7 tips for running your first 10k

7 tips for running your first 10kI took up running this year as a way to exercise with a baby. It has its benefits- its free, baby can come with you and, in the time you would spend driving to the gym, getting changed and showered and coming home, your workout is done! And it burns LOADS of calories! Since becoming a runner (I guess I can call myself a runner now, eh?!) I feel fitter, my body has changed shape (in a good way!) and I have more energy.

I started using a Couch 2 5k programme, running and walking, and gradually increasing the running each week. When I completed it, I did not want my hard work to go to waste so I set myself a challenge to ensure I kept running- I signed up for a 10k race!

As there are couch 2 5k programmes, so there are couch to 10k programmes, and bridge 2 10k programmes available on apps and podcasts etc. I spent so long umming and ahhing as to which one to use, I just kept running and made my own programme up along the way. So, here are my top 7 bridge 2 10k tips

  1. Firstly, congratulate yourself on becoming a runner. Let’s face it, going from couch potato to a regular runner takes a lot of hard work and discipline. You have built running into your routine and it is important to keep running three times a week.
  2. Continuing on the theme of celebrations- treat yourself to a new piece of kit! Did you do the couch 2 5k in your old trainers? New properly fitted trainers are a worthwhile investment. I did my whole couch 2 5k clutching my phone in my palm, so I got myself a phone arm-band… which went a little way to making me feel like a proper runner!
  3. Sign up for a race. This will keep your eye on the prize and keep you motivated! http://www.runireland.com is a great website for Irish runners.
  4. Back to the actual training… I did three runs a week; one fast half hour run, a 5k run and a long run. I had about 8 weeks before my race, so every week, I increased the distance of my long run by half a kilometre.
  5. Doing the longer runs mixes things up a bit- I ran new routes (using http://www.mapmyrun.com to plan them first) and started running in the evening, so I wasn’t under pressure for time. Changing the route and time of day keeps your running routine fresh and prevents you from getting bored!
  6. Think about your posture and form. How are your feet hitting the ground? Are is your back straight or hunched? Where are your shoulders? That was the thing I had to keep reminding myself about- they were oftentimes up round my ears. Lowering them made me feel instantly more relaxed and I enjoyed a better run.
  7. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad run. Don’t be disheartened if you had a slow run, or you feel you are not improving. You have done so well coming this far. Getting out and having an off run is far better than sitting on the sofa!

Are you a new runner? Or a seasoned one? I would love to hear your comments, questions or tips!

This post is part of Kelly’s 7 quick takes link up, hosted at This Aint the Lyceum. Head on over there for more quick takes!

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7QTs: Jogging for Beginners

comes Jogging for beginnersI was never a runner. It’s hard to believe I am now, but I have just finished a Couch to 5k (C25k) plan, and can run for a full 30 minutes! This is the second time I have done this plan. (My first time was a few years ago, before my wedding, but I didn’t keep it up.) Jogging has three main attractions- it’s free, all you need to get started is a pair of runners, and it gets results! I figured it was the best way to get back into shape after having a baby- I could do it with baby in tow, at a convenient time and with minimal expense. So I started again…. Here are seven tips I have learned along the way:

  1. NHS Choices Couch to 5k

    My couck 2 5k programme

    Find a good Couch 2 5k programme You can find them online, on podcasts, apps, and in books and magazines… I used the NHS Couch 2 5k programme, which consisted of 9 weeks worth of podcasts. Laura, the narrator, told me when to walk and when to run, as well as giving tips and motivation.

As well as listening to the podcasts, I would use an app like Map My Run or Endomondo to track my progress. This is a real motivator as you can see how many calories you burn after each work out and see your distance increasing as the weeks go on.

