Let us introduce you to Jess Gerry. Jess is a Lab Local and a runner. She first laced up her running shoes two years ago with the hopes of finishing a marathon to raise funds for mental health (8 weeks prior to the big day might we add). She is now focusing on the half marathon distance and recently won the half marathon series (overall female). Jess talks through what she wishes she knew about running before she started.

  1. You do not need to run every day! I have found that cross training is everything. Some of the things that I have used to compliment my run training is yoga, body weight training and aqua-jogging which is all so good. It’s great for both improving my performance, and for injury prevention.
  2. Rotating your shoes is important. While it’s a big investment straight up to have more than one pair, I could not recommend it enough. It makes your shoes last longer, but also, it very slowly changes the way that you move which can change the load on your body. If you are new to running, you’ll be able to get away with one pair of shoes but if you are in a position to have a second, then it’s definitely worth it.
  3. When I started, I ran entirely on my own for the first two years. I wish I had been braver and gone to more run clubs and met more like-minded people. Since I’ve started running with others, I have found it great for motivation, learning, keeping things interesting and, of course, the banter. The banter was always key for me going back. I’m now a regular at the Sports Lab x Under Armour Run Club every Thursday at 6pm.
  4. I wish I had got my gait analysed sooner. The findings of this supported the idea that I needed to do more cross training, it was super interesting to actually see how I run, it made me more conscious of the things that I needed to work on.
  1. Do a variety of different run training. By adding speed work into my training that is where I really started to see improvements. It is never too soon to start, (or too late to start) and it can also keep things more interesting by changing up the typical slog of training.
  2. Listen to your body. I knew this, we all know this. But seriously. It is so important that we tune in and take notice. Eat properly, get good sleep and rest when you have niggles… it never pays off to ignore what your body is telling you. It is also key to have a team around you that can keep you accountable.
  3. Get a training programme, have structure and have someone to talk to. Discuss your nerves, your concerns and use them to guide you through the process. This can take a lot of the stress and anxiety out of getting ready for an event, no matter what the distance.
  4. Nutrition, its key! I have always eaten healthy, but it’s even more important now. Through my training, my energy demands have increased and therefore getting more energy throughout the day is super important.
  5. Gels – they are not just for the elites!! They both help fuel your run, but also mean you can recover so much faster.
  6. Understand what is happening to your body. Running is a stress on the body so making sure you look after yourself and help the body de-stress is essential when looking at the overall load of what you are doing. The whole balancing act of everything is something that I struggle with, so understanding this helped me manage it more. And this ultimately means I can go out there and have more fun!