A great friend of mine, who I met on ‘Enlightened Warrior Training Camp’, is fanatical about her running. Her business specialises in teaching physiotherapists how to get their clients to run better. So I wanted to interview the wonderful Nadine Horn to ask her professional opinion on how to get into running in retirement. After all, it is a sport that often causes a lot of people pain, but is a sport that offers so many benefits, without any huge cost.
In our interview I asked her, “If the only thing you could leave your children was a clear set of instructions on how to best get into running, what would you say?” Here is her response.
“That is a tough question, but I suppose there are 7 key instructions that I would want to leave them to empower them to really embrace their running. These would be:
First, you need to understand ‘why’ it is important to you. Of course, the human body is like a dog that needs to be taken out for a walk. You wouldn’t leave your dog at home doing nothing, so why would you treat yourself that way? Think about how it will benefit you to oil your joints and to get rid of toxins.
Ask yourself, “What would a perfect day for running look like?” Apart from making us fitter and healthier, every time we go out for a run, it is a part of our life. Where and when can you run to make it exciting and enjoyable? What beautiful places do you live near you want to visit more? Write down three things that would excite you about going for a run: Maybe being picked up by a good friend in the morning as the sun rises, enjoying the smell of the fresh morning air, and heading off to explore different parts of your city or countryside, maybe finishing it off with a chat at the coffee shop.
Start small. Take baby steps rather than trying to run a half marathon in your first week. Start with 10-min runs and increase the time slowly, at a pace that you are comfortable with. Remember, if you can still just manage to hold a conversation as you run, you are going at a good speed.
What gets measured gets done! Notice what’s happening inside of your body, both during the run, after the run, and over time. Support the journey your body has instead of allowing the mind to push too hard, which can cause injury. This is the bit I am not very good at! Record your runs using an app like ’Runkeeper’ or ‘Moves’ so that you can see yourself getting better. Weigh yourself so you can see yourself getting healthier. You can even photograph yourself so that you can see the improvements.
Build an awesome team. Run with people whose company you enjoy (check out the TRIBEathlon website and download the app to build a tribe of local running enthusiasts).
Find ways to improve your running technique and understand your body, particularly your feet. Make sure you have the right shoes by doing the wet foot test. You can read more about this at www.runnersworld.co.uk. Get educated by people who are committed and accomplished runners, rather than from physiotherapists who don’t run themselves.
Set yourself a personal challenge, (like I, Charlie, did with my ‘Century Cycle Challenge’ when I started cycling) to keep up your momentum. You’ll see increased motivation to keep going out in the early days. Select something achievable that also pushes your limits.
Remember to stay curious and allow yourself to make changes. Ask for help, and stop in the middle of the run if something is not right.
If you build these principals into your running life, you will learn to love it and find that once you know how to get into running in retirement you will be hooked!”