It's not too late to train for the Simply Health Great Manchester Run, even if you're a complete beginner

THE Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is happening on 19 May. If you've been thinking about taking up running, this is a fantastic goal to work towards. But you'd be forgiven for thinking that at this late stage, a 10K is a little ambitious. 

 The good news is, it really isn't too late to train yourself up to do it – even if, at the moment, you don't run at all.

 The organisers have put together an eight week run-walk training plan that will take you to a decent fitness level by the time race day comes around. 

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Because although it's called a 'run', many competitors (including us) will complete the 10K with a combination of running and walking. We might not be as fast as the experienced runners, but we'll be challenging ourselves just as much – if not more so because it's new and different and way out of our comfort zone.

 The benefits of running are well known: the big draw for us is the fact (and it is a fact) that it improves your mood through the release of endorphins. But it also helps you sleep, gives you more energy, and boosts your body confidence. Put that way, we wonder why we're not out there running right now. 

And the experience of completing the Manchester 10K will make you feel, frankly, amazing. Picture yourself running whilst anthems boom out and the crowd cheers you on. Not to mention the satisfaction you'll get from knowing you accepted the challenge, trained for it, and achieved your goal.

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But how do you get started when even walking fast to catch a train leaves you out of breath? Slowly is the answer. Here are five tips from the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run organisers themselves:

Becoming a runner

1 Be patient

Don't try to do too much, too soon. It takes time for your body to adapt to the demands of running, so don't rush it. Enjoy the journey!

2 Mix walking and running

Never view walking as a failure. In fact, mixing walking and running is a very sensible approach to training because it allows you to be out 'on the road' a little longer than you would be if you were forcing yourself to run the whole time. For example, you might be able to run for ten minutes, but if you put a one minute walk break in after every three to four minutes of running, you'll likely find you can continue for fifteen or 20 minutes. Take a look at our run/walk training plan.

3 Wear the right shoes

A wardrobe full of brand spanking new Lycra kit is not necessary for a new runner! The only piece of equipment you really need is a pair of comfortable, supportive running shoes that meet your individual needs. Go to your local specialist running store for advice and assessment.

4 Go easy (conversation pace)

The most important objective for a new runner is 'time on feet' - so there's little point in heading off at breakneck speed if you can only keep it up for a few minutes. Slowing your pace to a level at which you can hold a conversation will enable you to keep going for longer.

5 Schedule rest days

Do not run every day. It's while your body is at rest that it makes the adaptations needed to allow you to run faster and further - so if you try to run too often, you won't give it enough of an opportunity to make these changes. Try running on alternate days to ensure you make progress without overdoing things. Alternatively, our training plans schedule in appropriate rest days according to the specific event you are training for.

For more tips, read the full article 'Becoming a Runner' and take a look at the train and prepare section on their website. It covers everything you might want to know such as 'What to Wear' and 'Fitting Running Into Your Life'.

The eight week training plan shows you what you need to do each week to be ready for the Manchester 10K. And we're pleased to say, it's very do-able. Take a look. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

And don't forget to book your place for the big day itself on 19 May. It's a brilliant incentive to get started with your training and to keep going with it. 

 One last thing: the eight week training plan starts Monday 25 March. That's next week.

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