Q&A: How to be a better runner
Just taken up running? Already a convert but want to go up a gear in 2021? KBPT asked running coach and marathon runner David Jones for his expert advice.
What are your three top tips for someone who is new to running?
How can more experienced runners challenge themselves in 2021?
In a normal year, I’d say enter a race, aim for a PB or increase your distance. This year, we don’t know if races will happen though.
If you’re training on your own or with one other person (as the current COVID-19 restrictions allow), I’d mix it up as much as possible – speed work, hill work, strength work etc. Varying your training helps to keep your interest levels up.
What are the main mistakes people make when they take up running?
People are often intimidated by the distance or times that others can run. Remember, they’ve probably been running for years and you’ve only just started!
Unfortunately, it’s very common for the enthusiasm to dwindle after a few weeks. Following a plan, aiming for a goal or training with others (if restrictions allow) can really help.
Can you recommend any running apps or websites?
The Runner's World website is a good place to start. I find that a smart watch (e.g. Garmin, Polar, Apple Watch) is really useful for tracking runs and your progress – you can also use it to track other activities, like cycling and swimming.
I’m also a big fan of the Strava App for logging and analysing runs, cycles and swims. Its basic features are free to use. And I hear that the Couch 5K App is good for beginners but it’s not something I’ve personally used.
What do you love most about running?
For me, it’s the obvious health benefits plus the sense of achievement when running races. Personally, I find an early morning run sets me up for the day. Also, it’s really easy to get started – you don’t need any expensive kit and you can usually do it anywhere.