A run for your money
Melanie Angel’s advice for novice athletes hoping to convert paces into pounds
SO YOU are thinking of running a race for charity? Congratulations — just making the decision to put in the training for an endurance event deserves recognition. But don’t — er — run before you can walk, or you might well end up injured and unable to put yourself to the test you have worked so hard for.
If you are already well into your training for this April’s London Marathon, stay on track, don’t overdo your long runs, make sure you are eating and resting enough and the very best of luck to you.
If, however, you have set your sights on an autumn race, like the New York Marathon, or have just started running with a view to challenging yourself in a summer 10K or half marathon, then be patient. Build up slowly and you will be able to reach your goal easily, successfully and with-
Last year’s London Marathon raised £52.8 million for 600-plus charities
out any injuries. Whatever your level of fitness, you should be able to build from nothing to running continuously for half an hour in the space of a couple of months.
Download a beginners’ running programme from a website such as runnersworld.com which will guide you through a walk/run schedule or search online for a local running club or group that caters for beginners.
Train three times a week, gradually building up both the amount of time you run and the effort you put in. So for example, in week one you might run one minute and walk for 90 seconds, repeatingthis eight- to- 10 times. By week four, you should be running for five minutes, walking for two, repeating this four times.
In week six, try running for 10 minutes, walking for one and repeating this three times and by week eight you will find you can run for at least 25 minutes, maybe a little more. Allow at least a day between runs and keep it slow. You should be able to have a conversation as you go.
Don’t worry too much about your running style, as the key thing is to do what comes naturally and keep your body relaxed. Passers-by are not so much studying your beetroot cheeks or plodding feet as wishing they were able to run with you.
There will come a day when you start to think about a suitable race in which to make your debut, but please try not to make it a full marathon, however exciting the idea might be. If you have never run a race before, it is difficult to understand just how congested a course can become and you really do need the experience of shorter races to work out how best to break down your race into achievable sections.
The Spire Hospital Bushey 10K in July usually has around 400 participants and is a very enjoyable north London community event in which to put your training to the test.
The Royal Parks Half Marathon in October will give you a taste of what it is like to run alongside several thousand other people and the route, through three London parks, is beautiful.
When you are ready to choose your big race (which, for many, just has to be The Virgin London Marathon), the simplest and most rewarding way to enter is via a charitable organisation.
In last year’s London Marathon, around 74 per cent of all the participants ran for charity, raising a total of £52.8 million for the 600plus charities they represented, Norwood among them, which itself netted a creditable £84,000 from its 25 runners.
In fact, if you run the London Marathon for an organisation such as Norwood, you can expect support before, during and after your race, with organised training runs, an impressive technical T-shirt with your name printed on it — and even a sports therapist at the end of the race to massage your weary legs and admire your well-deserved medal.
Lauren and Leanne Silver in the 2012 London Marathon