From couch to 10k. Get fit and feel the benefits.

Sunday 17 May 2015, 12:30 PM

Ricky Butler
Head of Best Practice , LifeSearch

  • Couch to 10k

If you’re a new runner, you will know only too well that running for 10 minutes at first is a real challenge. But hitting that 30-minute threshold will feel great.  Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit.

But did you know that regular running can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control?

Having the ability to run for 30 minutes without stopping is a great landmark.  Once you’ve reached this milestone anything feels possible. If you’re currently running for 5 minutes or less, it might feel like a long way off. So how can you work up to the 30-minute mark or even a 10K distance in the most efficient way possible?
Here are eight top tips to help:

Don’t rush.

Be realistic about how long it will take you to move up to 30 minutes of running. It’s best to take your time and make steady progress as you will experience a much greater sense of achievement when you hit your goal. 

Set clear targets.

Break down your objective into incremental steps – it will look more manageable and you will feel motivated to get started.

Increase your pace.

One of the quickest ways to improve your ability to run for longer at a reasonable pace is to run for shorter distances at a faster pace.  Bursts of fast running can be anything from ten seconds to a few minutes as you push yourself.

Respect recovery time.

Make sure you allow your body time to recover when you map your running plan. It can be tempting to run all the time when you’re making progress, but recovery time is crucial.

Mix it up.

Try other forms of exercise in your schedule to improve your fitness.  Too much running can lead to muscle imbalance and weakness, so try to vary your schedule with other cardiovascular exercise like swimming.

Stretch it out.

Make sure you stretch out after every run and include regular stretching as part of your everyday routine. Following training, stretch out your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Listen to your body.

As you increase the volume of your running, listen to what your body tells you. It’s not guaranteed that anything will begin to ache, but an increase in volume of exercise can highlight weak spots so it’s best to be aware.  

Track your progress.

It can be motivating to track your progress. Use an old-fashioned pen and paper or a new bit of technology to achieve your 30 minutes of non-stop running.

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