Planning On Running Your First 10K? One Personal Trainer Shares Her Top Tips To Get You Over The Finish Line
For first time runners, a 10k run can be the start of a new exercise routine set to put you on the track to a healthier, new you.
Here at Her.ie, we’ve signed up to this year’s Women’s Mini Marathon to run on behalf of The Marie Keating Foundation. Whether running or walking, it’s time to start training on how to tackle that 10k to the finish line.
We got chatting to Amanda of BodyByrne Fitness, who gave us top training tips that will you take you from complete beginner to crossing that finish line in no time.
What would be your top training tip for people who are new runners?
So it’s really all about taking things at your own pace. What I always recommend to new clients, or to people starting out running, is to do it slowly.
So get out for a five minute warm up, incorporating some dynamic stretches like walking lunges, or heel kicks, then going into a nice walking pace. Then building it up for about five minutes.
Ideally for the first time, you should be going out for about 20 minutes. So start out with a light walk, into a run for a minute, then a walk for a minute. The best way to do it is to build it up, week on week. The aim is to be lengthening out the time you’re running and shortening your rest time in between.
So it could be a minute run, a minute walk, a minute rest and build it up. You want to build it up to the point you’re doing a full ten minutes of running.
For a first time runner, who might even just be starting their training tonight, how long would you recommend for their first session?
Let’s say 20 minutes. Your first five minutes will be a warm up. So we’re talking about a steady walking pace and building it up to a fast walking pace.
Then 10 minutes of a light jog for one minute, followed by one minute of walking rest, followed by a five minute cool down walk, to bring your heart rate down slowly. That will build you up to tackle longer distances.
It just means that your body learns how to pace itself. That way you don’t go flat out for five minutes and then feel wiped.
Building it up slowly makes it a lot easier, so I’d say 20 minutes.
So after week one, what would you hope to see someone build on from their first week in training? What improvements would you hope to see?
The first week of training is always going to be the hardest. So week one, you’re going to probably go out on Monday, so then you should take a rest for a day or two and go out either on Wednesday or Thursday.
Be careful to take some rest because you’ll probably feel like your leg or calf muscles are a little bit tight. Aim to get three sessions in your first week of training, with decreasing rest periods during your 10 minute block in the middle.
Obviously, week one you recommend people to take a break between sessions, but how many rest periods should you be taking from week two onwards?
So after any exercise routine, you’re always going to get an onset of muscle spasm or tiredness. It is a case of buidling it up, so usually the fitter you get, the shorter that rest period is required.
So say you start with a two day rest period for the first week, keep that up for the first two weeks. Then on the third week, if you go for a run on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you should be ok to include a light walk on the Sunday too.
What advice do you have for anyone who notices their legs are tight, or they have really bad soreness in their muscles?
You really have to start with a good warm-up. There’s no point in going out and going straight into a run. Then follow-up with some dynamic stretches – so this just means stretches while you’re still moving.
While you might see people out doing a hamstring stretch, it’ll actually help ease pain more if you warm up the body than keep it still. Try something like long strides, arm circles or leg swings to help loosen everything up.
A great warm up is hip circles. This is just where you are standing feet at shoulder width apart with your hands on hips, and swing your hips like a hula hoop in one direction, and then in the opposite direction to warm up the joints.
This will stop your hip flexors feeling tight before you run and then at the end of the session, be sure to stretch out all your muscles, with 30 seconds per warm down.
We’ll all feel some muscle soreness, but proper stretching will make the difference for how sore you’ll feel the next day.
For anyone who finds their muscle soreness is particularly bad, even with stretches, what would you recommend?
It’s important to remember that if this is the first time you’ve started running, your body is going to be a little bit in shock.
In between sessions, if you can work in some basic interval training like weights or squats or lunges at home in 30 second squats, you will build up those muscles and they will become stronger.
Remember, the stronger they are, the less you’ll feel the impact of your run when you’re on rest days as well.
What is the usual recovery time if a muscle is pulled or strained?
