Cotton On Body

Running Tips For Beginners by Laura Scanlon

We all have to start somewhere and there is no time like the present. I have compiled the answers to your questions about how to start running.

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Lets Talk Running


How do I start?

It is as simple as putting your trainers on and leaving the house. Anywhere from 10-30 minutes is great. Just start walking then jog for 1-2 minutes then back to walking again. Keep doing for the amount of time you wish. A minimum of 10 minutes initially, working up to 30 minutes. Do this 3/4 times a week until you can run for 30 minutes with no breaks. It will take time but persistence is key. A stop watch is handy but alternatively I like to use lamp post to lamp post if on the road for speed training but the same concept can be used when training to run. Walk to one lamp post then run to the next and so on for the duration of the run/walk.

Should I do other training as well as run?

Yes. Bodyweight and weight training will really help with your running. The stronger the body is, the better you will carry yourself when running. Core and glute activation exercises are extremely important, look at exercises that isolate the glutes and abdominal areas. Planks, glute bridges, dumbbell arm exercises are a good start. These exercises can do done on the same day as you run, either before or after or alternatively on a day you do not run. 

Should I take rest days?

Yes. Rest and recovery is essential in order for your body to adapt and muscles to grow. Self-myofascial release is a term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball. By foam rolling specific muscles on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. This is also known as active recovery, so on your "day off" don't sit around feeling stiff and sore, get up and get foam rolling. 

Do I need proper running gear?

Not necessarily, but what you do need (for women) is the correct training bra that fits well and supports. Correct running shoes are also essential for preventing injuries.


Should I warm up before I run?

Yes. The body will run and feel more fluid when you have gently warmed up. Here is a warm up I like to do before I head out. 4 Rounds of the following. 

  1. High Knees on the spot X 40

  2. Kick Backs X 40

  3. Jumping Jacks X 40

  4. Air Squat X 20

See my video for this

Complete some light stretches after the warm up and after your run.

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Listen to Your Body!

If you start to feel aches and pains that don't go away after a few days, it's time for active recovery like we spoke about in the above post. Pushing too hard will only set you back. Ease up a bit, and you'll continue to improve without injury.

Happy running :)



How to stay Motivated by Laura Scanlon


No matter what time of the year it is, we all reach a slump at some point. It can be for any reason and once you miss a couple of days training, your food choices usually suffer and then a vicious cycle starts. It is ok to take days off but only when you feel they are needed, for example when you are sick, feel like your coming down with something, your body is tired etc. It is when you start to feel lazy, this is when you need a kick.  

What motivates me

I get asked a lot "what keeps me motivated" and my answer is simple, to be better, faster, stronger. I love the feeling after a workout, the sense of achievement, the endorphins, it is a feeling money can't buy. Yes I have days where I feel unmotivated, we are all human, but I try my best to still make an effort, especially with my food choices.

I read an article recently that really struck me and it was actually on a day I wasn't feeling so motivated. It was an article about overthinking situations, and overthinking about life in general and how we should all try live in the moment. What really struck me the most in the article was the last part where the author spoke about comparing yourself to others and how people moan about having to exercise daily. She said that any able-bodied person who can wake up in the morning, put their trainers on and go for a run has struck gold in life, Why? because there are people who simply can't. I hope this thought motivates you as much as it did for me.


Be your Own Motivation

Stop comparing yourself to others. Be You.


Motivational Fitness Tips 


1.  Forget the saying "Summer bodies are made in winter" our health should never be a seasonal thing. Fitness should play a role in your life daily, even if it is a "rest day" you should be consciously aware of your food intake and how your body is feeling.


2. Don't set your alarm an hour later in the winter than summer to skip the gym. Keep your routine the same. If your waking later than usual it is likely your body is more sluggish and tired, which will ultimately lead to bad food choices. 


3. Try out a new class to keep you motivated. There is such a variety of classes to choose from and most gyms offer at least a first free class so why not avail of them.


