Northwest 10K

Road Race and Walk

Training Tips for Beginners

By Teresa McDaid, Letterkenny A.C. Level 111 Athletics Coach

Running continues to grow in popularity. More and more people are taking up the sport. More people are running 5k, 10k and marathon races. Running is simple and inexpensive. It's a good way to lose weight and makes you feel good. Running is good for your health. You'll look better and have more energy.

Remember every runner was once a beginner. All of us wondered where to start, how far and fast to run, what sort of gear to buy, whether to join a club, and so on. You are starting out in a sport, which gives a great many people, a lot of pleasure. For many, it is an important part of who we are. I wish you every success, and hope that you find running as rewarding and inspiring as the numerous other runners out there.
More and more fitness walkers also are participating in running races, covering the distance and enjoying the experience. Many of these walkers eventually become runners, or continue to walk, a great way to build and maintain fitness.

10 kilometre or 6.2 miles is a popular racing event. Unlike marathons, you don't need to spend 12 - 18 weeks specifically training towards it. However completing a 10k requires some preparation and some work. So, lace up your running shoes. It's time to start training for the North West 10-K.

Getting Started

Before you begin, it's a good idea to see your doctor and get a medical check up, particularly if you have not been involved in regular exercise for some time. Getting medical clearance is especially important if you are a current or former smoker, if you are overweight, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family.

You should ease into your running program gradually. In fact, a beginners' program starts off using a run/walk method. Brisk walking punctuated with short runs where the overall aim is to increase the run time and reduce the walking time so that you can run continuously for a period of say 30 mins. As you build your endurance you can gradually increase the running portion of the ratio. It's easy to get impatient but space out the days throughout the week to give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts.

Don't worry about how fast you're going. Running faster can wait until your body is ready. For now focus on gradually increasing the time or distance you run. As you gain fitness and get into better shape, you can add more variety to your training. One of running's appeals is its simplicity. Step out your front door, and you've found your first training venue.

Have fun and you'll want to continue.

Top Tips

1. Start slowly and build up
Lots of new runners get carried away and try to do too much too soon. This can lead to disappointment, loss of enthusiasm and possibly injury. If you want to be able to enjoy running for the rest of your life, start out slowly and build up.

2. You may need to check with a doctor before you start running
You should get a medical check-up. Use your common sense: if in doubt, see your doctor.

3. Keep a running Diary
A running diary is a place where you record each run that you do. It is great for motivation and satisfaction.

4. Set yourself a goal
It is essential to have something to aim for. The North West Charity 10k is an excellent choice. It is achievable whatever your level. Set some minor goals on the build up to your main goal. Running a mile non-stop for the first time can provide you with your first Runner's High.

5. Get proper running shoes
The one essential item of equipment is a pair of running shoes. There is a maze of shoes on the market. Seek out assistance from other runners and a specialist running store. If you are a woman, you also need a sports bra.

6. Stretch
Stretching makes muscles more flexible and reduces the chance of injury. All runners can benefit from some additional stretching. Remember to listen to your body and a little and often is preferable.

7. Run safely
Take responsibility for your own safety. Wear reflective bibs or gear if running on roads. Be aware of the dangers of running alone.

8. Eat Properly and drink loads of water
Runners burn up more calories than non-runners, both while they are running (at about 100 calories a mile) and afterwards, therefore you need to consume extra nourishment. Do remember to keep it healthy! You also need drink plenty of water, keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip during the day.

9. Join a running club
Running clubs are an excellent source of advice and inspiration for beginners. There are a number of athletic clubs in the North West who welcome beginners of all levels.

10. Enjoy running as an activity for the rest of your life.

Going to a RACE

Every runner in a race has, at some point, had to enter his or her first race, usually with some trepidation. Here are some tips.

1. You do not need to be fast to enter a race.Races are always full of runners of all abilities, from young to old. One of the great merits of running is that you can enter the same competition as world class athletes, whatever your level of running.

2. You do not need to be competitive to enter a race. A very few people in a race are hoping to win. The rest are running it for fun and their own personal goals and targets.

3. Plan what to bring. Prepare your kit the night before, pin your number on to your vest, and bring some extra clothes to change into afterwards. Runners usually bring a small snack, such as a banana and a recovery drink. Vaseline can be useful to prevent chaffing.

4. Arrive early. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed when you arrive. Arrive at least an hour it not more before the start time. You will need register your entry, pick up your number, check out the start area and finish area and queue for the toilet.

5. Pin your number on the front of your shirt. Pin the number in all four corners.

6. Start slowly, and at the back. Resist the temptation to go off with the elite runners. Take it easy at first, and you can gradually increase your pace as the race progress.

7. Enjoy it. Crossing that finish line is a great moment to cherish.