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    Five things everyone should know to improve their running

    1 Get the right kit We all love a great outfit, but wearing the right kit is key to making running an enjoyable experience, whether you run five times a week or two. ‘The most important piece of kit is trainers purchased from a specialist running shop,’ Buy them from a store where the staff have the expertise to analyse your gait - to see how you run and then supply shoes specific to your needs.’ Even when you’re starting out, the right footwear makes a difference. Just one or two runs in unsuitable footwear can cause discomfort and injury.

    2 Plan your routes Knowing where you’re going when you set off can be really helpful, but allow some flexibility. ‘Planning the route is dependent upon the goal for your run,’ says Nina. ‘If the aim is to go out for a steady jog, then it’s often good to vary your route and explore new places, which may help to take the fatigue out of those last few miles.’ But if you’re looking to up your speed, knowing the distance you’re covering and the time you’re doing it in is important. ‘If the purpose of your run is an interval session, then having an exact idea of where you’re going beforehand can be helpful to ensure you achieve the best results,’ Nina explain.

    3 Fuel up properly Make sure you eat an hour or so before you head out. ‘I like to have porridge a couple of hours before I run as it gives me the energy I need,’ says Nina. When you’re done, replenish your body with a snack that will help you recover. ‘What you eat immediately after training can have a very positive effect on recovery,’ says Nina. ‘Post training I always have a drink with maltodextrin as this helps replaces all the glycogen in my muscles.’ Chocolate milk makes a good post-run drink, but try a few options to see what works best for you.

    4 Set a goal Why? It’s what will keep you going through rain and cold, injury and tiredness. ‘Setting a long-term goal can be very motivational,’ Nina says. ‘This could be anything from being fit enough to run a 5K, improving your personal best over a certain distance or aiming to achieve a specific position in a race.’ The most important thing is to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable. ‘Whatever your reasons for training, on the days when the going is tough remember your goal and it will give you the extra incentive you need,’ says Nina.

    5 Let your body recover If you’re new to running, you may not realise the importance of recovery. ‘Recovery is equally as important as training itself but doesn’t necessarily mean complete rest,’ says Nina. ‘Training should consist of a mixture of low and high intensity sessions, and provided you don’t do high intensity on consecutive days you can use easy jogs as recovery sessions.’ Cross training (adding different forms of exercise to your programme) is also great for recovery. Activities such as swimming or cycling are good, as it breaks up the repetitive nature of your training, allowing your muscles to recover. ‘I would always recommend at least one complete rest day a week,’ adds Nina.