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The benefits of running are numerous. Running can help you to lose weight and tone up for a better figure. It will also help to strengthen your heart and lungs, and reduce the risk of stroke and breast cancer . Many runners find that the exercise helps them relax and feel better within themselves. Sleeping better means runners can feel more energetic during the day, even after increasing their running. It can also be a great way to meet new people.
Keeping a training diary enables you to look back and analyse all aspects of your running. It can help you to pinpoint, for example, why you have been injured, why you have become tired, and also why you have been running your best. Looking at when you have had your best run, you can try to reproduce this by following the same pattern of training. It can also help to motivate you to keep going with your training by illustrating the good work you have done up to your current point. If you record the time taken for a run or the distance you have covered, it can show progress in terms of running speed or distance - great if your goal is to complete a set distance, or to finish an event under your goal time.
Our training plans have been created by coaches with experience of training runners of every standard from starters to world class level. The plans therefore use tried and tested methods to help runners improve in the most effective way, whilst avoiding mishaps that may lead to underpreperation, overtiredness or injury. Our Starter and Improver plans are interactive, adapting to the feedback you give after completing the planned training sessions. This makes them even more bespoke to your individual abilities and lifestyle.
There are five levels of training plan on Great Run Training. 20 Minute Challenge. This plan is for you if you have not run before or have not undertaken any physical activity for a long time. The 8 week plan is designed to get you to 20 minutes of running (or jogging, speed is entirely up to you). Starter Plans. These plans are for those who haven't done any physical activity for a long time but want to take part in an event for the first time. The plans gently increase the your training and get you in shape to enjoy your chosen event. Improver Plans. If you have completed one or two events in the past or feel you have a reasonable level of fitness these plans will guide you to a higher level of fitness and have you ready to try for a faster time at your chosen event. Challenger & Advances Plans. These plans are designed for more dedicated runners ready to train 5+ days each week, and with ambitions to finish near the front of their chosen event(s).
Select the description that best describes your current running ability on the plan selection page. Then select the event/distance you are aiming for.
Research has shown that those who enter an event are more likely to stick to their training plan because they have a specific date to target.
Generally speaking it takes less training to complete a shorter distance event. If you are aiming for your first event, a 5km or a 10km race could be a good distance to start with. You can, however, run longer events but you should give yourself the appropriate amount of time to prepare. Try following one of our training plans. Also if your lifestyle is such that it will be hard to fit in the training required for a longer event, you may find it more achievable to aim for a shorter distance.
Yes, you can do other exercise alongside your running training. This is known as cross training. As running is a relatively high impact exercise, alternative activities like swimming and cycling offer a way to have a good workout without the impact. Try not to replace runs with other activities (running is the best training for a running event) and be sure that any supplementary training isn't tiring as rest is an important part of training.
Well done. Research has shown that you are more likely to stick to a new fitness plan if you have a specific goal to target - in this case an event. Why not sign up, if you haven't already, to one of our training plans relating to your event. You should receive conformation of your place in your chosen event. If this is a Great Run event you will be sent a confirmation email. Nearer the event date you will be sent your race pack containing your race number which you must wear on your front, and a timing chip which will track your own personal time from cross the start line to crossing the fininsh line, in order to provide you with your own personalised result on the race website.
Some people like to run for a set time (and record the distance they covered in that time) while others like to run a for a set distance (and record the time taken). Both are fine, but for those just starting out, our plans use time rather than distance. This ensures that slower runners aren't trying to run for too long, risking becoming overtired or injured. The training diary will allow you to record both sets of information for each session.
Improvement will vary from person to person, even if the same training plan is followed. The important factor is to allow yourself to adapt to an increasing training load without becoming injured or overtired. Our training plans are formulated for you to do this as they are interactive, and your progress will depend on how you cope with your current training load.
When jogging or running you should be breathing through your mouth, or a combination of your nose and mouth. It is not possible to get enough air into your lungs by breathing through your nose alone. This will come naturally, don't worry about it.
Sometimes it feels like you will never reach your goal, but if you can follow a recommended training plan such as the ones here on Great Run Training, you should find that you reach your target. Our plans are interactive and will repeat a weeks training if you are finding it too difficult, or skip a week if you are finding it easy. You will get to your optimum state of fitness on the day, and this will mean that you will be able to give it your best shot. Even if you don't manage to run the whole distance it is a great achievement to finish. You can then build on your fitness for the next race, and you will almost certainly succeed.
The My Profile section on Great Run Training allows you to enter your finish time for a distance of your choice and it will convert this into an estimated finish time for another distance. If this is your first event then you can only roughly guess your finishing time from the pace of your training runs. However you may be best to concentrate on simply completing the event, and not worry about the final time. Once you have completed your first race, you will be in a position to estimate your future goals.
It is best to have done a full preparation for an event but when there is insufficient time to do this you should bear several things in mind. First of all don't try to cram more running to try and make up for lost time. The objective is to reach your optimum state of fitness on the day itself and then run to that level of fitness. How far your progress will depend on your individual state of fitness. Don't increase training unless you are coping with what you are doing.
