Like any sport, running requires learning and practising the basic techniques to master the sport.
With expert advice from Nick Bester, former Comrades Marathon winner and a prodigious multidiscipline athlete, getting started couldn’t be easier.
Bester gives first-time runners and amateur runners tips and advice on how to get going and to keep momentum.
Where to start
The best way to get started is to introduce a lot of walking into your training sessions to condition your body and avoid injuries.
I suggest increasing your mileage by 10% each week and incorporating speed sessions only after three months of conditioning training to improve your pace.
Suitable running gear
First-time runners always ask the question ‘What should I wear when I run?’
The great news is that you don’t need fancy running gear or expensive clothing to be a successful runner.
Bester believes that being comfortable is key.
On a warm day, all you need is a vest, crop-top or t-shirt and shorts or tights.
The most important element of your kit is your running shoes.
Invest in good-quality running shoes. Go to a running speciality store where experts can evaluate your feet and running style and recommend the right shoes for you.
Create a suitable training programme
It is important to set goals, whether it be distance or pace, and to train progressively to meet those goals.
The condition of your body, weight and fitness levels plays a major role in being able to meet your goals.
It is best to do base training for about two to three months, doing a maximum of two speed sessions a week, but prioritising hill training before speed.
For first-time runners, speed can be harsh on your ligaments and muscles, and should not be done excessively.
Bester advises that some cross-training helps to burn fat, which can help accommodate your body when it’s time to do distance running.
Nedbank Running Club has a wide range of training programmes for first-time runners.
There is a 5km training programme, which Bester has designed by Nick Bester, including cross-training guidance.
Health and nutrition
Your body is like a car and needs the right fuel to perform.
He advises that a balanced diet is very important for any runner. Three food groups are key to running, protein to rebuild the muscles, fats as a source for distance and carbohydrates as an energy source for speed.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables is vital and can help with weight loss, which will help with your overall running performance.
For those that are training hard, supplements can help you if a medical health practitioner approves them.
Most importantly, hydration with water is key and one should drink between two to three litres of water every day.
Take the next step and join the movement.
With 13 locations around South Africa, the Nedbank Running Club is more than just a club.
It’s a community of runners at all levels of athletic ability and you can access the platform digitally via a free virtual series, enabling anyone to join a competitive and fun running community.