Liz and Martin Yelling

How new and experienced runners alike can learn now to add some confidence to their running

Liz and Martin Yelling are two former England internationals, with perhaps Liz claiming she was the higher profile of the pair, having represented GB at two Olympic Games as well as picking up a bronze in the marathon at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Liz boasts a sub 2hr 30min marathon while Martin was an England international cross country runner and a sub 30min 10km runner.

Today, the pair devote much of their week encouraging new runners achieve the most from their running. Talking to Martin (Liz was home schooling their three children!) in Mental Health Week, it was fascinating to get an understanding of how all of us, new and experienced runners alike, can learn now to add some confidence to our running.

"Right now, much of what we’ve all been experiencing is learning how to really improve your running be that just starting or if you’ve been a runner for a while, adding to what you’ve done in the past," says Martin, adding that right about now, that becomes a matter of learning balance.

"Suddenly runners, thanks to a better routine, are all doing more," Martin explains, "so right now it’s about having the confidence to learn to do a bit less!" By that he means more than ever, it’s about understanding what your heart rate monitor or Garmin is telling you. A beat or two higher in the morning is probably telling you to back off, you’re a bit tired and not go for that hard run as your mind or diary is telling you. "It’s about teaching yourself things you can do it keep your sensible head on." he laughs.

Top of that list is Martin’s take on mindfulness when you’re out. Think if you were told to describe the experience of eating a raisin is his way of explaining of how we can all learn to breathe better on a run. It’s all about the detail and allowing it to happen. Don’t be disturbed about what is happening and allow it to occur. It’s an interesting technique that perhaps experienced runners learn to do without realising it. You can’t force something; if you’re tired, well then you’re tired so back off, slow down and take it easy.

"We have the ability to notice things, but less so to respond. That’s what takes a bit of time to learn."

In short, he’s saying it’s not wrong to slow down; your body and mind are telling you to do that for a variety of reasons. But, he concludes, the best way for all of this to work is to be attentive over a number of runs and respond accordingly.

One-off, perhaps being tired isn’t an issue, but over a week learn what your data you’ve collected on your watch or app is telling you personally. It makes a difference! Stay strong and have fun learning just what running is all about.