The number of times per week that you should training depends on your current level of fitness and your goals. Generally speaking, you should train three times each week when starting out. Where you go from there will depend on your ambition and your commitment. It is important not to increase your training until you are comfortable with your current load. Take a look at our Great Run Training plans which are interactive and will adjust your training accordingly depending on your feedback.
Most clubs are very welcoming to those starting out in running and also those who do not run at a fast pace. There are also more and more informal jogging clubs starting up - you may find adverts in your local press. These are excellent at keeping new runners motivated.
Yes, running is very good for improving bone density and can decrease risks for osteoporosis-related fractures.
Sometimes the reason that people can not seem to extend their runs beyond a certain period of time is because they set off too quick. Even setting off fast for the first one or two minutes can affect the rest of the run, and you might not realise that you are doing this. Therefore, set off at a very easy pace and slowly increase to the pace you can maintain for the rest of the run. Also don't try to extend the length of the run too frequently.
A warm up is simply some gentle exercise to get the body ready for a higher intensity workout. Warming up is important because it gradually raises your heart rate, delivers oxygen to your muscles, and also raises your body and muscle temperature, making muscles more supple and your joints ready for the activity ahead. Mentally it also helps to focus your mind on the activity ahead.
A warm down, also referred to as a cool down helps your body to gradually reach its normal resting state.
For runners starting out the Great Run Training plans are 12 weeks for 5k, 16 weeks for 10k, 10 miles and half marathon, and 24 weeks for the marathon. It may be possible to train for an event in less time depending on your current level of fitness.
Sometimes when we break our usual daily routine - e.g. when we go on holiday - it can be hard to fit in training if family and other commitments fill up our days. Try to plan the next day in advance so that you can find a suitable time to go training while others are occupied with other activities. Try and think outside the box - it may be possible for others to accompany you on bikes while you run, or to set out on a walk and arrange to meet at a pre arrange spot at a set time. If possible you could do some research on the internet before you go away to find suitable routes, or choose a hotel with a gym - they are normally open from early in the morning until late at night, so it is easier to fit in your running.
It can be hard to fit training around a busy or unpredictable job, but there are things you can do to help. Is running to or from work an option? Or running in your lunch break? Perhaps you can fit in a run before leaving for work on one or two mornings each week. Take a look in our Tutorials and Guides section for loads of helpful advice and information on fitting training around a busy job.
It can be hard to fit training around a busy family life, but there are things you can do to help. Perhaps you can run after dropping the kids off at school, or maybe there are a few others that you can meet for a run and then coffee. Is running to or from work an option? It may be possible to have other family members come out with you on training runs, maybe riding their bikes. Take a look in our Tutorials and Guides section for loads of helpful advice and information on fitting training around a busy family life.
The right training pace for you is that at which you can run comfortably for the required amount of time. You should feel at the end of each run that you could do more. If you are struggling then you need to slow down. This is why our plans are based on time rather than distance. Over a period of time, as you get fitter, you will in fact cover more distance in the same time. You do not need to force this.
Sometimes it's hard to keep going with your training when the weather is miserable, or simply that work and life get in the way. Entering an event is a great way to focus the mind as you have a fixed date in the future for which you will want to be ready. Also following one of our training plans is a great motivator. You will be guided towards the correct training without having to plan anything yourself.
A warm up is used to get your body ready for a running session, and to try to reduce the risk of injury. Warm ups can differ according to your level of running and whether it is prior to training or an event. If you are going to complete a training run, then all you need to do is set off gently allowing your muscles to warm up in the early part of the run. For the more experienced runner, before training sessions and races you should complete a short jog then a few light stretches and some 100m strides at a quicker pace. You should practice these strides in a training situation don't try them out for the first time before a race.
Your cool down should consist of an easy jog after the session and followed by some gentle stretching.
It's not uncommon to feel like you get to a point in your training and then struggle to move on - progression is not necessarily going to be a straight line when plotted on a graph. Plus there are also many other factors that can influence your training such as illness, workload, family life, etc. The Great Run Training plans follow tried and tested methods and gradually increase the amount of time/distance that you run as your fitness improves. It could also be that you are setting off too fast. Always run very easily at the beginning of your run.
The best way to improve running on hills is to practice. Try selecting some more hilly routes for your training runs.
Our Great Run Training plans are designed to fit in an appropriate amount of training for your level of running. For runners doing their first few events we don't think this is necessary.
If you are just starting out then our Starter Great Run Training plan will enable you to get to your optimum level of fitness for your chosen event. If you have already completed a 10K and now want to improve your time, try our Improver plan which will take your training to the next level.
There are a number of ways to build up leg strength but for most runners the act of running will be sufficient to build leg strength. The more training you get under your belt, the stronger your legs will become. Running on hilly routes will help to increase leg strength further.
Interval training is the process of alternating short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower recovery phases through a single session. Intervals do not have to be run on a track and can be performed on any surface that works best for you such as road, trail, grass or even beach.
