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Running reporter Amy Dyduch takes on six week challenge
It’s that time of year again, when mince pies and Christmas puddings laced with brandy are merely a memory on our hips and tums.
While for many the festive season is the perfect time to relax and undoubtedly gorge on the endless culinary delights that frequent plates across the country, it is a sad fact that December does not do our waistlines any favours.
According to the British Dietetic Association, people gain, on average, 5lb over Christmas.
The post-Christmas and new year get fit regime, the same one we see every year, will undoubtedly commence in full force, and perhaps peter out by mid-March.
Many will join gyms in the hope of giving their health a boost.
Others who are more cash conscious may snub the membership fees and try a free way of getting fit – running.
It is cheap, good for you and easy, right? Wrong.
According to the Running School in Teddington, running is something that needs to be taught and coached, so people can stay injury free when exercising.
“Nearly everyone runs a little bit wrong,” said head coach Chris Fletcher, who will be teaching me how to run over six sessions, that can be carried out over a period of 10 weeks.
“Even Mo Farah,” he added, as he points to a wall chart with a picture of the double Olympic gold medallist sporting an incorrect technique, twisting and propelling his arms across his body as he runs.
Hard to believe, but Fletcher says his students have reaped the benefits.
He said: “One guy managed to shave six minutes off his best 10km time.”
So how does it work? Coaches at the running school have you jog on a treadmill while they film you from the side and behind to analyse your technique.
Fletcher sits me down while he talks me through how I run.
He said: “I think you’re a bit of a shuffler and a bit of a twister.”
He then draws lines on the computer screen showing where my limbs should be landing.
So the problem is, I twist my arms across my body when I run.
“You’re just wasting energy, you need to drive your arms forwards,” explained Chris.
The other problem is I do not lift my feet high enough off the floor.
The Running School, based in a room at the back of Sweat Shop in Teddington, also has centres in Chiswick and the City.
Fletcher gets me back on the treadmill and shows me that I need to drive my arms forward and flick my heels higher, which will help my balance and make me run more efficiently.
The sessions work in short bursts of 30 seconds, on the treadmill practising the techniques, teamed with floor exercises.
Fletcher said: “It is all about repetition – repeating the technique until it becomes habit.”
So over the next six weeks I will be attending the Running School in Teddington and Fletcher will be coaching me on the correct technique, that should enable me to run faster, more efficiently and for longer, as long as I do my homework – extra running at home to help learn the skill.
Follow my progress in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.
For more information, visit runningschool.co.uk.