Runners

Fun run training tips

Fun runs and charity walks are gaining popularity lately – and with good reason. They’re a great way to motivate yourself, your family and your friends to be a little bit healthier, and work towards a fitness goal.

Whether you want to get involved in large annual event like Bridge to Brisbane, or you’d like to join your local parkrun community, these simple training tips will help you on your way.

Make a plan

Training is an important part of any event. If you’re on the couch one day and running 10km the next, you might find yourself injury prone and not quite as fit as you thought.

Having a training plan will help you stick to your good intentions, and make small, regular improvements along the way. You can plan your own training schedule, or find one online. The Healthier. Happier. 8 week training guide is designed to prepare both first timers and experienced walkers/runners for the Bridge to Brisbane (5km or 10km course). There are three suggested training sessions each week (and you can swap or add sessions, if you’re feeling up to it), with distances gradually increasing to help you complete your chosen course comfortably.

Gradual increases

When it comes to exercise, progress is your friend. Increasing the time or intensity of exercise over time is the trick to ensuring you continue to hit your goals. But if you up the ante too much, too fast, there’s a chance you’ll injure yourself. When it comes to adding the extra minutes or kilometres to your activity, listen to your body and be kind to it.

Find a workout buddy

Exercising with a friend or in a group significantly helps with motivation, both during a session and over time. Invite a mate to join you for a run, or better yet, get them to register for the same event so you can train together. It’s much harder to cancel on a friend than on yourself!

Fuel up

To get the best results from your training, you need to fuel your body properly. Make sure you eat a wide variety of healthy and nutritious food each day in well-balanced meals. This is the key to building a solid foundation of health that aids your training.

It’s a good idea to eat a light snack one to two hours before exercise, so the food has time to be digested and absorbed. A carbohydrate-based snack before training will allow you to exercise longer and harder.

Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you do not effectively rehydrate during and after training, you can decrease your performance by up to 60%. If you’re doing a 5-10km run, sports drinks are not really necessary, and can be full of sugar and empty kilojoules. So stick to good old water instead.

Mix up your training

If you’re facing a motivational slump, why not try something new? Getting fit isn’t just about running. Join a touch footy team, swim some laps, walk to work or try a circuit class. Even if it doesn’t last, it gives you a fresh perspective on your training.

Stretching, strength trainingstability and cardio are also great options, which may improve your running time and technique.

Taper

Tapering your training is where you gradually lessen the activity so your body is well-rested, to make sure you’re in top shape for the event. In the week leading up to your fun run, make sure your training is a little less intense, and have a rest day the day before the event.

Make your new healthy habits stick

Achieving a goal is a great feeling, so be sure to celebrate when the fun run is over! But being healthy isn’t about short-term challenges; it’s the long-term habits that really count.

Once you’ve tasted success, think about what your next goals might be now that race day is over. You might aim to continue running a few times a week, keep cooking healthy dinners, or register for another fun run. Also think about the long-term changes you want to make – do you want to lose weight, improve your speed or distance, feel more energetic or more confident?

No matter what motivates you, keeping up your healthy lifestyle habits after you’ve crossed the finish line is a great idea. It’s the improvements in your overall exercise, eating and drinking habits that can make a big difference to your health.