Just starting - should I be worrying about how I run, right away?

Hey everyone!

I'm new here... Please may I introduce myself. I am middle-aged guy with a wife and children, a desk job and a paunch ;) And the paunch needs to go!

However, when it comes to running I'm just starting out, I have never done pure running for fitness, always choosing cycling or rowing or other sports for some reason. However I am planning to change that this year :)

To run, I was always told to run upright, keep my head up, be tall, good leg movement, imagine elastic on my ankles attached to the back of my head, that sort of thing.

So today was W1R1.

Big anticipation, equal dollop of nervousness. I started well but was finding it really hard to run upright and with bounce. I soon felt myself slipping back into what felt more like a slouch/shuffle than a springy/run - probably due to being so out of shape.

I finished the session feeling great about achieving the run for sure! But I am a bit worried that I might be creating bad habits for myself and find it harder to break them later on?

So I wondered, does how I run matter from the start, or can sort that out later? I know "not to go off too quickly" is often spoken about but I am talking about "having good form" I guess?

Does anyone have any experience of this?

Thanks in advance!



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9 Replies

  • In my first runs, all I could think about was keeping going so I'm impressed that form has entered your mind. I've only been doing this for a few months but I've found concentrating on my form makes me tense up & hunch my shoulders. It may work for others but at this early stage, not for me. I find that letting my body just run has worked,I've been lucky enough not to get any injuries. Maybe as distance increases after 5K, form will be something for me to work on.

    Good luck & enjoy!

  • Well done for starting a great plan that works.

    Upright is good, shoulders down, chest open. Not too bouncy... good luck😊

  • If you are doing the Couch to 5k programme, as we all are, or did, then you get told what to do and when. It really is just a case of listening and following simple instructions. The good news is that the slower you go then the easier it is. The slumping occurs as you get more and more tired. That's why it's best to go slowly. The idea is to complete the session. Time and distance is irrelevant while you are doing the 9 week programme

    C25k is structured so that anyone can do it.

    Good luck. You get told what to do but not too much info at once. Just a steady drip feed of tips too over the course of the sessions

  • I really wouldn't worry too much about running form, at this stage.

    C25K is really just about getting out there and developing a little bit of leg strength and aerobic fitness, whilst staying injury free.

    Posture, stride length and cadence are issues which will come to the fore soon enough but for now I would suggest just do what feels natural and keep it nice and slow.

  • Run quietly!!!! Bad form usually means a noisy runner - if others can hear your footsteps , you are "stomping"

  • I don't know which presentation you are using - the app or the podcasts with Laura. Anyway, pretty soon she will tell you that a springy bouncy run is wasting energy (I was most deflated by that!) She will also tell you to hit the ground heel first. I suspect that those voicing the app don't say this as it seems to be the one bit of genuinely poor guidance in the programme.

    I suspect one size does not fit all, but being aware of tension might tell you what isn't helpful for you.

  • Welcome to the forum.

    Of course form is important and being aware is half the battle. Your description of good form is pretty accurate but don't worry if you can't maintain it all the time. One of the commonest failings I often see is the swinging of arms across the chest, rather than keeping them tucked in to the sides and pumping in the direction of travel. Women seem to be more prone to this...... physiology no doubt.

    Be aware of good form, but stay loose and relaxed.

  • Thanks everyone, some really good help for me in your replies! I will take it all on board and see how I go!

    And yes I am using the Laura podcasts, so I look forward to hearing her tips as I move through the program!

    Thanks again everyone, appreciate the help!

    PS. The day after W1R1 = Feel like I've been run over by a bus! .. errrm but in a good way?! ;)

  • Cycling and rowing will be good cross training for you on your non run days. If you move more generally, e.g. Walk as much as possible, combined with eating healthier, you should soon start to see a reduction in your paunch. Of course cutting down alcohol is key to that too 🙂

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