Running has become popular during this time for all the obvious reasons: it is free, you can do it nearly anywhere, the kit is minimal and the government even sanctioned it as a suitable form of outdoor exercise during lockdown. Nancy Dowling of the Crediton Running Network explains why she loves running and shares her tips for those new to the sport.
Runners who found themselves with time flexibility will have rejoiced...I know I did because I can now run any time I want thanks mainly to the lack of traffic in the early days of lockdown. Now it is more challenging, alas. But for quite a few weeks it was just wonderful. The birds were to be heard and the emerging spring was lovely to observe. We have the care of our son’s dog and she is in great need of exercise, so we both have benefited greatly form this opportunity. We are not alone! I see lots of runners out and about and I hear from my fellow running club members about their runs.
The Crediton Running Network
Indeed, the Crediton Running Network, of which I am a founder member, has instigated a Strava group (that’s a social fitness online network used by runners and cyclists and which tracks your runs using GPS) where people run on a Monday or a Wednesday evening, which is when our club runs used to be. They then share their runs with other club members. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with other runners and to get ideas for routes.
For me, running has been my salvation from stress for many years. I joined the Women’s Running Network in about 2003 and did my first half marathon in my 50s. That organisation folded in 2011 and the Crediton Running Network was formed for both men and women. The great thing about us is that we are very inclusive, having short and long, slow and fast runs to suit all. We also do “sessions” which are designed to increase fitness through interval running, hills and speed for instance. There is, or was (!) a social side to the club as well.
In addition we offer regular beginners’ courses led by qualified running leaders and coaches. These courses are popular and many people have gone on to become serious runners.
Once the restrictions have been lifted you can think about joining CRN. Check us out on our website.
Tips for new runners
If you are thinking of taking up running now, with good weather, the leisure centre closed and social distancing still important, here are a few tips:
• Depending on your level of fitness, in general, start slowly! And build up gradually.
• Look at some online tutorials for guidance....there is plenty of good information out there.
• Don’t run every day and be sure to have a day of rest.
• Warm up before you start and stretch afterwards.
• Try to sort out a decent pair of shoes and, if you are a woman, get a running bra.
• Carry a phone, some ID and water if the weather is hot.
• Wear something hi viz and avoid busy times if possible. Some Drivers are more thoughtful than others.
• If you like listening to music, please don't plug both of your ears; keep one open to hear traffic.