4. Train with a buddy and get fit together. Nothing beats getting up in the morning when you have a friend counting on you. 


5. Buy yourself some new activewear to motivate you. 


6. Set a goal for yourself. Whether it is a 1 rep max for a squat, a faster 5k time or just to feel fitter. Give yourself 4-6 weeks to see changes and go for it.


7. Update your music, get some energetic music to help you through your workout.


8. Get outdoors and embrace the fresh (sometimes wet) weather. Rain, hail or sunshine, stay committed and get moving.


9. Up your daily water intake, if you struggle with water, chances are you may be dehydrated and you don't even know it. Buy a 2 litre bottle and sip it throughout the day. Avoid putting any sweeteners into it.


10. YOU get the opportunity to wake up and move, some people don't.


Laura x



Staying Active Outdoors in Cape Town - with Cotton On Body by Laura Scanlon

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I definitely do not take it for granted. When I was asked to collaborate with Cotton On Body on their new season fleece range and what inspires me to wander through nature, I knew I could think of many outdoors activities. I have compiled my top 5 outdoors nature activities in Cape Town, dressed in the cosiest new season athleisure outfits from Cotton On Body. Cotton On Body are a brand that I have loved since moving to Cape Town. Does anyone else live in gym gear Monday to Friday? Yeah, me too ;)

All new season winter range from Cotton On Body available online and in stores now

1. Table Mountain

To this day every time I see Table Mountain it takes my breath away. In the summer months, Table Mountain looks truly magnificent against the blue backdrop of clear Cape skies but on these cloudless days the legendary white 'tablecloth' can suddenly cast over the mountain as if Mother Nature is talking to you. You really have to believe it to see it but the "tablecloth" across Table Mountain is raw natural beauty. Hiking on top of Table Mountain is a pure treat. I like to get the cable car up and down and then hike across the mountains top which is so vast in size that you forget you are 1000 feet above sea level. The views are spectacular on a cloudless day and the nature on top of the mountain includes many types of wild animals and birds.

The white 'tablecloth' creeping in on top of Table Mountain

The white 'tablecloth' creeping in on top of Table Mountain

2. Hiking

Simply put on your trainers and get moving, my ultimate favourite is Lion's Head hike. It is a big tourist destination and is a must do when in Cape Town. The views are endless from the start to the top. There are two ways to get to the very top, one with chains to help get up a bit quicker and another where you walk and do a slight climb, but both are doable and for the novice hiker.

1st Image is a view of Lions Head & Table Mountain  - 2nd Image is the views from the top of Lions Head

3. walk/run

When i'm running along the coast line down to Camps Bay I feel so full of energy and thankful that I get to experience a city full of beautiful nature. Seapoint promenade is a wonderful area for an easy walk/run. The endless sea views and epic mountain views of Lion's Head & Table Mountain are sure to leave you feeling totally refreshed and in awe of the atlantic seaboards beauty. For me I love running on the promenade down to Camps Bay and back, the full run is aproximatley 8-10k.

New season winter range from Cotton On Body

4. Kayaking at Granger Bay

This is very much a special experience. From the spectacular views of Cape Town from the water, to the dolphins swimming right in front of your eyes and if you are lucky enough to see whales. This activity is really a must do for the adventure type. I went with a guided tour called Atlantic Outlook.

5. Signal Hill

Signal hill is right beside Lions Head and has amazing views and lookout areas of Cape Town. It is a beautiful location to have a picnic and also an epic place to watch the sunrise and sunset. There are no major hikes on Signal Hill but you can walk across to Lions Head. Don't forget your camera to take in all the natural glory around you.


If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere
— Vincent Van Gogh

No matter what country you are in, make an effort to get out and enjoy the natural beauty around you. Fresh air is good for the soul. Oh and you can always look good doing it too ;) thanks to Cotton On Body I sure did.

Laura x