Five tips for running your first 5k

Picture: Great Winter Run
Picture: Great Winter Run
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Running expert Gareth Turnbull, a former athlete, speaking on behalf of title partners Simplyhealth.

1. Easy one to start with….Get a pen and a piece of paper and write down why you want to run your 5k! Then pin it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis (the fridge, the office desk, etc) and use it as a daily reminder of your running goal! This is about YOU! Don’t forget that and keep positive and happy as you prepare for your 5k!

2. Set yourself a realistic and structured time slot for your weekly runs. Life will occasionally get in the way but by setting yourself a routine that you can plan ahead for and make space for amongst your working and family life, you can ‘own’ each training run and plan accordingly. This will help you know when to eat before you run and where you will able to do your run itself. A little bit of pre-planning will therefore keep your running experience stress free and keep you smiling all the way to the start line!

3. Alright then, so Mo Farah may be safe for now as you embark on your first ever 5k but there are still a few things you can integrate into your own running routine that the great man himself also has to! Following a training plan is one such example. Spend a few minutes looking online for an easy to follow 5k plan that will suit your lifestyle. Then try to stick to it! There is a great sense of satisfaction in ticking off a training run from your plan and seeing the progress you have made. You will get fitter and feel better as you do!

4. Introducing running into your exercise routine can be a shock sometimes to the system as the initial aches and pains associated with getting out for a run can make themselves known at an early stage. Therefore, from the very moment you being to train for your 5k, begin to listen your body and know the difference between stiffness and pain. A few basic stretches will help this assessment very easily. By stretching a calf muscle that feel a little tender, you can get instant feedback as to which side of the stiffness/pain line you are on. Regular stretching before and especially after running, as well as consulting a physiotherapist – ‘prehab’ as we call it - will help alleviate potential pain points, so get ready incorporate some into your running routine today!

5. An oldie but a goodie to finish with! Mother always told us that a little of what we like will always be good for us so don’t worry about still keeping those little indulgences part of diet! Burning calories is hard work and your body will need replenishing afterwards. Perhaps the only small piece of advice here would be to think about when you choose to treat yourself! The cheeky Friday night takeaway may be best delayed for 24 hours if you have identified Saturday mornings for your weekend run. A lighter pre-run dinner will work better for your run and thinking of that tasty takeaway as a reward for your efforts will also help the km’s fly by too! Enjoy!

The Scotsman is taking part in the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run. If you’d like to get more active and enjoy better everyday health visit www.millionsmoving.co.uk where you’ll find advice and inspiration.

Running expert Gareth Turnbull, a former athlete, speaking on behalf of title partners Simplyhealth