How to become a runner, according to Olympian Sally Pearson

Sally Pearson is one of Australia’s most accomplished athletes. She’s a world champion runner and Olympic medallist, so when she shares tips on how to get started running, we listen.

Running is one of those tried-and-true ways of keeping fit and losing weight. But it comes more naturally to some than it does to others.

Sally Pearson knows a thing or two about running, having won two World Championships, a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and gold at London, so we asked her how to get into the sport, even if you’ve never done it before.

Because running is high impact and “quite hard on the body”, Pearson recommends starting “off slow and short distances” to minimise the risk of injury.

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“Try going for a five-minute jog; up two minutes, come back two and a half minutes,” she told Body+Soul’s Healthy-Ish podcast.

“And then you can keep increasing that every week until you get to the desired distance that you’re aiming for.”

She says repetition is key like any other workout, but it’s equally important to listen to your body.

“The more you do, the fitter and faster you’re going to get,” she said.

“But at the same time, you really do have to look after your body… Make sure that if you do pull up with any niggles or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then maybe wait a day before you go again.”

But what about the best things to eat before and after a run? Pearson has a few favourites.

“As an elite athlete, I tend to not eat too much before I train because sometimes I would see my food for a second time that day,” she joked.

“So it just depends what sort of intensity you’re going to be exercising it and running it and making sure that you’re eating the foods to go with that.”

She says if you’re going to be pushing it with intensity, it’s best to go with something light. Whereas if you’re going for endurance, you should fuel accordingly with something like a healthy sandwich.

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