Top Running Tips

Top 5 Running Tips

As the dates for the London Marathon come closer it's not uncommon for people to feel inspired to pound the pavements to improve their fitness. Running is hands down one of the greatest ways to keep fit. It's the best aerobic exercise for physical conditioning of your heart and lungs, as well as a great way to relieve stress, tone your entire body, lose weight and quite simply, it's convenient.

Whether you're a seasoned running pro or early in your journey, sometimes we all need a bit of encouragement. So grab your running shoes as I give you my top five tips to get you running happily ever after.

Adidas Boost Trainers White

1. Find Fitness Motivation

The first hurdle to confront is motivation which, unsurprisingly, is easier said than done. I challenge you to write down some goals. Maybe you’re training for the London Marathon or Great North Run, maybe you want to shift a few pounds or it could be that you want to simply be fit. Write them down and stick them up on your mirror or somewhere you look often, as a daily reminder. On a more immediate note, try keeping your fit kit by the door before you go to bed, as quite often it’s the thought of exercising and lack of preparation that puts us off.

Quad stretch adidas

2. Improve Your Flexibility

Tight hamstrings? Sore back? Stiff hips? Loosen up! You don't have to be a bendy yoga bunny but your flexibility is important when it comes to running. During your runs, your flexibility enables your joints to move through their full range of motion, helping your muscles work more effectively and therefore, boosting your performance whilst reducing your risk of injury. Quad, cobra and standing lunge stretches will improve your flexibility greatly and if you can make it to a yoga or pilates class weekly, even better.

Marathon Training

3. Boost Your Endurance

Naturally when we fatigue our running form weakens. We curl up our shoulders, hunch our backs, our arms tend to flap by our sides and our breathing pattern becomes irregular. Weakening our technique means our performance suffers whilst putting us at risk of injury. However, improving our stamina reduces all of those side effects, enabling us to run for longer before fatigue kicks in. Try combining strength training with cardio whilst reducing your rest times in between workout sets, in order to boost your endurance.

Stretch adidas

4. Get Stronger

Running is a high impact workout and high impact exercises aren't always kind to our joints. Luckily, strength training will increase the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the high impact of running. Weight training dramatically increases the strength of your muscles when done so safely and even adding small amounts of resistance to your workouts with a resistance band will strengthen your muscles. The stronger you are the better you get.

 

Plank Core Workout

5. Improve your Stability

When running, muscle strength in your hips and glutes are really important for stabilisation and your core strength is important for your posture and so the stronger and more stable you are in these areas, the better your running form and performance. Try push-ups with your feet on a medicine ball, a one-legged squat reach, single leg dead lifts and raising one leg off the ground when planking.

If you want to find out more, I created an entire workout series of workout videos to get you ready to run which can be found by clicking here.

Happy running!

XOXO

Photographer: Sam Travis

AJ Odudu adidas UK

 

 

 




How To Train To Run | Workout videos

Running is one of the best forms of exercises out there. It keeps your heart healthy and your mind focused. But did you know that a few tweaks here or there to your training can make the world of difference? I teamed with adidas to create a series of workout videos designed to make bad runners good and good runners great. On your marks, get set, go!

Train to Run Flex Workout

Flex it out this week with AJ Odudu's Train to Run workout. Incorporate these moves into your routine and you'll be off to a flying start.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 9, 2016
Train to Run Strength Workout

Push your limits with AJ Odudu's final workout. Designed to work your arms, legs and core, it's time to dig deep and show what you're made of.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 23, 2016
Train to Run Stability Workout

It's time to work that core. Get those abs fired up with AJ Odudu's stability workout.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 16, 2016
Train to Run - Endurance Workout

January's here and it's time to hit the ground running.AJ Odudu is bringing you a workout a week to get you ready. Week one - improve your endurance.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Half Marathon Race Plan with Barry's Bootcamp

Over the last three weeks I have been training with Barry's Bootcamp in preparation for the Royal Park's Half Marathon, which took place over the weekend. Here's a little bit about my journey.

Barry's Bootcamp AJ Odudu

I've only ever ran one half marathon before. I'd trained for months by simply running for miles on pavements, usually carrying a bag containing my laptop and spare clothing, as I'd journey from A to B. All I did was run and needless to say I was bored.

Admittedly I found this dull routine to be very effective (running a time of 1 hour and 37 minutes on race day) but in fact, all of that running was too strenuous for my body. I was constantly exhausted and often injured my knees. My back was sore, I was limping for a week after the half marathon and all in all it took quite a while for me to recover.  

What possessed me to sign up for another half marathon a year later after feeling so shoddy the last time was the charity I ran for, Tommy's. But when I signed up for the Royal Parks Half his year, I wanted to remain injury free by taking on a different training approach, regardless of the great cause.

AJ Odudu Tommy's Charity

I wanted to focus on strength and weight training (something I'd skipped the previous year) whilst incorporating short but fast runs to increase my cardiovascular strength and improve my stamina whilst maintaining my energy levels throughout the days.

Whilst I do maintain my fitness levels all year round I've been out of the country a lot, skipping training sessions and so when it came to race focused preparation, I had less than a month to train. I was so nervous but in this dilemma was born a challenge; How To Get Race Ready in 4 Weeks with Barry's Bootcamp.

