Congratulations! You have taken the first step to start improving your general health and fitness just by purchasing this E-book. Having the right mind-set and thinking positively is such a big part of running and, by motivating yourself to get active; you’ve already proven that you have a real desire to be a fitter, healthier and better you.
I’ve been running for quite some time now, years and years in fact, and I still get a real buzz from slipping on my trainers and hitting the road or trail or wherever my run takes me on that day. But I was a beginner once too, everyone was. I used to think that running was a great way to lose weight and that was all I was interested in, but when I became more of a regular runner and found myself hooked on the sport I was amazed at all the advantages there are to it. It’s not just the health benefits that make running such a great activity, there are also a huge number of positive effects that running can have on your emotional and mental state. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Throughout the course of this book I will be giving you information about what, in my opinion, is the best way to go from a low activity lifestyle to running your very first 10km. If you’ve had a look through the chapter sections you’ll notice that I have also included a 5km plan. Now, it’s not essential for you to take place in a 5km event before you race double the distance. But I have found that getting involved in a 5km race is a great way to improve your confidence and to make you feel more comfortable with taking part in a longer run, especially if you have never raced before.
There are more and more 10km race events taking place, many of them for charity. You shouldn’t have any problem finding a race that is local to you (at the end of the book you will find a list of websites with race calendars). I’m sure that many of you have heard friends or relatives that have run a 10km race before talking about their experiences, you will probably have heard these finishers discussing their times and comparing speediness. I can’t re-iterate how important it is to ignore them, especially at the start of your training. Running is something that should be done for enjoyment and also for the health and fitness benefits that you receive from it. When you’re just starting out, the last thing you want to do is to start comparing yourself to other people. It’s likely that it will just make you disheartened and feeling like “Why am I even bothering? I’m never going to be as fast as Christy / Sarah / Jenny / insert name here!”
If you’re a competitive person by nature (like me) then I know this is going to be hard for you. But your main concern should be getting yourself off the couch and out running, be that in the gym or on the road or in a park. Forget about the other runners that may well whizz past you at the start of your training. Measure your performance against yourself, and yourself only, not against what the person next to you is doing. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t push yourself. But try to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for training for a 10km, that’s already more than most people do. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not breaking any world records immediately. Running is better for you than sitting on the sofa in front of the television, so focus on how well you’re doing just for getting out there. However, I would always recommend consulting a doctor before starting up a new exercise routine, especially if you don’t lead a particularly active lifestyle in general.
In this chapter I want to give you some top reasons to run and also some of the generally accepted health benefits of running. By setting yourself the challenge of running 10km you are starting on an adventure and I can guarantee that by the end of it you will feel better about yourself. So good luck and on we go!