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Fitness & Health

24th Mar 2017

Couch to 10k: Top tips to prepare for next month’s Virgin Media Night Run


Brought to you by Virgin Media.

Get your Rocky soundtrack ready!

It’s less than a month to the Virgin Media Night Run on 23 April and things are starting to get serious. Of course, JOE will be facing off against our colleagues at Her in whatever the running equivalent of a grudge match is.

A grudge race? A grace?

The JOE team’s preparation is going well. We’ve nearly finished our training montage video and we’re starting on celebration routines next week.

If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time to get yourself ready to take part. Whether you’re planning to shave a few minutes of your personal best or just want to make it around the course, there’s always a great atmosphere at the Virgin Media Night Run.

So here are a few pointers to help you get up to speed ahead of the 10k event.

Have a plan

Think about what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there in terms of training sessions and time. It’s easy to let enthusiasm get the better of you but be realistic and come up with a plan that will fit into your lifestyle.

Get the right gear

This isn’t a fashion parade. Get a proper pair of running shoes that will give your feet the support that they need. If you’re running on the roads, think high visibility. If in doubt, channel your inner 90s raver and whack on something fluorescent.

Warm up and warm down

This isn’t an alternative Karate Kid technique. It’s common sense.

The most important part of any training session or run is the warm up and warm down. This helps to prevent injury and gets your circulation going.

Ease yourself into it

You don’t have to run a 10k on your first practice session. Going hell for leather in your first training session is probably a good way to banjax your hamstrings. Slow and steady wins the race. Start slow and ramp up from there.

Don’t overdo it

Trying to cram two months training into one month is a recipe for disaster. Recovery time is as important as the time you put in on the treadmill or roads. Your muscles need time to rebuild if you want to get the benefits of all that training.

To run faster, train faster

If you are looking to slash your personal best, you need to push yourself in training. Do one training session a week where you try alternating between hard running and normal running.

So start with a 10 minute run at your normal pace then do four two-minute intervals of hard running with two minutes of normal running in between each hard run. You can build on this as you find yourself getting fitter.

Extend your weekly runs

Running 5k three times a week for the next month is all well and good but you really should be ramping up the distance to prepare yourself for the big one. Try and add a bit more to your weekly runs to ease yourself up to the 10k and be as prepared as you can be.

Find out what works for you

Training isn’t all about clocking up miles. It’s also a chance to find out what does or doesn’t work for you. This applies to what you eat before running, whether you want to listen to tunes or whether you’re a social runner who needs to talk to someone.

Do a trial run

Knowing what to expect will be a big help when it comes to race day as you can put what you’ve learned into practice. If you can, do a dry run of the race at the same time of night and test out your routines and habits. You’ll learn some invaluable lessons from it.

Have fun!

This is something that you’re meant to enjoy so don’t let your nerves overwhelm you. Take a few breaths when you get to the line and remember that you’ve put the work in. Stay focused and relaxed and you’ll have a great time.

This year’s race will start off at 9pm on Sunday, 23 April. For more information or to register for the Virgin Media Night Run, check out their website.

Brought to you by Virgin Media.