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How to be ready to run 5k in 5 weeks - week one
Daily fitness rituals can transform your health. Doing something on a daily basis to keep fit will boost your energy, keep you supple, improve heart and lung function and the best of all those benefits are free.
Trouble is, it's often very difficult to find the time, or maintain the discipline to do something each and every day.
But how about once per week? Do you think you could find the time for what will take on average, less than it does to watch East Enders or Coronation Street, is guaranteed to make you feel healthy and increase energy for the rest weekend, an event so well organised that it will be there waiting for you every Saturday morning at the same time, and one that will put you alongside other runners with a very similar fitness ability as you?
Sound good? If so, you need to go online and look up your local parkrun - taking place every Saturday at 9am.
And if you're thinking that sounds like just what you need, but fitness might not be up to it just yet, read on.
For the next five weeks I'm going to give you the fitness tips and ammunition you need that will confidently put you on the start line and help you burst through to the finish.
Start at the bottom and let's presume your fitness levels are pretty poor.
You work hard, sat at a desk all week and usually finish about 5pm. That gives you plenty of time to get out and establish a routine.
And that's the key. To be able to cross the finish line of any race, you've got begin at the very start. Not the start line of the race, but start with finding and sticking to a very simple routine.
For the next five weeks I'm going to suggest a routine that, if you follow it, is guaranteed to put you on the start line of the parkrun and not only that, will let you cross it in less time than it takes to watch a typical TV show.
First thing you're going to need is the right clothing.
It's getting dark on a night, so if you're planning on doing training before or after work, best to play it safe and go for the high visibility gear.
You're going to want know that you've got the right clothing. There's actually lots of research into the idea that wearing clothing that makes you look and feel great when you active, will stimulate you enough to want to do it more.
I work on the theory that if I have the right clothing when I run or cycle, then I'm going to be warm enough at the start.
And if you're anything like me, you'll know the biggest temptation just to sit on the couch and fall out of your routine is when that cold wind gets up, or the temperature gauge on your car shows only one digit instead of two.
If you haven't ran for a while. Trainers are important. Avoid the temptation to find an old pair stuffed away in the cupboard somewhere or worse yet, those plimsoles you might like to wear with your jeans. Big mistake.
It's great for a physio (because you'll end up in front of me), but not great for your health. You need cushioned running trainers.
We've got you kitted out. Now for simple routine.
Always begin with a warm up. And to achieve this, put on all of your nice new running gear and simply stand in your porch or hallway and jog on the spot for seven or eight minutes. A warm up is that simple. You're just preparing your body for activity.
Despite every bit of sports science, technology, and medical advancements that have taken place in the last 20 years in sport, I'm going to ask you to start with a time proven, good old-fashioned method of improving fitness incrementally.
And it's called "run a lamppost, walk a lamppost". My mam introduced me to it when I was about ten, and it still remains one of the simplest ways to begin to get fit.
Step outside after warming up and for 15 minutes only, every other night, operate the 'run a lamp post, walk a lamp post' method of getting fit.
Once you've had a week of doing that and getting a base line level of fitness, we'll push on.
And if you need any further instructions for the "run a lamp post, walk a lamp post routine", email email@example.com.