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Thanks to Torzi Robinson for writing this post 03/02/21

Why Build Running into your Fitness Routine?

With the general closure of gyms over the past year shifting many of our training schedules, you may have noticed a large increase in those choosing running as their form of exercise recently, or maybe you have got involved as well! 

As someone who has being running since I could walk, I have always loved it as a form of fitness, but also as my sport, being a competitive athlete from the age of 11 to 16. However, for many people running appear as a fairly intimidating sport to get into. I want to share with you the numerous benefits that running can bring into our lives (backed by science), as well as the importance of building running into our lives sustainably, tips for injury prevention, and more! Hopefully this will inspire you to join our virtual Bound Run Club (we are hoping to begin in person sessions on Sunday’s as soon as it is safe to do so)! 

Running provides us with a vast range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits, making it an amazing form of movement to bring into our lives. 

Mental and Emotional Benefits:

At Bound our philosophy is all about sweating towards a stronger mentality and promoting the mental health benefits that exercise brings us. Running is an incredible mood booster and offers us significant benefits to our mentality. 

More specifically… 

  • Running is a proven anti-depressant and mood lifter, triggering a chemical response that makes us happier, more focused, and productive. 
  • Running helps us cope with daily stresses and challenges – just taking 20 minutes to jog outside will allow us to still our minds and feel more relaxed. 
  • Running can also help those who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. 
  • Running has the power to boost our confidence and our body image self-esteem. 
  • Running produces a calmer state of mind, allowing us to deal with existing mental tension, and cope with challenges. 

Physical Benefits:

I am a true believer that when we feel better physically, we can live more positive lives. Running is a fantastic form of cardiovascular fitness that can strengthen our muscles and joints and increase our overall fitness.  

More specifically

  • Running regulates our blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity.  
  • Running advances our sleeping ability, improving both length and quality of sleep. 
  • Running is an amazing energy booster, reducing symptoms of fatigue. 
  • Running promotes a healthier circulatory and respiratory system, keeping our heart and lungs healthy. 
  • Running helps us build our bone density and strengthen our muscles.


How do I get started?

It is really important if you are new to running to take your time building it into your routine. That is why I am a massive advocate of walk-running for anyone starting out or coming back from a period of injury. If we get stuck in the mentality that we have to be able to run 5km non-stop straight away, we may well put ourselves off running altogether. The best way to build running into your life sustainably is to start slowly with manageable goals and build on this week upon week. Make sure to not increase your time or distance by more than 10% weekly, as this will increase your risk of injury. 

Training resources for walk-running will increase your fitness on a weekly basis to the point where you can run a 5km comfortably, and then have the confidence to build your own journey from there! An amazing resource is the ‘Couch to 5km’ plans which you can also download as an application. 

Couch to 5km begins with your 30 minutes sessions with walking as the majority of your movement with intervals of running. As the weeks go on, the length of walking will decrease and the length of running will in turn increase. This is a great sustainable way to build running into your life, avoid injury and enjoy the process of progression by achieving manageable goals along the way! 

Tips for Injury Prevention:

I have picked up many injuries in my running career, so I have learnt a lot along the way about injury prevention. 

  1. Listen to your body: It is great to challenge ourselves as we run, but it is also very important to not run through pain that alters your form or becomes worse as you run. You always have the option to substitute light walking if you need or another form of cross training. 
  2. Utilise strength training to balance your body: By doing strength and conditioning alongside your running sessions that strengthens the core, glutes and hips, you will prevent overload injury (check out Bounds Strength Classes). 
  3. Get a good pair of shoes: Running trainers can be fairly expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment to look after our feet and our body. I personally love HOKA ONE ONE as a brand, but it is great to research and find a shoe that works for you. 
  4. Take time for recovery and stretch out those muscles: As running is an impactful sport, it is important to counteract this with lengthening and restoring our muscles. I may be biased, but yoga is an incredible way to regain length in the body – join me at Bound Breathe on Friday’s at 7pm for a restorative practice! Additionally, foam rolling is an amazing way to heal our muscles. 
  5. Keep variation in your fitness routine: It is great to keep a variety of fitness activities in your weekly routine to reduce injury, so if we are running a few times a week it is great to balance this out with strength sessions, cycling, walking – anything that makes you feel great! 
  6. Know your limits: As I mentioned briefly above, build your weekly training mileage by no more than 10 percent per week. If you run 10km the first week, do just 11km the second week, 12km the third week, and so on. Be the tortoise – not the hare! 

Run with us!

Now is the perfect time to join us at Bound Run Club. Due to lockdown, we have started Run Club virtually on Strava (which I have recently discovered and LOVE so 100% get involved)! Click on this link to join us.

We kicked off with our #MyEverest challenge in partnership with Kendal Mint Co. The challenge is to run or walk 40km over the next 4 weeks together – you can still get involved (finishes February 14th). There’ll be more events and challenges added, we’d love to see you there.

SOURCES: 

Anti-depressant study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702700/

Couch to 5km application: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/one-you-couch-to-5k/id1082307672

Some great additional running resources: 

Runners World – https://www.runnersworld.com

Book – Science of Running. 

Book – Born to Run. 

Book – The Plant-Based Runner (calling all vegans!)

Podcast – RunPod. 

Podcast – Feel Better, Live More. 


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