I'd done Barry's Bootcamp before, picking up classes here and there and knew that Barry's master trainer Anya Lahiri sessions where brutal but brilliant. She knows exactly how to push her clients so I took all of my training advice from her.

AJ Odudu Instagram

How many training sessions did I do?

Although Anya had advised me to take 4 classes a week for 6 consecutive weeks, because of work commitments abroad I could only attend 4 classes a week for 3 weeks, and they weren't consecutive.

Who did I train with?

Anya mainly. She is Barry's Bootcamp master trainer in London and does the 8:20am slot at Barry's Central in addition to numerous slots at Barry's East. When I couldn't attend her classes I took Taylor's class (he has hardcore treadmill sessions too) and Sandy's class (with challenging leg sessions).

How fast did I run half marathon last year?

Last year it took 97 minutes for me to run the 13.1 mile half marathon course with a few injuries and 2 weeks recovery needed.

How fast did I run the half marathon this year?

I ran it in exactly the same time of 97 minutes despite less race preparation. This time I ran injury free and with no need for 2 weeks off exercise. 

Royal Parks Half AJ Odudu

Why did Barry's Bootcamp work?

During the 30 minutes of high intensity treadmill series in each Barry's Bootcamp class you move through sections of intervals, hill work and sprints which challenge both your endurance and your speed. The treadmills are specifically designed to absorb impact when you run on them. Much safer than pounding the ground and thus preventing injuries caused by big impact.

Barry's Bootcamp Treadmill

There was also the addition of strength training, which is the key to remaining injury free. The 30 minute strength sections would include compound movements (such as dead-lifts, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, bench press, and step-ups. These exercises target functional movement) bodyweight exercises (such as lunges, planks and push-ups which build the core strength you need to prevent injuries and get stronger) and hip straighteners (exercises focusing on the glutes and hips; two of the most important stabilising muscles that are used while running).

Barry's Bootcamp Resistance Training

So there you have it, proof that runners need to do more than just run, that reducing injury rate isn't that difficult and that Barry's Bootcamp is both a safe and effective workout.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

Here marks my next challenge with Barry's Bootcamp: Six Weeks To A Six Minute Mile. Stay tuned!

xoxo

How Much? £20 per individual class but prices vary between £14-20 depending on the class package

How long? Each class is one hour long

Where? Barry's Central is a 2 minute walk from Euston Station and located at 163 Euston Road
London, UK NW1 2BH
 

Barry's East is located at 2 Worship Street (entrance on City Road) London, UK EC2A 2AH | It's a 5 minute walk from Moorgate Station and 10 minutes from Liverpool St and Bank underground stations

Would I recommend it? 100% YES.  You can book a class by clicking here.

Running Tips for Beginners

Tomorrow I'll be taking to Finsbury Park, London to run 5K as part of the Race For Life Series. To get me in the mood I'm going to the Anniversary Games  to watch the likes of Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah at the Olympic Stadium which I'm super excited about. Who could forget that in 2012, in that very stadium, Mo Farah won the 5000M race in a time of 13 minutes and 41 seconds. WOW!

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I won't be going for Olympic Gold, but I will be running for a fantastic cause, Cancer Research. It's a charity close to my heart and one that I have actively supported before during London's Winter Run.   

Running Tips for Beginners

Over this 5K trail, I'm envisioning a muddy obstacle course where I (and thousands of women of any ability) can run, walk, climb or crawl to the finish line, all while dressed in Race for Life's signature colour pink, making it the prettiest event ever! 

To some 5K doesn't seem like much, for many it'll be a huge achievement, especially for such a great cause. So here are some running tips for beginners.

Good luck to everyone running, walking and crawling in pink tomorrow. See you at the finish line!

AJ

XOXO

 

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Nike Women's 10KM Race | London

Today,  London was one of 20 cities across the globe to host a race as part of the Nike Women’s Race Series. This was a 10KM race in Victoria Park London, with a clear message; To unite us women and enable us to experience and celebrate the power of sport together.

I wrote a blog post in the lead up to this race (which you can read by clicking here), where I said that my running crew and I would start together, run together and finish together but in truth, we couldn't even find each other. We had all entered different waves with varying start times and so I adopted a new run crew member, Cythia Erivo, (not to mention the 10,000 other super women running behind, in front and alongside me).

Pre-race selfie done, we picked up our feet and ran! The race was really well sign posted with incredible words of encouragement on placards, spectators and live music throughout the 10KM course.

For me, crossing the finish line is always the best part of any race. That huge sense of achievement is indescribable and today I stopped to notice a sea of women giving congratulatory hugs to one another. It was really special.

Post race we collected our medals in the form of an exclusive Alex Monroe necklace, before being greeted by a glass of champagne and a Birch Box post race pamper kit. Had I have known all of these treats were waiting for me at the finish line, I'd have certainly ran faster.

Soon after it was time to eat and enjoy the live DJ sets on offer, one of which was by my friend and BBC Radio 1 DJ, Clara Amfo who was playing the likes of Kelis, N.E.R.D and all the crowd pleasers.

Ladies, today we came, we saw and we conquered. I couldn't be more proud to be a woman. Here's to many happy more run's together. #WeRunLondon

AJ Odudu

xoxo

Find out more about Nike Race Series by clicking here.