For normal muscle soreness, you’re looking at two to three days but if you have a pull or a strain I’d suggest staying off it for two to three weeks.
If you’re not sure how bad it is, test it by walking up and down on some stairs.
If you feel a twinge in everyday walking, that’s when you need to give yourself a few weeks of rest. If it’s more severe, and you’re finding it hard to put weight on it, it’s going to be six to eight weeks before you can put any real weight on it.
If you have a mild strain, but you don’t want to completely stop training, consider going on a bike or a cross trainer for a low-impact exercise that shouldn’t put too much pressure on your injury.
For someone starting out, is it best to run on grass, beaches or concrete?
So obviously running on impact isn’t great for joints, especially if you’re running with little ankle injuries or niggly knees.
What I’d suggest is running on a mix between grass and incorporate some concrete as well, because obviously on race day, if you do all your running on grass and then you go onto road, it’s very different on your training.
It feels different on the body, so incorporate some grass and concrete. For most people running on concrete, they won’t get an injuries, but for anyone with any small or recurring injuries, maybe go to a park and do some laps on the grass and then a few laps on the concrete.
If you’re in training, you’ll notice you're probably feeling hungrier. What are the best snacks to be eating that won’t ruin your training?
It’s important to say that everyone is different to how close to a training session they can eat.
Some people can eat right beforehand and be fine – other people have to leave it an hour before they can go out and run. For most people I’d recommend to have a piece of fruit 45 minutes before a session, for a slow release of carbs.
Bananas are also great for hydration, or trail mix, where it’s a light snack incorporating both dried fruit and nuts, which will give you energy.
Coming into warmer weather, you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated. If I’m going for a run, I’ll increase my water intake up until an hour before it, and then not have anything for the 15 minutes before I set out.
If it’s a very warm day, maybe bring a small bottle of water to sip slowly at during the run, but it’s probably best to wait and make sure you’re properly hydrated after the run.
So is it better to hold off on drinking water while running?
I would say for first-time runners, to try and hold off on drinking water while you run. Just while you’re starting out, you can feel like it’s swishing around in your stomach and it can be quite off-putting.
For beginners, drinking water while you’re running can also make you feel quite nauseous, so I’d say to hold off and just make sure you’re hydrated before you take off.
How often should you be eating while training?
Typically speaking, when you’re training you want to be eating three good meals throughout the day and two good snacks in between. If you like to plan your day, aim for breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, and then either dinner and a late-evening snack, or an evening snack and then dinner.
Don’t worry about eating later at night when you’re training, as you’re burning it off and just re-fuelling your body.
So what’s the best way to approach training in the final days before the Women’s Mini Marathon?
So I’d say to keep up your regular running schedule, but make your last day of training the Friday night or Saturday before the race. Then taking it easy on Saturday/ Sunday means you’ll be perfectly rested for the race on Monday.
Food wise, don’t try anything new. Stick to what you have been doing, and try eating as clean as possible.
Avoid processed food and eat slow-releasing carbs like porridge for breakfast, snacking on fruit, or even snack on something like yoghurt and fruit for a balance of nutrients. Try have a healthy balance between the carb source, a protein source and a healthy fat in all your meals.
Just remember that the bank holiday weather tends to be a bit warmer, so stay hydrated. A tip to make sure you’re getting enough fluid is to weigh yourself before your run, and then when you come back. So if you go out and you weigh 70kg, and you come back and weigh yourself at 69kg, you’ve lost a kilo of fluid.
So the rule is to replace it with 150%. So you’ll need to replenish your body with 1.5l of water to stay hydrated.
Finally, what would be a good time for somebody starting out looking to run 10k?
Well, for starters the mini marathon is usually quite jam-packed, but if you’re aiming to run or jog it, I’d say aim for just under 70 minutes. That’s roughly 7minutes per km, which is a good steady pace.
Just remember to stick at your own pace. Don’t be looking at other runners around you. Once you keep up your own routine you’ll make it through to the end.
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