Running in Richmond – advice for beginners

8059970716_9035bf965b_oBased on the edge of London’s Richmond Park and as a partner of Sporting Feet, we’re used to treating plenty of runners and cyclists.

As a keen runner myself, I know how difficult it is motivating yourself to get out in the winter so the summer is the perfect time to either up the training or to dust off the trainers. It’s also much nicer than staring at the TV in the gym from the treadmill!

Richmond Park is a great place to run, but with some challenging hills and plenty of exposed pathways, it’s important to know your limits and how to prepare properly.

  1. Start slowly – if you’re getting back into running, recovering from an injury or trying running for the first time, it’s important to know your limits. Start off gradually and slowly build up the distance and pace. It’s easy to assume that unless you’re completely exhausted at the end then you haven’t been working hard enough, but it’s easy to pick up injuries this way. An increase of no more than 10% mileage per week has often been recommended as a guideline, but there are conflicting views on this. It’s a good rule of thumb, but if you start to feel pain or feel that increase is too much, you don’t need to stick rigidly to this.
  2. Don’t stretch when you’re cold – running gently is an excellent warm-up in itself and it also makes your muscles are warm and more pliable for stretching.
  3. Get the right kit – this doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on running gear, but having the right shoes can make all the difference. Speak to Sporting Feet or your local running shop to find the pair that suit you best. We’ve seen plenty of injuries and problems caused by running long distances in old, broken trainers and it’s a problem that’s easily avoided. Just to confuse the matter further, big “supportive” shoes can often cause problems themselves, so get assessed properly so that you have the right shoes for you.
  4. Pain isn’t a good thing! Treat pain like a warning alarm from your body that something needs sorting and the source of the pain isn’t always the only problem. If you have any pain then don’t try and ‘run through’ it, rest and speak to a professional.
  5. Watch the gravel – the Tamsin trail is a great running route but there are plenty of bumpy sections where you could easily roll your ankle. Every time you roll your ankle you are damaging your proprioceptors – muscles and ligaments that help with stabilisation, and damaging these puts you at greater risk of it happening again. If you’ve already rolled your ankle then some balance and resistance exercises can help restore these muscles and lower the risk of it happening again.


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