You always feel better after a run: you just need to start

Are you able to run for 25 minutes nonstop? If so, I’m here to help you run stronger and longer

 

Welcome to the first week of Get Running: Stay on Track. Having coached runners for the past eight years, I have built up lots of tips and secrets that make running easier, more enjoyable and, most importantly, injury free. As part of this programme, I want to share these with you and help you get the most out of your runs.

The aim of this programme is to help you stay running for the next eight weeks. If you can drag yourself around a 25-minute jog now, this programme is perfect for you. I will work with you to get you stronger and more comfortable over the 5km distance.

Do you struggle to get out the door for a run? Are you full of excuses, spending more time thinking about going for a run than actually running? It’s so easy to slip out of the running routine.

I believe you need to have a goal and a training plan to get there. That’s why I’m here, to be that voice in your head to encourage you to get out the door. You always feel better after a run: you just need to start.

Maybe you have just completed our beginners’ Get Running course, or maybe it’s a while since you have run. You may already be running 5km reasonably comfortably.

Either way, if you need a focus for the next few months, my aim is to introduce some fun, variety and enjoyment to your running routine and make it more tempting to go out for a run.

I need you to commit to getting out the door three times a week. Our starting point for this programme is a 25-minute slow run. So if you are not quite there yet, I suggest you get back to our beginners’ 5km programme, build up to that and then join us here. Doing too much too soon is a fast-track to injury, so take your time in building up the distance.

Each week we will send you an email with your homework for the week. As part of the email, you will receive a video in which I explain what’s on for the week ahead. I’m going to ask you to do three runs a week. Each run will entail being on your feet between 25 and 40 minutes, but we will have lots of variety over the eight weeks. Doing the same run every time can become boring; we all need to change it around, to challenge ourselves and to see and feel an improvement in order to keep motivated.

Week 1 is all about getting back into the running routine. In this week’s training plan you will see three runs. Space these out throughout the week to allow your body to recover between each run. Don’t overdo it this week; it’s all about getting started.

 

Distance

One of the things I’d like you to work out this week is the distance you are travelling in your 30-minute run. It can be very motivating to see how far you have travelled, and it can help you track your progress. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all.

I use a watch that tells me all the information, but there are cheaper options on smartphones, your computer at home, or even driving the car along a route to work out how far it is. You can even ask a local runner in your area for an idea of distances. I have created a list of all my favourite ways to track distance which you will see in your Week 1 email and on irishtimes.com/getrunning.

Be sure to warm up before each run with a brisk five-minute walk before you start running. At the end of your run, I would also like you to walk for five minutes to cool down and then do the stretches I have set out in this week’s video.

In summary, your plan for this week is to get started. Take a look at your training plan and see what’s ahead for you. Your main goals for this week are to get out the door three times, work out the distance you are travelling in each run and be sure to include your warm-up and cool-down.

Try your best to fit that in this week, and I’ll be back with you again next week to see how you are getting on, and to introduce some new elements into your running plan. So don’t let another few months go by: it will only be harder to get back into it. Sign up now, and let’s Get Running better over 5km.

Get Running: Stay on Track is designed for people who can run for 25-30 minutes nonstop and would like to do that three times a week.

To sign up to this, or to any of our running courses, see irishtimes.com/ getrunning. You can also keep up with us on facebook.com/irishtimesrunning, @IrishTimesRun and email us at fitness@irishtimes.com

Mary Jennings is a running coach and founder of ForgetTheGym.ie During the course of the Get Running programme, we will have regular Q&A sessions live on our website. The first will be next Monday, September 22nd, from 5-6pm. Email your queries to fitness@irishtimes.com

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