Get running


It reduces that tummy, gets the heart beating, strengthens thigh bones, improves hearing and makes you brainy — these are some of the benefits of runnings. Here’s all that you needed to know about running.


Reduces that tummy: Regular running can increase your body’s capacity to use fat as a fuel by as much as 30 per cent.

Gets the heart beating: The heart of a runner working at around 70 per cent of their maximum aerobic capacity will beat around 9,000 times in an hour, pumping 25-30 litres of blood around the body each minute. A resting heart averages 5 litres per minute.

Strenghtens thigh bones: One study found bone density in the thigh bone (femur) was 5 per cent higher in runners than in non-runners, and 8 per cent higher than in completely sedentary people.

Improves hearing: Research from Miami University shows that aerobic fitness is associated with better hearing, probably due to enhanced blood flow to the middle ear.

Makes you brainy: A study from Nihon Fukushi University in Japan revealed that young people scored consistently better on mental tests after taking up running.

What the expert says

Paula Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the women’s marathon

Run your own way: Unless you keep on getting injured, don’t worry if your running style isn’t textbook perfect. The most important thing is to be relaxed.

Step out of the comfort zone: Vary the pace of your runs. If you always run at a pace that is within your comfort zone, you’ll never improve. When you want to speed up, don’t increase your stride length. Instead, increase the cadence (the frequency of your steps).

Keep moving the goalposts: Every New Year... I set some realistic goals and some ‘dream’ goals — because if you don’t stretch yourself, you will never know what you are capable of achieving.

Use your head: When you are doing a long run or race, break the distance down in your mind. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh God, I’ve got 11km to go...’ stay focused on the here and now. I know that if I count to 100 three times, that equals one mile.

Stay hydrated: Don’t just think about drinking when you are out there running, but also before and after. If you are out for less than 30-40 minutes you can get away without taking water with you, but on longer runs it’s essential to take fluid. Hide a bottle in the bushes en route if you can, and do loops so you pass it regularly.

Go soft: Try to run on grass or softer surfaces wherever possible. Not only does this

put less strain on your body, protecting your joints, but also allows your body to recover more quickly.

The first step

Find some training buddies: For support, advice, safety and motivation. You can find your own local club. Women might like to join a women’s running club, which are often very beginner-friendly and supportive.

Get checked out: If you suffer from any niggling aches and pains, or have been riddled with injuries in the past, visit a physiotherapist or osteopath for a check-up and ‘gait analysis’ of your running style before you embark on a serious schedule.

Read all about it: Specialist running magazines give details on everything from mental tactics to training sessions, injury prevention workouts and kit reviews, sports injuries and clinics, and races. The internet is also a useful source — two of the best sites to check out are Runner’s World ( and Realbuzz (

The gear

Without a doubt, the most important purchase a runner can make is a good pair of running shoes. But one person’s perfect is another person’s blister-forming disaster, so do take advice from a specialist retailer.

You’ll need decent socks — without bulky seams that chafe, and with support in the areas of greatest contact For women only, a sports bra. Every woman needs support.

The simplest solution to hydration on the run is to carry a bottle.

The downside

High injury potential: Some surveys suggest six to seven out of every 10 runners sustain an injury bad enough to stop them in their tracks every year.

Jogger’s nipple: Vaseline is the runner’s best friend. Slather it on any body parts that are likely to rub or chafe. Men should not neglect the tender nipple area.

Black toenails and blisters: Running isn’t going to help you have pretty feet — treat yourself to regular chiropody appointments.

Jim Fixx: The US running guru died of a heart attack while running at the age of just 52, and a study published in the New England Journal Of Medicine reported that the risk of heart attack during exercise is five times greater than during rest in regularly active men. However, the overall risk of heart attack, at any time, is 40 per cent lower in habitually active men.