It can be hard to stay motivated when running solo. Cold winters, shin splints, boring playlists... sometimes getting up and out can be the hardest part. So what about joining a running club? Have you ever thought about it? What are the benefits, and are there any drawbacks?
Running alone can be dreadfully lonely, especially on the long winter nights when you find yourself plodding along for 10 miserable miles. But who said running has to be boring? If you join a running club, you'll be among like-minded people who may be training for a specific event or just out for a fun jog with their friends. You'll meet people from your town who you may never have met otherwise, so it's a great opportunity to make friends.
There's been countless times that I've set out for a run but ended up turning back after only a mile or two because it's too cold or I'm too tired or my legs hurt too much. But if you're running with a club, there is much more motivation to keep going. You can chat to your running buddies to keep your mind occupied and you can explore new routes, which will be covered in the next point.
When I run, I'm very guilty of always going the same way, which can get very boring after a while. I'm not very adventurous with my runs because I'm never too sure of where will be safe to run, or if the route will even have pavement the whole way along. I certainly never bother to drive out to a run location; I always start and finish at home. But by joining a running club you will be encouraged to try new routes that you would never have even dreamt of before. The best part is that the distance will already be tried and tested so all you will have to do is turn up and run! You may experience runs through woodlands or off-road for the first time which is a great added bonus.
Safety In Numbers
Running alone, especially in the evening, can feel a little unsafe. Running with a club means you will be a lot safer in all aspects as there will be so many people running alongside you. Traffic is also more likely to stop to let you cross the road if there is a large number of you, so your run will be less interrupted if you are running on busy streets or in a city.
Doors to other events
Before I joined a running club, I never even thought about running a race or joining the local Parkrun. By being a member of a club, you will end up being motivated to train for events such as 10ks and half marathons, which are always more enjoyable when you have comrades to cheer you on. Feeling part of a team is a fantastic feeling.
Choosing the right club
There may well be more than one running club in your town or city, so choosing the right one is fairly important as they are not all the same. In my town for example, we have one club which is free of charge to be a member of and it is very much a relaxed group of people who love to run for fun and eat cake afterwards! There is another club which is on the other end of the spectrum, who take running very seriously, so they motivate each other in a very different way. This club has an annual fee, however being an affiliated club means you get cheaper entry to races so after a while your fee should pay for itself. Run Together has a list of nationwide running clubs, or doing a simple Google search will provide you with local clubs around you.
If you don't feel ready to join a run club just yet, why not try Parkrun? This weekly event is a 5k run held in your local park (you can find your closest Parkrun here) It is a growing community, with hundreds of participants showing up each week at each location! It is completely free of charge and you can be of any ability, many people just walk the course. It's great for those trying to improve their running as it is chip timed so you get an official finish time every time you turn up and run. The atmosphere is incredibly supportive and it will allow you to meet like-minded people from your local area who are all there for the same reason - to get fit and enjoy the process!
So what are you waiting for! Let's get running!
Having booked the Southend Triathlon in for 2017 I was keen to get a couple of events in beforehand. For me, it's important to have these smaller races in the diary before a big event to give myself a good assessment on where my fitness levels are. It’s equally important to be race prepared; racing is very different to training and psychologically it’s important I get in ‘race mode’ as often as possible! I have also set myself personal goals this year focused on improving my running times one of which is to get a sub 35 minute 10k.
The first event that I took part in was the Rayleigh 10k. This was a new event for 2017 and attracted me as it was entirely off road on bridleways, through woods, and around fields. The route itself was very technical with lots of tree roots, corners, gates, and uneven ground to manoeuvre around - not to mention the horses! The organisers did a good job spraying arrows on the floor to avoid confusion but navigation was still tricky in places. There were a number of hills but none that were too steep, and what goes up must come down meaning faster running on the downhill parts! I seem to thrive in these conditions and thoroughly enjoyed it.
My training has been going pretty well with some very tough structured sessions focused on helping me reach my running goals, but as we lined up at the start I spotted that there were at least three other runners that I knew could beat me (and had done so a few times!) The training plans paid off and after being part of a two-man lead for the first 6k, I noticed myself edging ahead. I wasn’t sure if this was due to me speeding up or the other runner slowing down, but I fought hard not to look behind me to check the gap.
I was running in a Sundried Ortler T-shirt. These do great on race day as they are light-weight and super comfortable, as well as having sweat-wicking technology which kept me dry under the pressure of racing!
I finished the race in first place with a time of 36:06. I had set a 35-minute target but given the tricky terrain, I was happy with the time. I was 20 seconds ahead of second place who I hung onto for the first 6k.
The race was organised very well for a first event and it was a great course making the most of the surrounding woods around Hockley and Cherry Orchard Way. There were 300 runners and a good number of local running clubs represented.
Now on to the Rochford 10k on the 14 May and most importantly the Southend Triathlon on the 28 May!About the author: Chris has been running seriously since 2009 and has completed many 5ks, 10ks and half marathons since then. He has also competed in a number of Triathlons from sprint distance to half iron distance. He has a busy 2017 planned and has already won both the Hadleigh 10k with a five-year course record and the Rayleigh 10k.