If you are following a training plan, the 'efforts' and recoveries will be specified in the plan. For example, '4 x 3 min @ 5k pace; 2 mins jog / walk recovery' means: 'Run a 3 minute effort at your current 5k pace followed by a 2 minute jog/walk recovery. Repeat this 4 times.'
Interval sessions train your body to deliver oxygen to working muscles quicker. This then allows your muscles to perform better and for longer during races.
Applying interval training to your programme provides variety and reduces the repetition of just plodding along.
A few quick tips before you start interval training:
Don’t forget to check out our training programmes, many of the Improver plans include interval work.
Training in the winter is no different from training at any other time of the year, except that you need to take the weather conditions into account. If it is too wet and muddy to run on grass try to find a path that is manageable. Winter running clothing can offer a degree of protection against the wind and the rain.
What you eat and drink after a run is important, in terms of maximizing your recovery. Remember the three 'r's' - rehydration, replenishment, repair - and you'll be raring to go again in no time. Check out our top ten recovery foods in our nutrition and hydration guide on the website. If your legs are sore after an event do some walking for a day or two until they ease out and then resume with some gentle jogging.
There are no specific rules about breathing whilst running, however we’d always recommend warming up prior to running and trying to keep a regular deep breathing pattern. It's better to use your nose and mouth to breathe in and out.
This could be a result of D.O.M.S (Delayed onset of muscle soreness). Try stretching after a run, and make sure you are refueling as soon as possible following training with good sources of carbohydrate and protein. If the soreness persists, expert advice should be obtained from a physiotherapist or medical professional.
Joining a gym might not necessarily make you run faster, however performing general strength work can help to prevent injuries and improve your running form. Simple body resistance exercises can be performed from home saving you valuable time and money!
No, you don’t have to join a running club. We all run for different reasons, whether it's to lose weight, keep fit or to enter and maybe even win races. But whatever the motivation for lacing up the trainers and hitting the roads and trails, there's no requirement that you have to join a club.
Intervals aren’t for everybody and can be very hard work. However you shouldn’t be scared off completely as they can be very beneficial.
Try running with a group of friends and vary the type of intervals you run and the terrain. Try running fartlek as a group, taking it in turns to dictate pace and duration of intervals to add variety and the element of surprise.
Hill training is a series of intervals or short sprints performed up a gradient. Hill training is a great way of improving form and technique. Another form of hill training is by running a continuous run over hilly terrain.
Try introducing some different pace running into your programme. This can be achieved by adding faster paced strides at the end of your run to improve leg speed. Interval training is also a great way of improving speed!
Try increasing the amount of time you spend on your feet running. It’s also worth lengthening your longer run gradually week by week to help gain the benefits from running on tired legs.
You don't need a lot of expensive clothing or equipment to start running. The most important piece of kit is a good pair of running shoes that are suited to your running style. A specialist running shop will have staff able to analyse your running style and recommend footwear most suitable for you. Choose clothing appropriate to the conditions - in cold weather you may need to wear a couple of layers.
Running footwear has become very advances in recent years and it is important to ensure you have appropriate footwear for you. A good running retailer will be able to offer advice on the most appropriate footwear accodring to your running style, weight, etc. They may ask you to run on a treadmill while that analyse your 'gait' and you should be able to jog in a new pair of trainers to check they feel right for you, before you buy them.
Wear clothing which feels comfortable & warm enough for the conditions. Shorts and a t-shirt will suffice in warmer weather conditions. When it gets colder think about layering - perhaps a long sleeved t-shirt and a wind- or rain-proof jacket. Full length running tights are also an option. Sports manufacturers have developed specialist fabrics that provide "moisture management" - drawing moisture (sweat) away from the skin - to keep you relatively dry during your runs. Your local specialist running retailer will have a range of products and will be able to offer advice and answers to any questions you may have.
There are many gadgets available that will appeal to different runners but a few useful bits a pieces are listed below. Sport specific eyewear offers protection from sun, wind and insects during training. Suitable sunglasses should be lightweight and should ideally have wrap around protection. Some also offer interchangeable lenses and a head hugging fit for maximum comfort. Sun screen is also important for sunny days, even when it's not so warm. Many people like to listen to music while they run. Small digital music players are very light and can be strapped to your arm. Remember that if you are listening to music you will be less aware of your surroundings and take extra care when crossing roads or paths to ensure that there are no cars or cyclists approaching.
A basic watch with stop watch functions will suffice for most training needs. For those with a need or interest in them, there are gadgets which can track the route taken, elevation, heart rate and many other pieces of information. Mobile phones are catching up in this areas and can measure many of the same statistics. The Great Run Training mobile app is free and syncs seemlessly with your diary and training plan data
We can't run on empty so it is important to eat before you run, although the amount of time needed to digest food differs from person to person. In general try not to eat less than two hours before a run but some will find that they need to leave a longer gap. Try to eat 'light' foods (a sandwich, not a steak!) before runs, but experiment with different foods until you find something you are comfortable with.
