women

Over-use injuries

The majority of running injuries are caused by over-use. When we exercise, our body is subjected to stresses, and as we rest and recover our body heals, becoming stronger and fitter. To avoid injuries, schedule in at least one rest day a week and include cross-training in your repertoire, such as cycling and swimming. This will help to stretch certain muscles and strengthen others. While taking the pressure off the muscles used over and over again when running.

Description: Over-use injuries

Partner up

Running with a buddy has a whole host of benefits. You won't want to let them down, so you’re less likely to skip a session. According to stats, 55 per cent of long-term couples would also rather go to the gym together than the cinema, meaning you can stay fit while building a happy, fit relationship. Try it.

Quadriceps

These are the muscle at the front of the thighs, used to power your runs. Keep them supple and injury-free by stretching them after each run. To do this, stand up straight, bend your right leg and pull your foot up towards your bottom. Keep your knees together and your hips pointing forwards. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds on each leg.

Race for life

Description: Race for life

These short 5K races are perfect if you’d like to raise money for a cause and start running too. The cancer-fundraising event holds over 235 races throughout the UK and welcomes women of all fitness levels to enter. Visit raceforlife.org to find one near you.

Stretching

If you stretch before a workout, stop! Research in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that pre-workout static stretching (holding a stretch for a long time) reduced muscular strength and explosive performance. Warm up the muscles by gradually moving through a wide range of motion.

Trail running

Description: Trail running

If you train on the road, why not go off the beaten track? Not only are trails better for your joints because the surface absorbs more shock, but they will also help to strengthen your legs.

Unstructured

Now and again, it’s good to have a workout that surprises your body, and Farlek training does just this. Fartlek means ‘speed play’ in Swedish and is running in an unstructured format, alternating between walking, jogging, running and sprinting – you vary the effort as you wish. For example, when out running, add a fast sprint to the end of the road, when walk or jog to recover before sprinting again. It’s an excellent way of adding a new way of training to a monotonous routine.

Very cute kit

We think swoon-worthy kit can motivate you to pull those trainers on and head outside. On our lust list is Stella McCartney’s new running collection for Adidas (shop.adidas.co.uk) and Moving Comfort’s (moving comfort.co.uk) summer clothing. Think brights and modern monochromes, which can be worn on and off the track.

Wild training

Description: Wild training

Enjoy stunning views as you train in meadows and on the mountains at the new Wild Training Fitness Retreat (basecampexplorere.com) in the French Pyrenees. You train in a group with like-minded people, and the week-long course puts you through an array of stimulating cardio-related activities guaranteed to improve your running efficiency and speed.

Xtreme races

If you’re on your umpteenth marathon and seeking your next challenge, try an ultra marathon. The name says it all, as you run anything further than the 26.2-mile marathon course. The training usually consists of long steady runs that are not about speed, or even distance, but time on your feet. Ouch! Visit ultramarathn.org.uk to find races in your area.

Yoga

Description: Yoga

Yoga may be the last thing to add to your running programme, but perhaps it’s time to rethink this. A study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research found that practicing yogic breathing can help athletes work ar a higher intensity at the same rate to those who don’t practice. Yoga also helps improve your posture and balance, which are crucial for running.

ZZZZZ

Sleep is one of the most important elements of a running routine, as it’s crucial for recovery and repair. Studies show that when sleep is restricted, less human growth hormone is released by the body, which can hinder recovery. This also increases the stress hormone cortisol, which causes fat storage around the stomach and interferes with the repair of soft muscle tissue. Get at least seven to eight hours a night.

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