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Training for your running challenge


  • While you don't need to buy lots of expensive gear, the right running shoes are an important investment. Shoes that are suitable for your running style, foot type, and level of experience will help you run comfortably and injury-free.

  • Take some time to train in different seasons and types of weather. During the rain our clothes get wet and things tend to chafe or rub. If you are prone to certain getting sore, apply some Vaseline to avoid any discomfort.

  • If you're running more than 30 minutes, you will need to rehydrate on whilst running. A general rule of thumb is to drink around 150ml of fluid every 20 minutes. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), try to include a sports drink to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).

  • Nothing builds running strength better than hills. Running inclines forces your muscles to work harder with each step; as you grow stronger, your stride becomes more efficient and your overall speed improves.

Before you start doing anything please observe this cardinal rule:
You should only stretch warmed up muscles - so before you do any of these stretches please do a light warm-up first. Don’t stretch too far, all you should feel is a slow pull, never any pain. Never bounce, always stretch slowly. People with old injuries or bad backs should be especially careful whilst exercising and stretching.

  • Hamstrings Stretch - Runners are notorious for tight hamstrings that can cause lower back problems and lead to pulled muscles. Lie on your back with your legs extended and your back straight. Keep your hips level and your lower back down on the floor. Bend your right knee towards your chest, keeping your left leg extended on the floor. Slowly straighten your right knee, grabbing the back of your leg with both hands. Pull your leg towards your gently while keeping both hips on the floor. Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. To reduce the intensity of this stretch, bend the knee of the stretching leg.
  • Quadriceps Stretch - Stretching the quads forces your hamstrings to contract, helping them get stronger. It's important to have strong and flexible quads since these muscles help lift your knees and increase your speed. Stand tall, holding onto a chair or wall for balance if necessary (not pictured). Keep your feet hip-width apart, your back straight and your feet parallel. Reach back and grab your left foot in your left hand, keeping your thighs lined up next to each other and left leg in line with the hip (not pulled back behind you).Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Calf Stretch - Flexible calf muscles can improve your ability to increase the length of your stride, which results in increased speed. Loose calf muscles also take some of the burden away from your shins as you bring your trailing leg forward when running, helping prevent shin pain or shin splints. Stand facing a wall, about 12 inches away from it. Extend your arms in front of your shoulders to place your hands flat on the wall, keeping the elbows bent. Keeping both feet flat, step or slide your left foot (pictured) back, lengthening your left leg and straightening your arms. You should feel the stretch in the calf of the back (straight) leg. The more your lower your heel to the floor, and the farther you slide your straight leg behind you, the deeper you will feel this stretch. Breathe deeply and hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch sides.

ExercisesWhatever your level of fitness you should comfortably be able to build from nothing to running continuously for 30 minutes in the space of eight weeks. All you need to do is make a commitment to run at least three times a week and follow this simple run-walk programme which will gradually ease you towards the goal.

A few things to bear in mind:
Allow at least a day between runs when you begin. If in doubt, slow down. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run. Respecting your body is the best route to progression. Walk purposefully, and be strict with your run/walk timings. Don’t be afraid to repeat a week, or drop back a week. Everyone’s different.

Example Schedule

Week 1 Run 1 min, walk 90 secs Repeat 8x per run Run 3x a week
Week 2 Run 2 mins, walk 1 min Repeat 7x per run Run 3x a week
Week 3 Run 3 mins, walk 1 min Repeat 6x per run Run 3x a week
Week 4 Run 5 mins, walk 2 mins Repeat 4x per run Run 3x a week
Week 5 Run 8 mins, walk 2 mins Repeat 3x per run Run 3x a week
Week 6 Run 12 mins, walk 1 min Repeat 3x per run Run 3x a week
Week 7 Run 15 mins, walk 1 min Repeat once per run Run 3x a week
Week 8 Run 30 minutes continuously Run 3x a week

Most people taking part in charity events should be increasing their endurance before they start thinking about increasing their strength. If at any time during any of the exercises you feel faint or dizzy you should stop immediately and seek medical advice.


What you eat when you start to train will impact on your energy levels both during exercise and at rest. Initially while the training is at a low weekly mileage it would be best to concentrate on eating in a regular pattern and trying to reduce your daily intake of saturated fats. This includes less fried foods and dairy products as these will counter any training you start to do.

There's really no such thing as a specialised runner's diet. The type of diet that is good for runners is the same healthy diet as that generally recommended for everyone. A healthy diet is one that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and sufficient but not excessive in protein. That translates to about 60 percent of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat, and 15 percent from protein. Beware the faddish 40/30/30 diet or the Atkins diet. While many have lost weight following these diets, they are very poor for runners who would find themselves sluggish from the diminished energy stores of such a low-carbohydrate diet. We recommend runners follow a high-energy, high-carbohydrate diet. For most, the 60/25/15 diet is a good rule of thumb.

Fluids are another area in which you will have to increase your intake as you will start to lose more from your system by sweating; this is simply combated by drinking a lot more. You can also increase your energy levels through the intake of isotonic drinks or concentrated fruit juices, some people find these work very well and the psychological effect by itself is often enough to make them worthwhile. If you intend to use these on the event itself it is a good idea to get your body used to them while training.