Fitness column - Nice and slow

Health tips from Xercise4Less fitness guru, The Colonel
Health tips from Xercise4Less fitness guru, The Colonel

SAMMY, 31, asks: After being persuaded by my best friend, I’ve signed up to my first half marathon in September! I’m pretty nervous as I’m only used to running two to three miles at a time on a treadmill. What is the best way to train myself up for long distance running?

The Colonel says: Sammy, well done for being so brave and stepping up to a half marathon!

Taking part in organised long distance runs is a really great experience, from training, to the day itself, and you’ll have a great sense of achievement by the end of it.

There’s loads of info out there about how to train for long distance runs, and it can get confusing trying to figure out what is best.

The key is to be gradual. If you don’t train properly, running too much too often can do some damage, particularly to your knees.

It’s a good idea to break your training down into weeks, and mix up running on the treadmill with outdoor running.

For a beginner, week one would consist of Monday as a rest day, Tuesday a 30 minute run, Wednesday 30 minute cross train (it’s important to still work your entire body with varied exercises other than running, this will help build up your strength and stamina), try a mid-week interval training session on Thursday-10 minutes of fast paced running, two-three minutes recovery and repeat two times, another rest day on Friday and 30-45 minute runs on Saturday and Sunday.

You need to be dedicated and stick to a strict routine if you really want to build up your stamina.

Use this as a basic routine, and add 10 minutes on to your runs every few weeks.

This is by far the best way to train, rather than plunging yourself in at the deep end and attempting a 13 mile run then tiring yourself out for the rest of the week.

Stick at this routine, and the half marathon will be a breeze. Good luck!