If you're taking part in our BADRAT C25K program, tackling it alone or you are just eager to kickstart your path to a healthier lifestyle through running, then I'm hopeful this blog will help you with some important insights and tips ahead of your C25K 'adventure'.
Choose the right shoes: From experience, a key bit of advice I can give is that if you’re able, do invest in a good quality pair of ‘daily’ running shoes! Dusting off those 10-year-old, ‘well-knackered daps’ will more than likely lead to discomfort, pain, and potential injuries and is something you really want to avoid to allow yourself the best start, trust me 😉! You can visit a specialty running store to try on a number of different styles and brands, and should you find a pair you like, why not compare some online stores such as www.sportsshoes.com and www.startfitness.co.uk for some decent discounts compared to in-store prices, or if you're careful you can find 'like new' bargains through Vinted, Marketplace, and eBay? I will go into further detail on the subject of running shoe options in a future blog 😊.
Have the right running gear: Shoes aside, we recommend making sure you have suitable running clothes and accessories. For clothing, look for moisture wicking and breathable fabrics to try to keep you dry and cool throughout your run. The fit shouldn't be too tight or loose, you want to avoid anything that will cause discomfort, restrict your movements or cause rubbing/chafing. As we move into the cooler and darker evenings over the Autumn, considering layering your clothing to allow decent body temperature regulation and reflective details on either clothing or accessories to improve your visibility to others! Safety first peeps! 🤩
Warming up and cooling down: Before each run, we will spend a few minutes doing dynamic stretches to warm up our muscles to look to prevent injury. Then after our session, we tackle some static stretches to maintain our flexibility and help reduce post-run soreness. You’ll be in the group, so no need to worry if you’re unsure whether you’re doing it right 👍. We encourage you to continue the warm-up & cool-down stretching in each of your solo sessions.
Start slowly: A very important one! The whole point of C25k is to build your running endurance gradually. The C25K is short intervals of running and walking, then gradually increasing the running time while decreasing the walking time throughout the program. The running part of the plan doesn’t require sprinting and is definitely not focused on pace. So our advice is to just take it easy, be patient with yourself, and don't push yourself too hard or fast!
Don’t run on consecutive days: When you follow our C25K plan you will be running three times a week. The club-led session is held on a Monday, and typically you would then run on a Wednesday and Friday/Saturday, you should look to avoid running on consecutive days. When you’re ‘in the zone’ and your running is going well you can be tempted to skip a rest day to fit in an extra run, our recommendation is not to. Your rest days are a key part of the C25K training plan and are vital for your recovery.
Listen to your body: You should pay attention to how your body feels during and after your runs. It’s normal for you to experience some muscular or joint discomfort as your body adjusts to the new demands of running. But certainly don't ignore any type of sharp pain, persistent discomfort, or suffering from extreme fatigue, we would recommend you stop, rest and look to consult a doctor if necessary 🤕.
Monitor and share your progress: I personally found keeping track of my progress really motivating. I didn’t have a running/GPS watch when I completed my C25K, so I captured all of my efforts on my phone by downloading and using the Strava running app. You can then use Strava to record your session and share your progress on social media with your family and friends, who will never get bored of hearing about your running antics 😂. Or just celebrate with your new Strava ‘run buddies’ to earn that thoroughly well-deserved kudos 👏!
It’s worth remembering that your starting point will be different from others, and it's important to focus on your own approach to your own fitness level and needs. Should you have any underlying health concerns or are new to exercise, we would definitely recommend considering consulting a health professional before starting either our or any C25K program.
I hope you have found this blog useful and all that's left is for me to wish you all the best of luck! Whether you're running with us or out there smashing it solo, your running journey starts now, and the finish line is only the beginning of some of the awesome experiences, places, and people your graduation as a new runner will introduce you to 😎. Bjorn, Team BADRAT