax your shoulders. Any form of Pilates, Yoga or Alexander Technique will help to improve your breathing awareness and control (and your core strength), which will help your running too. Often a good goal in your ‘off season’ or recovery time.
Q: Best way to get energy before a run?
A: It varies from person to person what works best for energy before a run, yet here are a few ideas. If you keep an energy journal for a month you can probably work out patterns of what works best for you, and if you need to adapt things during busy times, or during your period week.
If you are running first thing in the morning, make sure you eat a good meal the night before, something like chicken, wild rice & greens is a good energy boost. And a good night’s sleep is key to boosting your energy, if you struggle with this lavender on your pillow and magnesium (check if okay with any conditions) can help. Sometimes a small glucose snack, like a little banana, handful of berries or nakd bar can help, or run without, whatever works best, just make sure you have a good breakfast after.
If you are running at lunchtime or later in the day, it’s key to make sure you have good lunch and an afternoon mini snack to give you the energy. Mixing up good proteins, loads of multi-coloured veggies, seeds, and some complex carbs will help; it really depends on what foods suit you and what your goals are too. To boost your energy make sure you have enough water, little and often throughout the day. And if you are tired or dehydrated pop an electrolyte in your water, or add a little lemon, lime and ginger for an extra zing! Pre run some people like a little shot of matcha tea, green tea or coffee, this depends how sensitive your digestion is, but can be effective.
Q: When you get a stitch, is it better to keep running or slow down?
A: Stitches can be really annoying! There are a few reasons people think they happen, from eating or hydrating too much, too close to your run, to starting your run too fast to running with your shoulders tight, therefore restricting your breathing. Generally, gradually increasing your running pace helps, taking little sips of water over big gulps, breathing deeply and staying relaxed. If you are running hard, slightly easing off your pace and breathing into the stitch area to relax your body will help, and then breathing out and tightness. Some runners suggest pressing into the area can help, but not too hard. If the stitch doesn’t ease by running slower, and correcting posture and breathing, walking for a couple of minutes, stretching your arms up and breathing deeply can really help. If it continues, having your running gait checked, and even visiting an osteopath to check the movement in your ribcage are could help.
Q: What’s a good pace to have for a 20-year-old beginner runner?
A: There isn’t really a ‘good pace’ for a beginner runner, other than well done for starting running. Everyone’s pace varies depending on their goals, background in fitness, strength and enjoyment. I think buying a gps monitor can be useful to track your pace, and allow you to improve it would like too. Yet making sure you still so some runs without a watch so you enjoy running ‘free’ and listen to your body. Another great thing is a local Park Run, which is a free, super supportive event. You could sign up to one, once a month and see how you improve. Or for fun, travel and find different ones to try. To improve your pace, joining a local running club can help, and many running shops and boutiques have free running groups too. This helps with motivation, support and advice. Finally, remember to take enough time to stretch, recover and refuel as a beginner. This is part of training and will help you run faster in time. Happy running!
For more tips from Kim, stay tuned to our social channels for live updates. Let us know your questions on Facebook and you’ll be in with a chance to win a Shock Absorber sports bra of your choice!