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Running is one of the most simple ways to get fit. You can do it anywhere, any time and you only need some comfortable clothes and a good pair of running shoes. You can run alone, with friends or join a running club.
There are lots of benefits of running. It can improve the health or your heart and lungs and may even increase bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Running regularly has also been shown to reduce depression and can boost your confidence and self-belief. If you join a group or club you can also enjoy the social side of running as well as learning tips and new routes in a safe and friendly atmosphere.
Taking up running for the first time, or after a break can seem scary and you may be wondering how or where to start. Well, that’s where we come in…
Explore this page to help if you’re not currently running, are just starting out or looking to better your current running activity levels.
For independent running, we’d recommend the support of the Couch to 5k running plan, whether you want to start running for the very first time or get fitter. It’s free, developed by the NHS and available on an app.
For those looking for a little more structure, and familiarity to their early running journey, the Manchester Regional Arena boasts the warmup track from the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and it continues to host international competition. What better place to get into athletics!? The facility run coached and organised sessions for children and adults from beginners and beyond. Check it out here.
Parkrun’s are 5k runs, held every Saturday at 9am in 5 parks across our city. They’re completely free, you just need to register with parkrun and print a barcode. You can run, walk or volunteer and they’re family friendly. There are also two junior parkrun’s, held on Saturday mornings which are 2k. Your child can run alone or you can join them. Find out more on their website.
Running can be a really sociable sport and most clubs have something to offer all levels of runner, whether you’re just starting out or looking to push yourself. You may even want to take on a race!
There are lots of clubs in Manchester to choose from, all offering something different.
See what’s best for you here. Or check out the links below:
Belle Vue Racers
Manchester YMCA Harriers
Manchester Road Runners
Blackley North Manchester AC
You might want to find a race to celebrate reaching the end of Couch to 5k, to raise money for charity or just have something to aim for.
There are many across the city, including Great Manchester Run and Manchester Marathon.
You can also search for upcoming races near you here
Disability Athletics for ages 12+ takes place at Manchester Regional Arena on Monday and Fridays.
Frame Running takes place on Wednesday evenings 5-6.30pm at the Regional Arena for people with neurological impairments, including Cerebral Palsy and MS.
Improves Your Cardio
Running works your cardiovascular system. Your heart rate increases as you run to pump more blood to your working muscles. As your cardiovascular efficiency improves, you are able to run faster with less effort.
Whether the pavement, trail, track or treadmill – all are a great way to diffuse stress and tension. Running can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, helping you feel more relaxed.
Running burns a lot of calories. In fact, running is one of the most efficient types of exercise when it comes to the number of calories burned per minute.
Running is a lot about goal setting and achieving things you didn’t think were possible. As such, running can help develop a sense of self-efficacy and boost your self-confidence.
Besides a good pair of running shoes, you need very little equipment to get started running. That said, having the right gear, especially to accommodate the Manchester climate, will keep you comfortable in different and unpredictable seasons.
Connect To Nature
Though treadmills are certainly viable training tools, if you choose to run outside, running gives you a chance to unplug from technology and screens and connect with nature. Whether you find a peaceful trail or a local park (link to park activity finder), getting outside while running is a sure way to soak up some vitamin D and fresh air.
There are thousands of running groups and running clubs all over the country (and world) that enable new and veteran runners alike to connect and enjoy miles together. And we’re no different here in Manchester (link to club finder?). You may meet a whole new group and develop relationships that last a lifetime.
Personal preference around navigation, styling and functionality will determine which App is best for you. So, we thought we’d share a feature on Runners World 16 favourite apps covering everything from tracking mileage to strength workouts, meditation and lots more besides.
The debate over running on a treadmill vs. outside is not a new one. Running outdoors can improve stability by forcing you to navigate ever-changing terrain. But a treadmill forces you to sustain speed and performance levels that might otherwise lag outdoors.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to the debate over treadmill vs. outside running. Both methods have their pros and cons based on your individual training needs and goals and both can have their place in your running routine.
If the outdoors is for you, then we have plenty of green space, parks, running clubs and tracks that can accommodate, and if you prefer a treadmill then any of the gyms and leisure centres across the city will be able to meet your needs, with a variety of membership types to suit your finances too.
Top 5 tips for training:
1. Follow a training plan. There are lots online for all abilities and following a plan will make sure you don’t do too much or too little.
2. Vary the terrain. You want to do most of your training on roads but running on grass or trails will keep things interesting and tend to be more forgiving. Search our Activity Finder for your local parks and green space.
3. Run with a friend or a group. Not only do runs with other people often feel easier but you may pick up some more top tips.
4. Cross-train. You don’t need to only run to get better at running. Other sports, including cycling and swimming will help – as will going to the gym. Search our Activity Finder for your local gym or leisure centre.
5. Use training to practice what you’re going to use on the day. That includes the shoes you plan to wear, what to have for breakfast and what you might eat or drink during the race.
Top 5 tips for on the day:
1. Make your plans before the day! What are you going to have for breakfast? How are you going to get to the start? Where are your family going to watch on the course?
2. Don’t try anything new on race day. Now isn’t the time to try out a new gel or breakfast cereal.
3. Try not to set off too fast. It’s so easy to get caught in the excitement but you might pay for it later.
4. Trust your training. You’ve done the hard work, trust that it will pay off.
5. Enjoy it! The race is the reward for all of your training!
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