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Get your running on track with Active Tameside expert Chelsea

Whether you’ve challenged yourself to a marathon running effort this year or you want to take up the sport to boost your fitness and wellbeing, it’s essential to get off on the right foot.

When it comes to training – whether it’s for the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Tour of Tameside, a charity run or your first steps into running – our resident expert Chelsea Mears-Graham has many miles of experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to getting it right.

Chelsea is a Live Active Officer for Active Tameside’s Live Active exercise referral team, so she’s well versed in creating fitness plans to suit all ages and abilities. She’s also a running aficionado with dozens of long distance races and challenges under her sweat band, including five half marathons, two 24-hour events, triathlons, 10ks and a massive 173 parkruns. Chelsea was also among the eight finalists in the WorldSkills UK Fitness Trainer competition 2017.

“I have helped and encouraged my friends and family to take up running over the years,” said Chelsea.

“These are my best tips and advice for those starting up.”

Chelsea’s Running Tip #1

“Don’t think you have to go out and run miles to start with. Just start with setting yourself a target on the treadmill in the gym of one mile. See how long it takes you, next time try to do it faster. Do this three or four times, then increase your distance and do the same for that distance.

“I encourage new runners to set targets on the treadmill before trying to run outside. This usually only takes a few weeks before they are out and about and breathing in the fresh air.

“Plan you route well and always go for a run with a friend for support and motivation.

“When starting out running, to avoid injury and enjoy the experience, it’s essential to ease yourself into running slowly and increase your pace and distance gradually over several sessions.

“Start each run or session with a gentle warm-up of at least 5-10 minutes. This can include quick walking, marching on the spot, knee lifts, side stepping and climbing stairs, with some mobility exercises  – hip circles, leg swings etc – and dynamic and static stretching.

“Start walking for an amount of time that feels comfortable. When you first start out, try alternating between running and walking during your sessions, this is fine.As time goes on, make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel the need to walk. Always allow a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and a doing few stretches.

“Regular running for beginners means getting a session in at least twice a week. Your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus. It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run six times one week and then do no running for the next three weeks. Your running and sessions need to be consistent.”

You’ve heard the phrase ‘all the gear no idea’? Well, Chelsea has some invaluable advice when it comes to choosing the right sportswear and running apps.

Chelsea’s Running Tip #2

Correct footwear – Running shops such as Run North West or Decathlon offer free gait analysis to make sure you have the correct type of running shoe to support your ankles and feet. Incorrect running shoes can lead to injury, so this is the most important advice I can offer.

Sports bras – For women, having a good fitting and well supported sports bra is essential. Incorrect fitting sports bras can lead to back problems and affect your running technique. I find Nike and Under Armour are the best out there.

Socks – Seems a minor piece of kit but it’s actually vital to get it right. Karrimorproduce some really good supportive socks that protect your feet from blistering and pressure spots.

Tech aids – I advise using a running app, such as Strava or Map my Route, to plan and track your runs.

As you can imagine there’s a long list of things to embrace and steer clear of when it comes to running.

Chelsea’s Dos:

  • Stretch muscles before and after you run to reduce muscle tightness and increase your range of motion.
  • Try and get to a yoga class once a week.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and time of day – be seen, be safe at night; if it’s dark, wear white or, better still, reflective clothing. If it’s cold, wear layers of clothing, gloves or mittens to retain heat. Sunblock, sunglasses, a cap and white clothing make sense on hot days.
  • Set a realistic target or goal, this will help with motivation.
  • Fuel your body correctly and drink water to rehydrate.
  • Run with a friend with similar abilities and goals like this can add motivation and increase the safety of your running.
  • Keep a training diary of the distance you have run and how long it took you, again this will aid motivation.
  • Plan you route so you have a target.

Chelsea’s Don’ts:

  • Don’t overdo it, stick to an achievable distance and pace for you.
  • Don’t run if you’re injured or feel unwell.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
  • Don’t run in worn-out shoes, or in shoes that are designed for other sports.

So, now inspired and fully up to speed with your training why not sign up to the Tour of Tameside, hosted by Sports Tours International and Active Tameside?

Taking place 13-16 June, it’s a four-day festival of running which takes in some of the most spectacular and toughest terrain Tameside has to offer.

Comprising of the X-Trail 10k, Hell on the Fell, the Dr Ron Hill Hyde 7 and the Hero Half Marathon – a race dedicated to P.C. Nicola Hughes who sadly lost her life in the line of duty in Tameside in 2012 – it’s a highlight in the UK race calendar and fosters fantastic camaraderie and community spirit.

Alongside the sense of achievement of taking part, you’ll also be helping fight childhood obesity through The Running Bee Foundation which will plough all Tour of Tameside profits into working with local communities to fund healthy and active lifestyle initiatives for young people.

Click here for more information and to sign up:

Coming soon – keep a look out for Chelsea’s training plans!

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