You have to be careful not to become obsessed about your diet. Some simple adjustments can make a big difference and the exercise you are doing is the major factor when done consistently , in terms of fitness, weight and health. The first thing to do is to cut out the "rubbish" . If you have to snack then eat good things, fruit nuts/dried food etc. Don't use energy bars as snacks either. They are fine for races and post training recovery but not a substitute for eating well. Pasta is good, whole-wheat rice/pasta/bread is better. Breakfast is important - porridge is great as there is a slow release of energy which will help you feel less hungry. Lunch / dinner could be things like baked potato but not loaded with butter/maybe with tuna/baked beans etc lentils another good option. Also lean meat/chicken/tofu and oily fish. A banana half an hour before training is good, but some people cannot do this. It can be a matter of trial and error but definitely don't change anything on race day.
Best advice is to eat within 30 minutes after training as during this period your body will metabolise the food better and aid your recovery and your ability to train consistently. Research has shown that a combination of 4 parts carbohydrate and 1 part protein works best. Anymore protein than this ratio has a negative impact slowing rehydration and glycogen replacement. Finding a sports drink with this combination is best because it can be easier to digest , to get the ratio right, and easier to meet the 30 min deadline
Isotonic drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body, and are designed to replace the fluids that are lost by sweating. They also provide a boost of carbohydrates.
Energy bars contain cereals and other high energy foods which are aimed at people who require quick energy who do not have the time for a meal. Effective energy bars provide fast acting carbohydrates for a quick energy delivery . Their purpose is to help relieve fatigue.
Provided that you drink a reasonable amount of fluids throughout the day you don't really need to worry about staying hydrated whilst training, unless it is a hot day or you are doing a really long run or session.
In this case sports drinks are very helpful as these also provide extra carbohydrates and protein which helps to maintain your energy levels as well. The thing to remember is that once you start to become dehydrated, it is difficult to reverse the process in a short period of time. You should therefore always drink if you start to feel thirsty.
This depends on the individual, the weather, how long you’re running for and whether you’ve drank enough before the race.
A suitably hydrated sub-40-minute runner on a cool day would be fine without stopping. A beginner would benefit from both the liquid and also the opportunity to relax a little as they walk through the drinks station.
Try to drink water little and often throughout the race, with a gel approximately every hour you run. This may vary from runner to runner so work out what strategy works best for you in training and before a big race. Alternatively you could try jelly babies or other forms of sport specific energy sweets.
Many first timers feel a sense of anxiety prior to their event day. This is a normal reaction to the unknown. If you have managed to follow, at least in the most part, a recommended training programme you should have nothing to worry about on race day. The Great Run Training Tutorials and Guides section has lots of hints and tips that will help make your event an enjoyable experience. Try to remember that the experience of taking part in the event is as much a part of the day as the time you run. For many, simply completing the event is the measure of success.
A half marathon is 13.1 miles, or 21km.
A half marathon is 21km, or 13.1 miles.
Hopefully you have enjoyed your first event and the training for it. Why not enter another event and get a Great Run Training plan for it. If you don't want to enter another event just now, simply follow a Great Run Training maintenance plan - it will help to keep the fitness level you have gained. Your calendar will be populated with a maintenance plan following your event and will continue until you creat a new event plan.
In the week before the Great North Run you should have eased off training so that your legs start to freshen up and you feel raring to go come race day. Our Great Run Training plans suggest 2 easy runs in the week and perhaps an easy jog on the day before the race.
The key to enjoying your event on race day is to BE PREPARED. You have completed your training plan so have prepared your body as best you can to complete the event. Think over everything you may need for your event day and don't leave yourself rushing around on the morning of your race trying to get everything ready. Take a look in our Tutorials and Guides section for loads of helpful advice and information on how to get ready for your race day
After your race change into some warm dry clothes and footwear. Eat and drink something within the first half hour of finishing. Over the next few days ease into some relaxed walking and running to enable you to loosen off your muscles and recover. How quickly you recover is an individual matter.
If you are following one of our training plans you will start to ease up on the amount and intensity of your training. This will allow you to sharpen up and give your body a chance to feel nice and fresh come race day. Try to get some good nights sleep in the week prior to your event as you may find nerves keep you awake the night before. This is certainly not uncommon so don't worry - the buzz of the day ahead will keep you wide awake!
Stitches can be caused by a number of reasons, but it usually relates to the jostling about of the internal organs as you run, especially the liver. Everyone gets them - but here are some general tips to lower their impact 1) Slow down: stitches are often caused by overexertion. Do the whole run at a pace you can comfortably talk at. 2) Focus on your breathing. Regular breathing tied to your pace can help. Breathe in for two steps, breathe out for two steps. Or whatever pattern you find comfortable. If you get a stitch, try 'swapping sides', breathe in when your left foot hits the ground rather than your right, and vice versa 3) The most effective thing is not to consume any fizzy drinks (or other foods that don't always sit well in the stomach) for at least 4-6 hours before a run. 4) Keep running... as you get fitter. you will find they don't happen as much.
