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Find your running rhythm

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There are those that are natural athletes. Yes, it’s true. They exist. The rest of us? We’re doing our best.

Because of its low start-up costs, running is the first port of call for the newly converted fitness enthusiasts. So we buy the gear and head out with good intentions. And then we hit a wall. How many of us have started running only to find ourselves overwhelmed or demotivated by our slow progress? The fact is that because running is moderately easy to afford and start, new runners aren’t mentally (let alone physically) prepared for just how demanding this endeavour is.

To help any new runners out there, we’ve narrowed down essential guidelines tailored for beginners, which are sure to put you on the road to success – excuse the pun.

1. Make a plan

Before you start, think about what you want to achieve. Is it weight loss? Fitness? General health? Maybe a marathon that you want to complete? The fact is that you need goals, because if you have no set objectives, then you’re less likely to have any success in the long-run.

2. Take it easy

It’s important to take it easy when you’re starting out. We strongly advise you not to overdo it, especially during the first few sessions. You might injure yourself or make yourself so sore that you never want to hit the tar again. The best way to begin is to start running around your neighbourhood. Just go as far or as long as you feel comfortable with. You can always start increasing your time or distance as you go on.

3. Warm it up

Even if you’re going out for a short run, it’s important that you start with a few stretches to warm up your muscles. Once you’ve stretched, start off slowly so that your body can adjust. You’ve probably heard this tip a few times before, but let us break down just why we consider it important enough to make number three on our list.

You’ll most likely be a bit sore the first few times. Stretching allows your muscles to adjust, helps your body feel better in general, and importantly, prevents you from getting discouraged and feeling like you should give up.

4. Make sure it fits

Next up is to make sure that you have the right equipment. You need the correct shoes and clothing that is suitable for the weather. You might think that it is a little expensive to go and buy these things when you’re not sure if the habit will stick, but it definitely won’t if your feet are aching and covered in blisters.

5. Stay hydrated

Undoubtedly one of the most common tips for any exercise that you embark upon, but there’s a reason why it keeps coming up. For whatever reason, people tend to neglect water while they’re exercising, but you really need to be well hydrated before your session and you definitely need to replenish your body afterwards.

If you’re worried about whether or not you are hydrated, you can always check your urine. If it’s clear then you’re hydrated, but if it’s darker in colour, then you need to drink more water and stay away from diuretics like caffeinated drinks or alcohol.

6. It’s in the timing

It’s best to avoid running at midday. This is because this is when the sun is usually at its brightest and can damage your eyes, cause sunstroke, or serious sunburn. Rather run in the morning or in the evening. If your preference is the evening, then please make sure that you run in well-lit areas.

7. Make it social

If possible, don’t run alone. Not only can it be slightly risky, but it’s a lot more fun when you have someone sharing your pain and successes. Our favourite reason for running with a partner is that chatting keeps your mind off the pain. Before you know it, you’ve gone a lot further than you set out to. It also helps you stick to your routine if you know that you are meeting with someone.

8. Mix it up

Running can be, well, boring, that’s why there are some things you should do to vary your routine and keep yourself motivated. Mix up your running routine by running in speedy, brief bursts, and then slowing down. This helps build stamina and endurance. Alternate this with running at a steadily slower pace for longer distances.

9. Warm it down

There’s a lot of debate around stretching. Instead of getting bogged down in the detail of what’s what, rather assess how you feel. If you have an area that feels tight then it makes sense to stretch it out. The most common areas that require a bit of warming down are your quads, hamstrings, and calves. To help with stiffness you can also try a bath with some bath salts or essential oils.

10. Stay motivated

Any new exercise routine is hard. Settle that in your mind before you start. Now, what you also need to realise is that it will get easier. Your hard work will pay off, you will achieve your goals, and you will succeed. You just need to stay focused and keep going.

This is the kind of pep talk we give our clients when they’ve hit a stumbling block, like a car accident that they have to claim for. We remind them that Dialdirect Insurance handles all repairs from beginning to end, that their repairs receive a lifetime guarantee, and that we will do our best to make sure that they are satisfied.

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