Run…. What? Oh no! I thought they said rum!
Is this meme familiar to you? Have your friends at work signed you up for a corporate 10K run? Or are you searching for New Year’s resolutions to sink your teeth into? Perhaps it’s a goal that has been in the back of your mind and you’re finally ready to hit the pavement. Whatever the reason, running 10 kilometres is an awesome challenge – and it’s more achievable than you might think!
Now I must disclose that I am not a running coach, personal trainer or any type of fitness professional for that matter! So, I’m not offering professional coaching or advice to anyone on what they should do to prepare for their running goals. I am, however, a keen runner who has been running consistently now for over 10 years and would like to share my experiences in training for running events.
I was trying to quit smoking when I first got into running and had tried several methods that had failed. (See that – the methods failed – not me!) Someone mentioned that running was a great way to quit smoking as you realise how difficult it is to run due to literally being unable to breathe! I was determined this time to put those cigarettes out forever and so began my journey to start running and stop smoking.
Below are a few simple steps that I followed to help me get off the coach, on the road and to keep motivated to achieve my personal running goals:
Step One – Both Feet In
Firstly, I picked a goal distance I wanted to be able to run. Then I searched the internet for a running event nearby and registered myself. This way I felt I was committed and the more people I told I had entered the event; the more people knew and the harder it was not to go through with it.
Step Two – Gear Up
Gear. This is the fun part. I took myself along to a shoe shop that performed an analysis on my foot type and points of impact for my feet. I left with my first custom fitted pair of runners since school. They were awesome. Other items needed were:
- Running shorts and singlets for summer
- Sports visor
- Gloves, running tights and long-sleeved tops for winter
- Running socks
- Oh and – (no judgement here please) anti-chafe rub
Step Three- Get Smart
I used an app (and there are many, many great apps available now) to help me set my running schedule. I entered in my gender, height, and weight and how fast I could run 5 kilometres at the time. That information was used to provide more accurate results in the running plan such as run distance and pace. From there, I simply stuck to the schedule and did the planned runs or cross training activities listed on the app which also specifies the rate of effort listed for each one, the change in intensity leading into the event and the recovery runs after the event.
In little over four months, I completed my first 10 kilometre race. It felt wonderful to be a part of an event with so many other energetic people. I felt connected, part of a community and elated as my endorphins were pumping. A feeling I wanted again and this my friends – bought me a year-round ticket on the running train. Oh, and for the record – I quit smoking too!
If time or motivation is a struggle, another way to start running is to find a running coach or personal trainer to help you. If that’s out of reach, there are also online communities like Running Mums Australia, an Australian network for women and mums who run. It’s a safe place for women to discuss running and connect with runners in their local community and around Australia.
A physiotherapist or massage therapist is also good to have on your team as there are fundamental things that happen to your muscles and body when you start a new activity (particularly if you’re looking at hitting the road post-partum). It might also be worth chatting to your health practitioner to make sure you have the medical green light to start running.