It's not possible to give a personalised advice on injury without seeing a qualified practitioner. Following one of our training plans may help you to avoid injury as the training increases gradually enabling you to adapt to your current load before moving on - the reason so many people do get injured. Another common cause of injury is ill fitting footwear. A good specialist running shop will be able to analyse your running style and advise on appropriate footwear.
If you have 'niggles' or pains the first thing to do is stop. Pain is usually the body's way of telling you something is wrong. When you have no pain walking around, don't go out and do your usual run, but try jogging for a minute and walking for a minute a few times on soft ground to test it out. If you have no pain the next day then you can gradually build back into your training. If the pain doesn't clear up within a day or two, think about going to see a physiotherapist for an assesment and recovery plan.
There can be any number of factors that can lead to injury. Follow the advice in our Getting Started section to improve your chances of staying injury free.
When the weather is relatively hot you will need to increase the amount of fluid you drink to compensate as you will sweat more. Make sure you are well hydrated before you train. You might consider reducing your training on days when it is hot or humid. If you feel tired or light headed be sure to slow your pace or stop.
The golden rule is don't train when you are not well. Your training will not be effective and will most times just hinder your recovery. We suggest taking it a stage further. If you are unable to train because you are unwell for more than a couple of days then don't run on the first day you feel ok. Have another day of rest. Runners inevitably think they will lose fitness every day that they don't train but recovering properly will see you running better a week later.
This is pain and inflammation along the inner border of the shin bone. Symptoms: Tenderness along the length of the shin bone, especially during or after running. Common causes: A sudden increase in training, or too much training on hard surfaces. Weak or tight muscles around the foot, shin and calf. Poor technique � overstriding in particular. What to do: Ice and massage of the sore area and / or calf areas. Address any strength or flexibility issues in the muscles along the front and back of the lower leg and foot. Consider having your running gait and shoes assessed.
Degeneration or inflammation of the plantar fascia, a web-like ligament that links the heel to the toes. Symptoms: Pain under the heel or towards the back of the foot�s arch, especially on your first steps of the day. Common causes: Stiff, immobile feet and calves, weak foot muscles, poor running technique and inppropriate footwear are frequent contributing factors. Plantar fasciitis is really nasty as the onset can be quite slow then its so difficult to get rid of. You need to stop running and get specialist treatment as soon as possible . Swimming and cycling are good alternatives to keep fit. It is essential to get treatment as the injury can be still there after rest. The problem often stems from tight calfs so you should see a sports massage therapist or a physiotherapist. They need to apply deep masssage to all areas of your calf and you need to have this done frequently at first then fairly regularly to keep your calfs supple. They need to apply the massage both whilst your leg is straight and then whilst bent to 90 degrees to reach deeper muscles. You can also get a "night splint" or "night sock" online which can help. You will almost certainly find it painful when you take your first steps on a morning. What happens is the because the fascia is tight it pulls on the calcanious bone in your heel. Your brain sends a message that makes you scrunch your feet up whereas what is really needed is it to be stretched so that your foot goes upwards towards your leg. The scrunch movement makes it worse. The night splint keeps the foot streched in the right way and the foot becomes less painfull when you first walk . You are supposed to wear them at night, but they are uncomfortable so its better to just wake 15 mins early and put it on for that time. You can also massage the fascia itself to loosen it. Rolling it over a squash ball is effective for this.
Inflammation of the rope-like Achilles tendon that attaches to both calf muscles and the heel bone. Symptoms: stiffness and tenderness along the back of the ankle, especially in the morning. It tends to ease off during running but returns afterwards. Common causes: Tight calf muscles or stiff, inflexible feet or a sudden increase in training or too much speed work (especially on an athletics track). What to do: Use ice to reduce inflammation, especially after running, and stretch your calves with both a straight and bent leg. Avoid running hills and speed work. Do some �eccentric calf exercises� to help the tendon to heal.
More properly called �patellofemoral pain syndrome�, this is basically pain and inflammation behind the knee cap. Symptoms: a persistent or throbbing pain behind the kneecap, often with heat or swelling. Tends to get worse after long periods of sitting or walking downstairs. Common causes: Maltracking of the kneecap due to an imbalance in the muscles surrounding it (most commonly, weakness on the inner side of the quadriceps muscle and tightness on the outside). Tight quads or calves. Inappropriate running shoes. What to do: Ice and anti-inflammatories can help to ease the pain. Taping (by a sports physiotherapist) can take the pressure off the sore area. Longer term, the aim is to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight ones to prevent recurrence.
Excessive force on bone causing a hairline crack to appear. Symptoms: A very specific area of pain and tenderness that will normally feel worse on weight bearing but may also hurt when not weight bearing (even at night). The most common sites for a stress fracture in runners are the inside edge of the tibia (shin bone) and the metatarsals (the long toe bones). Common causes: Overtraining � doing too much, too soon. Poor technique or imperfect biomechanics can also be a factor. What to do: Seek medical advice for a diagnosis if you suspect a stress fracture. Do not run, or you risk a full-blown fracture and much longer away from your running.