Last weekend, personal trainer and presenter Laura Sheriff took part in one of the toughest 10ks out there, the Total Warrior 10k. We found out how she got on.
How are you feeling after completing the race?
Like a warrior! Ready for the next challenge!
What type of training did you do to prepare for this event?
I actually did very little training because I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery. It was all a little last minute involving HIIT workouts, a few runs, and circuits at the gym.
What was the atmosphere like on race day?
Brilliant! Everyone was game for a great time and there was a real sense of community. Most people who do these races get hooked and do them time and time again.
What was the hardest obstacle you faced?
The ice bucket. You have to drop into a tank filled with ice and put your head under to come out of the other side. It literally takes your breath away!
Laura posing with her other half Craig Phillips, right, who is a well-loved TV personality.
Who was better, you or Craig?
I’d love to say me, but I’d actually say that Craig needed a medal. He had to hoist me over some of the larger obstacles to make sure I didn’t overuse my shoulder. Having said that I would agree that I won hands down in the style stakes.
How did you find racing in the Sundried tights?
At first, I was a little worried how they would fair in the muddy, soaking wet environment. Were they going to stretch and go baggy? But actually, they pretty much kept as perfect a fit as they did when I first put them on! Fashion and performance, what more could a girl want?
Anything you would change if you were to do it all over again?
I’d obviously like my shoulder to be stronger but I’d also like to go for a time.
Congratulations on passing your first week of 10 weeks to 10k, no doubt you’ll have experienced some aches and the voices in your head telling you to stop, but you pushed through and here we are at week 2 already.
We’re still settling you into a running regime, so there’s no big changes here, but with each week you should feel stronger and healthier, ready to battle through another weeks training.
Before the go:
Assess your aches
Where you ache the most can give hints as to how you run, depending on how you stride and how your foot lands will affect where you ache. It's hardly surprising that about 15 percent of all running injuries strike the foot—with each step, our feet absorb a force several times our body weight.
Forefront strikers land on the front of their foot, meaning their calves are under constant tension. Running with too much reliance on the forefoot and toes can cause muscle strain due to the additional work placed on the lower leg. If you are suffering from tight calves, try foam rolling to release tension and try to practice a neutral running stride on you next run, eventually as your muscles strengthen this will ease.
As a heel striker, you’re running technique places more stress on the skeletal frame, which can lead to aching joints and in particular aching heels. To compensate for this running technique if it’s causing you issue, you could try investing in a running shoe designed for those who run with a heel strike, these will have extra support and protection around the heels.
If pain becomes significant, you can try to gradually re-adjust your running technique. Start by trying to land further forward on your foot on shorter distance runs. Where the technique will be unfamiliar, it’s best to stick to shorter distances to avoid injury whilst your body readjusts. You could also try running in a barefoot running shoe, which will encourage you to run with more of a forefront strike naturally.
Week 2 Plan
This week follows a similar format to your first week, with 3 runs on days 1, 3 and 5.
Run 4, Day 1
Your second round of intervals decreases your rest time from 2 minutes, to 1 minute 30, so for this week after spending your usual 3-5 minutes warming up you’re going to complete 10 flat-out sprints.
After completing a 5 minute warm up, start with your first interval, running as fast as you possibly can for 30 seconds. This will be followed by 1 minute 30 seconds of recovery jogging. 1 down, 9 to go. This should take around 20 minutes.
Recovery: Cool down for at least 5 minutes. This should include slowing your pace down into a walk gradually and then stretching. Skipping stretching can lead to extra stiffness and soreness so make sure you get yours done.
Run 5, Day 3
A Tempo run is designed to keep you running the duration of your session at a challenging and constant pace, usually on your rate of perceived exertion scale, this will be a 7/10, with race pace being 9 or 10/10. The rate of perceived exertion scale, put simply, is you giving your level of effort a number on a scale of 1-10. 1 being with little to no effort, barely more than sleeping and 10 being flat out sprinting as though your life depended on it. Cast your ego aside and be honest with yourself when scoring this number to get the best results.
Run 6, Day 5
For distance runs, your focus should be on running without stopping. Your first distance run was 5k, but this week we’re adding an extra kilometre and taking you up to 6k.
n a heel strike running, your skeletal frame (bones/cartilage) take most the force. In a fore/mid-foot strike your muscles absorb more of the force.
Week 2 Tips:
Strengthen the calves with eccentric heel drops: Stand with the balls of your feet on a step. Rise up on both feet. Once up, take your stronger foot off the step and slowly lower back down until your toes are pointing up to the ceiling and your calves are stretched, repeat on the other leg.
Remember to always run safely. This means remaining visible at all times, Sundried’s Ruinette tights feature reflective strip lining to the thighs to enhance visibility and a secure back pocket for valuables. We encourage you to wear high visibility clothing if you are running in low lighting conditions.
