How to prepare for a fun run if you haven’t been active for a while
By Ben Lucas
Regardless of whether fun run season goes ahead this year or not, getting better at running, and having a goal in mind to train for is a great strategy for keeping on track and staying motivated to achieve your goals.
While many of us have been stuck at home both due to isolation and winter, there is no better time to get outside and start working on your fitness again.
Running is a great option for a few reasons:
- It is generally free if you do it yourself
- You can join a run club and make it social
- You can do it alone or with a mate
- It gets you some serious fitness results
- It’s a great way to cruise around your neighbourhood and/ or check out other areas
- There are running events all around the world that you can sign up for if you want to‘
Here are my top tips for getting back into it if you haven’t been active in a while
While you may have a goal of running 10, 21 or 42 km, coming out of the gate at full pace and running the full distance on day one will often lead to injury. Start small and build up your kilometres gradually, not only for your fitness but for your joints. A sore Achilles, for example, is very common for people who go too hard too soon.
I would recommend running no more than 5km on your first long run day and build yourself up gradually. Add an extra 2-3 kilometre (depending on your goal) each week. Even if you are training for a marathon, you don’t need to run an entire marathon distance in your training. You just need to be able to build yourself up enough to be able to complete the distance on the day
Mix up your running training
If you are training with a specific course in mind, make sure you prepare for all of the elements that are on the course. ie. are there hills? Is there sand, dirt or trails or are you only running on the street? You also need to prepare for overtaking people, therefore, you need to do some sprint training.
I would structure your week as follows:
- Long run day
- Sprint training day- Map out 100m and sprint it 10 x times
- Hill sprint day: Map out 100-200 metres on a hill and run up it around 5-10 times. You may need to start with fewer rounds and work your way up
- Speed play day: practise running fast and then slowing down as you would during the run due to other people who may get in your way. I would do this over 5km or so
- Strength training day
- Recovery day
When you run, you are on one leg at a time. Therefore working on each leg individually is a good idea as if you do a lot of exercises that work both legs at the same time, your strong leg will often cover for your weaker one. This can lead to imbalances which can ultimately lead to injury.
Good exercises include runners lunges, one leg deadlift, walking lunges, split squats, pistol squats using a TRX etc.
You should also work on your posture and core as you want them to be strong for the entire distance you are running. If your posture starts to slip it will get very uncomfortable after a while.
Additionally, weighted step-ups and calf raises are great for strengthening your calves and your ankles.
Running can be pretty hard on the body so making sure recovery is an important part of your plan is imperative. This means stretching after every session, warm up before, use a foam roller. If you need to get a massage or acupuncture. I also like doing yoga when I am training for a running event as it lengthens everything out.
Happy running everyone!