Inflammation of the piriformis muscle, a small but important hip rotator in the buttock. Symptoms: Soreness in the buttock (especially where the top of your jeans pocket would be) often accompanied by pain or pins and needles along back of the thigh. Common causes: An excessively tight piriformis, tight inner thigh muscles and weak outer thigh (hip) muscles. Overstriding (strides that are too long), running on cambered roads or excessive downhill running. What to do: Use a tennis ball to massage the sore area and apply ice. Stretch and strengthen the appropriate muscles.
This is irritation of the long fibrous band of tissue, the iliotibial band (ITB) that runs along the side of the leg from the hip to just below the knee. Symptoms: Pain is most commonly felt on the outside edge of the knee. You sometimes feel a 'flicking' sensation as the ITB passes over the outer edge of the thigh bone. Pain is exacerbated by downhill running. Common causes: Poor running technique, weak gluteal muscles, sudden increases in training and inappropriate running shoes. What to do: Ice and anti-inflammatories can help alleviate the pain. A foam roller can help ease out tightness in the ITB, or get a sports massage therapist to 'strip' it (painful but worth it!). Strengthen the glutes and stretch the ITB religiously.
Blisters can be caused by a number of factors including ill-fitting socks or shoes that don't fit right or are not appropriate for your needs. There are a few tips to avoid blisters: Introduce new running shoes gradually; There are specialist socks on the market with a double layer. The second layer stops the first one from rubbing against the skin; Try using petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters. This helps the material glide over the skin, reducing friction.; Try using zinc oxide tape on blister prone areas to prevent friction on the skin. Experts recommend not popping blisters unless you absolutely have to. Protect with a 'second skin' blister plaster until the fluid dissipates. If you do pop a blister, make sure you use sterilized needle. Make sure the needle pierces as little as possible just to let the fluid out, and clean the area thoroughly, dressing it for at least 48 hours afterward to protect.
A black toenail or 'subungual haematoma' results from the nail being compressed onto the nail bed. Symptoms: Inflammation, bruising and, sometimes, a build-up of blood under the nail. This happens most commonly with the big toe. Common causes: Shoes that slip around, allowing the toes to hit the end of the toe box or lots of downhill running when the foot slips forward in the shoe. Overly long or badly cut toenails. What to do: If there is no blood, just leave the nail to settle and grow out (it will most likely fall off at some point). If there is painful pressure caused by blood behind the nail, see a medical expert to pierce the nail and drain it. To prevent it happening again, make sure your shoes fit well and are laced up to keep the foot secure, and cut toenails short and straight across.
For new runners back ache may simply be a result of working muscles that have not had a regular workout in which case you would expect the ache to disappear after a short period of time, but the best course of action is to visit your GP or a chiropractor who will be able to offer a full diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
You really should not train if you have any kind of illness. Training whilst you arent fully healthy will not improve you. It will delay your recovery and weaken your immune system to combat future illnesses. You could undo all the hard work you have put in. By rule of thumb wait until you feel fully recovered, then take another day off before resuming training. Also don't jump straight back in where you left off, start off with a few shorter runs, then gradually increase until you are back onto your training plan.
You should not commence training again until you are fully recovered. Taking an extra day off after you feel well again, whilst frustrating at the time, will help you get back to full fitness quicker. Don't try to cram in the missed training. Just ease back to where you were, with a few shorter runs, and continue from there. You can not batter yourself to fitness, it is about gradual adaption so that you continue to improve from where you are at that moment.
You’re not alone! Often referred to as runner’s tummy, unfortunately it’s quite a common problem with long distance training.
Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and you’re not running too soon after eating. Consider reducing your caffeine intake and keep yourself adequately hydrated. If the problem persists then you should speak to your GP.
Always consult with your GP first before starting exercise again. A good starting point is a non-impact form of cross training. Pilates is also a great way to improve your core stability and pelvic floor muscle control.
Gradually return to running by following one of our Run/Walk training plans to build back up safely.
Getting hot feet during a run is not unusual, especially when running in hot weather. But take certain precautions if you get hot feet on a regular basis during your runs. Sweat usually accompanies overheated feet, which can make running uncomfortable and cause blisters. Try choosing a pair of trainers with a mesh design on the shoes upper, to provide more ventilation to your feet. Ensure that your shoes fit properly to prevent any unnecessary movement of your feet when you’re running. If your feet tend to sweat a lot during runs, try running in a thicker sock. This is not quite as strange as it sounds as the extra material can help absorb the sweat.
Knees brushing together can be a sign of muscle imbalances or a lack of flexibility. A suitable strengthening programme targeting your hips and glutes as well as regular stretching can help prevent contact. Also make sure you're running in suitable footwear that still has plenty of life left in them. If in doubt always remember to see a physiotherapist or GP for more advice as well as considering getting specialist advice from a running shop.
Cross training is training that is not running. Sometimes it is beneficial, or necessary (e.g. through injury) to exercise in another way. Good cross training activities include swimming, cycling or the elliptical trainer in the gym.
