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MSc Nutrition & Behaviour

Some people seem to enter into fun runs for… well fun, whilst others find themselves in a frenzy when they realise they’ve not done nearly enough training! I have personally found myself in both situations and have run several 5K races, a 10K and a half marathon along with some obstacle course races and have competed in a few functional fitness competitions too.

If you’ve been persuaded into signing up to a fun run by friends and the panic has begun to sink in, my best piece of advice is to try and enjoy the experience. There’s nothing quite like the camaraderie and atmosphere of race day and the sense of achievement you’ll feel afterwards is like nothing else!

Here are some of my tips for training and making the most of the experience:

  1. Set up a fundraising page – Knowing friends and family have sponsored you will give you extra motivation!
  2. Start slowly – Try not to put too much pressure on yourself too early. Think about using a running app such as Couch to 5K, you can repeat weeks or even skip ahead if it’s to easy. This allows you to build confidence, improve fitness and avoid injury!
  3. Take rest days – Also key to avoiding injury is allowing yourself some time to recover. Think about trying yoga, foam rolling and creating a stretch routine.
  4. All the gear – Make sure you wear a good pair of running shoes which support your running style (most running shops will be able to do a gait analysis). Ladies should also consider getting fitted for a supportive sports bra.
  5. Learn how to run – It may seem obvious but it’s surprising how many people struggle with their running technique. Learn to use those glutes (try some glute activation exercises before heading out for your run), and look into joining a running club, most clubs welcome people of all abilities. If you can’t find a suitable running club, why not try popping along to your local Park Run, usually held on Saturday mornings.
  6. Mix up your routine – Try hill sprints, intervals and weight sessions to improve your efficiency. Also try different running routes (beach, forest etc), to avoid boredom!
  7. Stay hydrated and eat to recover – You’ll need to replace the fluid lost through sweating and where possible plan your meals in advance to avoid grabbing the nearest chocolate bar!

Here are some challenges you might face:

  1. Feeling fatigued or have a niggling injury – Try giving yourself a couple of days rest. If the injury feels severe seek medical advice but if you just need to avoid the impact of running try swimming, biking or rowing as a cardio alternative.
  2. Not having enough time – It can be hard finding time to train, try scheduling your week and remember you don’t always need to run the event distance. Try some intervals or hill sprints which don’t need to take you as long.
  3. Not feeling safe in the dark/certain areas – If you don’t feel safe running alone or in the dark see if there are alternative areas nearby which are better and ask your friends to join you, even if they’re on a bike instead of running. Avoid wearing headphones in both ears (so you can hear surrounding noise), always tell your friends and family your route and don’t run the same route at the same time every week.

I hope those tips have helped you, if you’re thinking about signing up just do it and grab some friends to join in too!

Good luck and enjoy it!

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