  1. It’s just a light jog C25k programmes usually start with interval training- walking for a bit, then jogging for a bit. The girl on my podcast often said, “Remember, its just a light jog”. I found this really helpful to remember as it took the pressure off.
  1. Route It’s good to vary the route. This comes naturally as the weeks go by and you are running further. If you are running on a treadmill, why not run outside? If you are already running outside, why not try a lap of the park instead of sticking to the pavement. Sometimes I go for a short drive and run somewhere beautiful, like a nature park or the beach. Changing the scenery mixes things up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
  1. My running buddy

    Equipment The first time I did a C25k programme, I knew by week 4 – 5 that I was going to stick with the programme, so I invested in some trainers, fitted at a specialist running shop. This made the word of difference to my feet.

The second time I started the C25k, I would bring baby T along with me. I didn’t need a special buggy for the first few weeks as the running distance was short and I was slow… again, when I knew I would stick it out, I bought a second hand jogger buggy online.

  1. Take a break I began to enjoy running so much I wanted to run consecutive days. However, it is really important to give your muscles a rest and chance to recover, and avoid injury. Why not do something else with that energy? Go for a walk, or a swim…
  1. Prayer Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!
  1. Believe in yourself I am not a natural-born runner. I will never forget the time I ran for two minutes for the first time and looked back on the distance I had covered. I had a real sense of achievement! C25k programmes are designed to build you up gradually, minute by minute, not drop you in the deep end with a 30 minute run. I trusted in the programme and believed in myself. If I had a bad run, I wouldn’t beat myself up- a bad run is better than no run. If I didn’t feel ready to move on to the next week, I would repeat the week. By recognising your progress and believing in yourself, you can do it!

I finished the Couch 2 5k plan this week and I have already set myself a new goal- a 10k run in two months. Watch this space!

Would you like to take up jogging, but have a question? Or, are you a already a runner and have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes. For more quick takes, head on over there!

7QTs: Surviving My First Year of Motherhood

7qts surviving my first year of motherhood talking about family blogWhile my baby will always be my baby, she will turn one and officially become a toddler tomorrow. Where does the time go? Here are seven quick takes on a few things that have helped get me through this first year as a new mum!

  1. Spiritual Life

Since I became pregnant, I turn to Mother Mary a lot more. She’s my role model in a whole new way.  When my little one was born, taking her to Mass seemed like a big deal. It was huge. And stressful! But, we’ve never had a huge drama and have only had to leave the pew a few times! Deo Gratias! Phew!

  1. Post-natal Pilates

After pregnancy and giving birth, I wondered if my body would ever be the same. Thanks to post-natal Pilates, my body feels a lot stronger. I would definitely recommend it to any new mum!

  1. Couch 2 5k

NHS Choices Couch to 5k

My couck 2 5k programme

Baby weight falls off some women. Not me. I had to work. Very hard. I decided to do a couch 2 5k programme, because it’s easy to get up and out, and I could do it with baby. I bought a second hand jogger buggy, so I wouldn’t have to wait until my husband came home, and wouldn’t be able to use ‘it’s dark/ cold/ wet’ as an excuse. It’s worked really well and I am hoping to do my first race this summer!

  1. Not stressing

As a FTM (first time mom), there is a lot to learn, and a lot to worry about. In addition, people like to chime in with their opinions and unsolicited advice, often conflicting the books / the professionals / the internet / each other. It can be so confusing! I am learning to not worry about things to the nth degree, and am learning to trust myself!

  1. Meal planning and batch cooking

Even having a huge bowl of salad or prepared veggies in the fridge is a big help!

Even having a huge bowl of salad or prepared veggies in the fridge is a big help!

Motherhood has made me be more organised. Time is a luxury! I am learning to meal plan and have started experimenting with batch cooking. It’s definitely the way forward!

  1. Cheating

Take shortcuts! For example, if time is of the essence at meal time, don’t worry about cooking something fresh or defrosting something pronto. Use store-bought baby food. It’s not the end of the world!

  1. Groups

It took me a while to get connected to some local toddler groups. Some mums swear by them, and go to a group every day of the week. I am not one of those mums, but I do know which group is on which day, and that I can drop in whenever I like.  That works for us.

I could have made a longer, better thought-out list, but these are my quick takes! Do you have any tips for new mums? What would be top of your list?

Thanks to Kelly for hosting 7QTs! For more quick takes, hop on over to This Aint the Lyceum!