There is no problem with training in other ways than just running, as long as you are getting the required amount of running under your belt, and that the cycling is not making you too tired. If you need to cut back, then this should be on the cycling rather than the running. Remember that rest and recovery is actually an important part of your training.
Skipping can be a great supplement to your running and could even help you run better, faster and with greater enjoyment.
Skipping can help improve your running speed, foot strength, balance, coordination and aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
Remember to stay light on your toes and keep your spine straight, head up and eyes forward. If you haven't skipping for a long time start adding it into your programme very gradually to avoid injury.
Great Run Training is a free service offered by Great Run.
Anyone who has taken part in a Great Run event can use their existing Great Run username and password - they do not need to register for a separate Great Run Training account.
If you have entered a Great Run at any time in past we recommend you use the same username and password to log into Great Run Training. If you have forgotten your username or password click on the appropriate link to retrieve them. If you do not have a Great Run account, simply register for a new account - it's completely free.
It's free! Everyone is welcome to use Great Run Training.
You don't need to have entered a Great Run event - simply register for a new account.
Yes you can.
If you have entered a Great Run at any time in past we recommend you use the same username and password to log into Great Run Training.
If you have forgotten your username or password select the appropriate link on the login page to retrieve them.
If you know your Great Run username but have forgotten your password, simply click on the Forgotten Password link and follow the instructions to receive a password reset email.
Note that this email will be sent to the email address that is saved in your Great Run profile. If you no longer have access to this email account you will need to contact Great Run Training Customer Services.
On the MY DETAILS tab in your profile you can select to view all measurements in imperial format.
Distances will be displayed in miles, height will be displayed in feet and inches, weight will be displayed in stone and pounds.
On the MY DETAILS tab in your profile you can select to view all measurements in metric format.
Distances will be displayed in kilometres, height will be displayed in centimetres, weight will be displayed in kilograms.
To start a new training plan simply select GET A NEW PLAN on the MY TRAINING page and follow the on-screen steps to create your new training plan.
Note you can only have one training plan at a time. If you create a new training plan, any future sessions fromy your current plan will be lost. All logged training will stay in your calendar.
Yes. There are five different levels.
The 20 MINUTE CHALLENGE plan is for those just starting out and who currently have a low level of fitness. This plan aims to get users to be able to jog for 20 minutes without stopping. A perfect way to ease yourself into running.
The RUN/WALK plans are for those who prefer to mix running and walking. Many runners find that they are able to go farther using this method of training, plus it can also be more enjoyable.
The STARTER plans are aimed at those who haven't done any physical activity for a long time but would like to enter an event. The focus of these plans are to gently ease you into running and increase your fitness so that you can comfortably and enjoyably complete your chosen event. Finish time is not the primary focus of these plans, rather the achievement of completing your event.
The IMPROVER plans step up the training a notch from the STARTER plans. Perhaps you have taken part in one or two events in the past, or you're starting from a reasonable level of fitness already. These plans will gradually increase training levels to improve your performance.
The CHALLENGER plans are for those who can already run for 30 minutes without stopping. The plans mix up steady running training with slightly more complex training sessions aimed at improving performance and perhaps running new a personal best time.
If you are training for an event and you haven't done much in the way of physical activity in the recent past, you're not alone!
We recommend the STARTER plans that build up your fitness at a very gentle pace and should help to prevent niggles and injuries. Their key aim is to enable you to enjoy your training rather than finding it a slog.
The other plan levels step up a stage and each has a desciption of the level to help you decide which is right for you.
For those really starting out from scratch, and not yet ready to take part in an event, our 20 MINUTE CHALLENGE plan aims to get you off the couch and to a level where you can jog for 20 minutes without stopping.
The Great Run Training plans take account of your feedback on plan training sessions and adjust the plan accordingly.
To use the interactivity feature you need to complete the HOW YOU FELT section in the Training Session Details panel.
The training plans vary in length depending on the plan level, the plan/event distance, and (if you are training for a specific event) the date of the event.
The maximum plan length is one year.
Some of the plans have a minimum length below which we do not feel it is possible or appropriate to follow a plan. This minimum length depends on the plan level and the plan/event distance.
The drop-down list only displays Great Run events. If you are training for a different event, simply leave the drop-down box selection as MY OWN EVENT and complete the EVENT DATE and EVENT NAME fields youself.
You will also need to select the distance of the event. Your training plan will start within a couple of days and will build up to your chosen event date.
On step one of the plan creation process simply select that you are not training for a specific event.
You will need to give your plan a name, and select the training plan distance you would like to train for. The training plan will start within a couple of days.
Future sessions are coloured orange.
Past sessions that have been logged as completed are coloured green.
Past plan sessions that have yet to be logged, or that have been logged as missed are coloured red.
If you are following a training plan the panel at the top of the MY TRAINING page will display various stats with reference to your plan, such as the number of training sessions in the plan, the total distance you have covered in training since the start of the plan, and so on.
If you're not following a training plan the panel will display various stats for the current month such as the total distance covered in training since the start of the month.
