Fitness

How to run like a pro

Laura Henshaw, co-founder of kicgirls.com, reveals how you can become a runner.

By Laura Henshaw

Humans have been running for centuries. It's one of the oldest forms of exercise that doesn't require fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships.

It's also a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen your heart and improve your fitness. But be warned: it's very addictive and your body will love it!

For a few years now, running has been a big part of my lifestyle – and it's one of the best things I've done for myself. Running is my form of meditation and is one of my favourite ways to de-stress after a long day.

I love being able to track my progress and watch my fitness improve each week – it's an awesome feeling when I can push myself and run that extra kilometre.

Running helps you improve your fitness by increasing your lung capacity and strengthening your heart. It's also an awesome activity to help tone your legs and glutes.

If you're new to running and feel intimidated by it, don't – you should feel proud you're embracing a new sport. Remember, running is about starting slowly and building up the distance over time.

And don't stress if you don't always feel motivated. (Sometimes I struggle too.) I like to focus on how I feel afterwards and a yummy post-run snack to pep me up (my online health and wellness program KIC is packed with the best snacks).

If you want to fall in love with running, or simply up your game, here are my top tips to running like the wind:

1. Invest in a good pair of runners

Wearing the wrong shoes can not only hurt your feet, but can also injure your hip, knee and back. I recommend going to a specialist sports store for a fitting and advice. They have trained staff that know how to fit your feet correctly and can recommend styles based on your goals.

Once you have a good pair of runners, you'll actually want to put them on and run!

2. Download a good playlist

Music is a runner's best friend. An awesome playlist will get you fired up and will improve your mood and the quality of the run.

3. Add distance gradually

Don't try and run 5km one week and 10km the next – build up your distance and speed gradually. To start, set mini goals – like run for a whole Katy Perry song or run to the next set of traffic lights.

My training technique is to add 500m each week. Start at your own level (even it's one kilometre) and have patience with yourself and your body.

4. Run towards a goal

To help keep you motivated, set a goal to keep you on track – such as completing a fun run or even a half marathon.

The best way to reach your big goal is to break up the journey into smaller goals. For example: running without stopping, running a longer distance or tackling hills.

5. Mix in some interval training

This is a great way to improve your running endurance. Interval training is when you run as fast as you can for a short distance, walk it out, then sprint again. If you live near a park or sports oval, try sprinting the straight part of the oval and walk the curved parts up to five times.

6. Stretch!

Running is very physical and can be quite taxing on our bodies. To ensure you don't get injured, it's essential you stretch and cool down properly after every run.

Laura Henshaw is the co-founder of health and wellness program KIC (Keep It Cleaner)