Listen to your body, now’s the time when you’re in prep to get your technique right and learn what works for you. Using the REP scale is a great way of judging how hard you're working if you don’t have a heart rate monitor and can help you keep focused on improving. The first few weeks will always be the hardest as your body gets more used to running - and all this additional exercise - so keep at it.
Read week 1 of 10 weeks to 10k here.
Be inspired by our Olympians and get out there and run with them on the road to Rio. This Sundried workout is designed to improve your running time and pace and get you passed the 10k finish line in just 10 weeks. We may not all be as good as the Olympians, but at Sundried we believe every step counts. Whilst you may not be the strongest or the fastest, if you train hard, you will get results.
Congratulations. You’ve decided you want to do a 10k run, well done you. Now let’s feed you all the knowledge we can to make sure you not only run 10k, but you feel great doing it.
Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll set you three challenges a week to incorporate into your training regime to get you ready for a 10k race.
10k is a great distance, sitting at 6.2 miles it’s in between the casual fun run of the 5k, but short of the time load of training for a half marathon. With the right attitude, training routine and effort, anyone can run a 10k.
Before the Go:
Planning and preparation prevents a poor performance.
Invest in the right activewear. Your activewear could be the difference between a good run, and giving up.
Try our sleeveless t shirt for summer training, featuring a bright red design this shirt has Rio vibes. Designed to keep you cool during the warmer summer months it is the perfect partner for running during warmer climates.
The right running clothes will wick sweat, keep your body cool, protect you from chafing and make you look the part. With summer on the way it’s starting to warm up so we recommend layering your clothing so you are prepared for all weather conditions - unfortunately our weather isn’t quite as good as Rio’s.
Women need to invest in a supportive sports bra, as running is high impact on the chest.
As well as finding activewear which is designed to last, the right pair of trainers is essential.
Sundried Personal Trainer Jess Tonking says: “Make sure you have decent trainers! Go to a running shop so they can assess your running style and help to choose the right pair. You don't have to necessarily buy from them as this may come at a cost but with the right trainers you have less risk of injury.”
Once you’re kitted out, it’s time to set the plan. Now, luckily for you, Sundried have got you covered, as for the next 10 weeks we will keeping you up to date with a weekly schedule to get you to 10k in 10 weeks. Don’t worry, we won’t make you run 10k in the first week and there’s no fitness test to pass, all we ask is that you follow the plan and give it your best, the rest will come.
Week 1 Plan:
Each week we recommend you complete a minimum of 3 runs. Why 3? Because 3 is the magic number of course! But really, 3 runs is simple to fit into your usual routine, it will give you time to recover and progress plus you can easily add more training should you feel the need. Your weekly routine will contain:
Run 1: Day 1
For your first run, your intervals are most likely to be between power- walking and running, however as you get fitter, these will be sprints and jogs. Interval training increases your V02 max, which is your lungs ability to uptake Oxygen and transport it around your body. Increasing this will help you last the distance in the long run.
Warm up: Spend 3-5 minutes warming the body up, this can be anything from a walk to a light jog. Circle the arms to warm up the shoulders and allow your heart rate to creep up to over 130 bpm, your heart rate training zone should correspond to your level of intensity.
Intervals: Jog for 2 minutes, Sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times, lasting a total of 25 minutes. As this is your first run the push intervals are followed by plenty of recovery to allow your heart rate to come back down in between sets.
Cool Down: Walk for 2-3 minutes before completing a minimum of 5 minutes of cool down stretches, you may want to incorporate a foam roller if you suffer from tight calves.
Run 2: Day 3
Tempo runs should be comfortably hard. You should be aiming to maintain a tough pace, for 20 minutes. For most people, a tempo run is about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than their current 5K race pace. Tempo runs, provide a direct and important benefit in longer races for runners at any level, from novice to the elite, by practising maintaining your effort at the lactate threshold you’ll be able to run faster when it comes to your 10k.
Run 3: Day 5
Your first distance run eases you in, we’re going to start with a 5k, that’s half the target running distance. Run at a steady pace as best as you can and record your time, we will be referring back to this in later weeks, so keep note! Remember that this is your first distance run and in 10 weeks, you’ll be seeing significantly different results to the ones you do now!
Sundried Trainer Tips:
At Sundried, all our members of staff are REPS level 3 personal trainers, so the office is filled with training hints, tips and advice. Each week of your training routine, we’ll throw together our favourite insights to keep you on track.
Week 1 tips:
“It’s all about mindset- compartmentalise your run! By doing this your run doesn't feel like it's such a hard slog. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, ease yourself in, follow your programme and you'll hit your running goals.” Jess, Sundried.
“Grab a running buddy, if you’ve got someone else to try and keep up with, you’ll run that little bit harder. You’re also less likely to cancel if there’s someone to let down other than yourself!” Vicky, Sundried.“Don’t try and run too far on your first go. You’ve got to pace yourself, with a 10 week programme, there’s plenty of time for your distance to grow and your speed to improve” Daniel, Sundried.