You can view and compare various training statistics in more detail on the MY PROGRESS page.
For future plan training sessions, the calendar cell displays a brief session tittle.
Simply click on the cell and the Session Details panel will expand underneath. Within the Session Details panel you can view a more detailed description of the session.
For past, logged training sessions the calendar cell displays the brief session title, the distance covered (if logged by the user) and the duration (if logged by the user).
If more than one session has been logged for any day, the brief session title for each session will be displayed. Simply click on the cell and the Session Details panel will expand beneath. Within the Session Details panel you can view/edit/save more details about your session(s).
The first month displayed is the current month.
To see training for previous months simply select the OLDER TRAINING button totward the top of the MY TRAINING page.
A plan session is a training session that is part of a training plan created by Great Run Training.
An off-plan session is any session that is not part of your original training plan.
Distances will be displayed in kilometres, height will be displayed in centermetres, weight will be displayed in kilograms.
You don't have to, although many users like to keep track of their weight.
If you save your current weight in your profile the weight field in each training session will be prepoulated with this figure. You can edit your weight in each session.
Weight is used along with session duration and distance covered to provide an estimate of calories burned during a session.
Great Run Training includes an advanced mapping feature that allows you to plot your running routes for an accurate measure of the distance, including the elevation.
Use the Great Run Training mobile app to track your route whilst you run using your mobile phone's built in GPS tracking functionality.
To log a plan training session simply select the appropriate day on the calendar.
The Session Details panel will expand beneath the date within the calendar.
If you wish to log that you have completed the session just select the COMPLETE SESSION button. You can log more details about your session such as the distance, duration, how you felt, and any notes - enter/edit the information in each field as appropriate. Any changes will be saved automatically.
To log an off plan training session simply select the appropriate day on the calendar. The Session Details panel will expand beneath the date within the calendar.
Enter details about your session such as the distance, duration, how you felt, and any notes. Select SAVE SESSION when you have finished.
For each session you can log:
When logging a new session complete the details and select SAVE SESSION when you have finished.
When editing an existing session, any changes you make will be saved atomatically as you enter them.
Yes you can. Simply open the Session Details panel to amend any info.
When editing an existing session, any changes you make will be saved atomatically.
Yes you can. Often this is called cross training.
You can enter anything you like in the session description and in the session notes field. You can also select from predefined Session Types within the Session Details panel.
Save your current weight in your profile.
The weight field in each training session will be prepoulated with this figure. You can edit your weight in each session.
To plot a new running route
To view a route select the route tile.
The route will be displayed on a large map along with the elevation profile and and the route distance.
To scroll up and down the page, ensure that the cursor (or your finger if using a table) is not placed on the map, but to either side of it.
The scroll bar of the web browser window can also be used.
You can zoom in and out of the map in a number of ways depending on the device you are using.
The plus and minus buttons on the left hand side of the map are available on all devices.
If using a mouse with a scroll wheel this can often be used to zoom in and out.
If using a tablet, the 'pinch' funtion will often work to zoom in and out.
To move to a specific location on the map you can
Map view displays a map of the area with roads and other features highlighted.
Satellite view displays an arial photo of the location.
You can switch between Map view and Satellite view by selecting the buttons at the top right of the map.
FOLLOW ROADS is on by default and enables your route to follow the roads as you plot points.
You can select the FOLLOW ROADS button to turn this feature on and off during plotting.
When plotting routes along paths and other off road locations it is usually not possible to use the follow roads option.
For routes that do not follow roads it is neccesary to turn off the Follow Roads option.
Simply click on FOLLOW ROADS to turn this option on and off.It may also be neceaary to switch from Map veiw to Satellite view.
Not all paths are displayed in Map view but Satellite view displays an arial photo of the location.
Simply click on FOLLOW ROADS to turn this option on and off.
It may also be neceaary to switch from Map veiw to Satellite view. Not all paths are displayed in Map view but Satellite view displays an arial photo of the location.
To update a previously saved route
To delete a previously saved route, select the route and then select UPDATE ROUTE. You can then select DELETE ROUTE below the map.
Once a route is deleted it cannot be retrieved.
Users can share routes so that other users can view them.
If you are new to an area, or visiting a new areas it's a great way to find running routes close by.
You can view shared routes by selecting VIEW ALL SHARED ROUTES on the MY ROUTES page.
Zoom into a local area using the map. Routes within that ares are listed below the map.
Click on any of the intividual routes to view in detail.
When you have found a shared route that you wish to use for your own training, select SAVE TO MY ROUTES.
The route will be added to MY ROUTES.
When saving a route tick the SHARE ROUTE box.
If you wish to share a previously saved route, select to update the route and then tick the SHARE ROUTE box before saving once again.
Get a personalised training plan and track your training.
Facts and figures to track how far you’ve come.
Map and share your running routes.
Expert advice to answer all your questions.
Find an event near you.
If you have entered a Great Run event in the past you are already registered with www.greatrun.org. You can log in using your Great Run username and password.
If you do not have an account you can register here.