Thinking about signing up to your first-ever fun run but have no idea how you’ll go the distance? Don’t overthink it. Fun runs are a great place to start for any running newbie or someone who’s getting back into exercise. Not only are they achievable, they’re also long enough for you to push yourself and build your endurance. Here’s how to make it to the finish line come race day.

Stick to realistic goals

Never jogged more than 500m? Don’t set your sights on first place. It’s not impossible, but a lofty goal like this could leave you feeling disappointed. Instead, set realistic goals that allow you to stay motivated and on track – not feeling resentful. Maybe your goal is to run the full course without slowing to a walk. Maybe it’s making it to the end by any means necessary. If you’ve got a bit of running experience behind you, maybe you’d like to finish within a certain time frame. Keep your goals specific, measurable and achievable. Write them down and refer to them often.

Make it official

This might sound obvious, but there’s a difference between thinking about signing up and actually doing it. By registering for an event like the, Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k you give your training a purpose, which means you’re more likely to stick with it. The Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k also encourages runners to raise funds for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, providing further motivation to run for a cause greater than yourself. Moreover, the course is flat and fast, making it less daunting than a race on more challenging terrain.

Stick to a training schedule

Your training doesn’t need to be so intensive you begin to avoid it, but you do need to have a plan in mind. Aim to add the following training days into your routine to put you in the best position for race day:

Long run day: You don’t necessarily need to run the full distance of your event, but make this training session longer than your others. If you’re running a 5k, aim for a 3k long run day – but don’t be afraid to break it up with walking if you need. Easing yourself into longer distances will ensure you build your strength and endurance. Once you feel comfortable with the distance, add another kilometre.

Sprint day: Want to cruise past the other competitors? Add a sprint day into your routine. Run as fast as you can for 100m, walk back to your starting point and then repeat 10 times.

Speed play day: This is when you alternate fast running with your normal pace. It’s useful for when you want to overtake someone or give yourself an extra push without needing to stop for a break. Choose a 2-3k route and play with your speeds by sprinting for 100m then running at your usual pace for 300m. This type of training is great for increasing your overall performance, cardiovascular health, and muscle strength.

Strength training: Strength training is crucial for runners, particularly for the legs and core muscles. To ensure they are firing on all cylinders, it is recommended to incorporate strength training into your routine once or twice a week. You can use a mix of weights, resistance bands, and tubes to focus on one-legged glute bridges, lunges, and squats. You can visit your local gym to use their equipment or train at home with an online program, such as the ones offered by Flow Athletic TV.

Pay attention to your diet

You can’t fuel a fun run on processed foods and energy drinks. Ensure your plate is filled with lean protein, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (like avocado) and beans and legumes. The more colourful your plate, the greater variety of nutrients you have.

While people often talk about carb-loading before a big event, the last thing you want to do is upset your stomach, so keep your diet consistent or introduce changes gradually.

Don’t forget to recover

After each training session, no matter how long, make sure to stretch your muscles and ideally roll them out with a foam roller. This will help keep your muscles flexible and nimble for race day. Prioritise getting enough sleep for maximum energy, and after the event, be sure to cool down, rest, and most importantly take time to reflect on your achievements!

The Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10k & 5k will take place on Sunday, July 23, 2023. Registrations are open now

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