Learn to run tall and relax, and you’ll become a better runner

Creating space in the upper body makes breathing easier when on the run

Focus on the progress you are making rather than compare your running with a friend’s progress

As we launch into Week 3 of our Get Running programme, it’s important to accept that you won’t all be jumping out of bed enthusiastic for your run just yet.

Although the body is adapting gradually and building strength, it is completely normally to struggle to get out the door. However, once you do make the big step outside, you will be able to settle into your optimal running pace a little easier than the very early days.

Running by numbers

All eyes are on the clock for those following the Beginners Get Running programme. By the end of this week, we will be running for eight minutes non-stop. As daunting as that may sound, don't get overwhelmed by what's ahead. Focus only on the day you are in. Take the training sessions one at a time. It's important to believe in yourself. This programme is designed to build your running minutes and confidence gradually and you will be able to do it as long as you pace yourself sensibly.

Running confidence

In this week’s beginners video I remind you that running at this level is not a competitive sport. Everyone has different starting points, and no two people have the same background starting out. Focus on the progress you are making rather than compare your running with a friend’s progress. Regardless of how good you are, there will always be someone who is stronger, quicker and more comfortable in running shoes. Don’t put a damper on your own achievements by comparing with another.


Aches and pains

It’s only normal that you may feel a few little aches when you start out running. Most of the beginners’ aches and pains disappear over the first few weeks as the body settles into the new routine. Notice how your body is feeling when running and be sure not to run through pain. Take a walk break, relax the body and try again. Be conscious of your warm-up and your pace. They are the primary cause of discomfort when starting out. Be sure you do your cooldown stretches too. Treat yourself to a nice hot bath to help loosen the muscles in the evening. Running technique will really help ease these initial niggles too but let’s leave that one until next week. You have enough to work on this week.

Injury prevention

In the coming weeks the beginners will focus on Chi Running technique tips for effortless running. However, this week our our 5k and 10k runners get a head start and practice the most important element of running technique. It’s time to learn how to run tall and relaxed. This week’s training video explains the how best to position your body for efficient running. So many of us are slouched over both when running and walking. Even when sitting down we tend to be lazy in our upper body. Consider your posture as you read this piece. It’s important to remember to lengthen your spine and use our skeleton and associated muscles to support the body. Creating space in our upper body will also expand our lung capacity making our breathing easier when on the run. Practice this week when sitting and walking and it will become more natural when running.

Final reminder

Did you heed my advice last week and put pen to paper? I hope you kept track of your progress in your training diary. If you leave it another week you won't remember the early days. Take a few minutes out today to make sure your diary is up to date. A training log will continue to inspire you long into the future. Good luck for the week ahead and Ill be back next week with more tips to keep you on track as we move into February.

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!) and Get Healthy for 2018. 
First, pick the programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
- Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
- 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!