Fitness Wellness

From the Sofa to 5 Kilometers: How to Prepare For Your First Fun Run

Ready for your next challenge but aren’t sure where to start? We chat to Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic and get his tips to prepare for your first fun run.

Whether you haven’t trained for a while, or you are just excited to set a new goal, there is no doubt that having an event to train yourself up for is a great way to build healthy habits, motivation, and to simply having something fun to look forward to. So if you are new to running, here are my top tips to help you prepare for the big event.

Sign up to an event

The first step is to sign up to an event so that you have a date that you need to be ready by. The Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k/5k has an awesome 5 kilometer track, that is flat and fast. It is brilliant for someone who is new to running, or for someone who wants a fast time. If you want to run for a cause, they have partnered with the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, so you can raise much needed funds for their research. 

Build up your distance gradually

1 x long run day. Start with a 1-2 km long run if you are new to running. Run or walk it, just try to finish the distance. Do this for two weeks, then add an extra 500m to your long run day. Keep upping the distance gradually.

1 x sprint training day. Mark out around 100m. Sprint up, walk back. Do this 6-10 times. When you do a fun run, you will need to sprint to get around people, and to the finish line. The sprint training helps you practise that.

1 x speed play day. For this session, run 1-2 km, depending on where you are at with your training. Alternate between running at your normal running pace, and slowing right down. The idea is to play with you speeds, to get your body comfortable with “switching gears” mid run.

1-2 days in the gym. Resistance training is always important  so make sure you keep it up. Some great exercise for runners are the ones that work your legs separately, as when you run, you are on one leg at a time. So things, lunges, side lunges, TRX one-leg squats. You also want to work your core and your postural muscles, as you want to maintain good posture when you run. Poor posture can become uncomfortable very fast. 

Consistency is key

Doing one training session, and then not training again for 2 weeks, is not going to help you prepare for a fun run. It is important that you are consistent, as the point of the plan is to help you improve  and get stronger over time. Even if you just train 3 days per week, that is perfectly fine, but you need to consistently show up, or you will be starting from scratch, rather than building up your body’s ability to go the distance. 

Take your recovery seriously

What you take from your body, you need to give back to it. Recovery is so important and should be factored into your plan. The basics are ensuring that you get enough sleep, eat well, hydrate, and stretch pre and post workout. I would also recommend getting a foam roller or fascia ball. You can get one from Medifit online, or at a pharmacy. Also, get massages if you feel that you need them. 

Taper off before the event day

You don’t want to do your hardest workout before the event. If you do that, you are likely to be sore and tired. I would halve the workload that you do the week leading into the event. Keep your body moving, but don’t go to hard. Take your runs easy. Don’t lift too much in the gym, but still attend as you don’t want your body to get stiff.

Prep everything you need in advance

Fun runs usually start early in the morning, so I like to prepare myself the night before, so I am not scrambling the morning of. I have my clothes out, my running bib out, my shoes, water, and anything else I need.

I never wear new shoes the day of a fun run. Event day is the worst time to get a blister, so always wear shoes and clothes that you have worn before and that you feel comfortable with. If you are someone who often chafes when you run, consider bringing some nipple tape with you- this is probably more an issue for the guys. There is also an underwear brand called Step One who have an UltraGlyde panel which reduces friction and therefore the risk of chafing, if that is an issue you face.

Ben Lucas, Flow Athletic

There you have it, my top tips for helping you prepare for your first fun run. The biggest thing is, have fun! The day is always a vibe, with the atmosphere, the entertainment, and the challenge. Make sure you take the time to enjoy it. 

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