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Preparation and Training

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Improving Your Fitness for the Great North Run

There are also a number ways you can work on certain aspects of your running. If a quicker pace is what you require, try high intensity sprint shuttle runs or hill sprints as part of your routine. The alternation between sprinting and running or jogging improves pace and fitness compared to straightforward long distance running.

It's also important to remember that rest days are vital to recovery. Running can be especially tough on joints so as well as taking one day a week to refrain from physical activity, you can incorporate other kinds of activities into your training routine to strengthen your joints and muscles without putting too much strain on your body. Swimming and cycling are excellent cardio activities that work the whole body without the repetitive impact and pressure that running causes so try to do one of these on the day after your run if your muscles are feeling stiff. Cross Fit training and similar High Intensity aerobic activities have plenty of variety for building up strength and fitness using cardio, calisthenics (exercises using your own body weight) and weights to drastically improve fitness and your range of motion. Other workouts for those wanting to stay fit but reduce risk of injury can include yoga or Pilates which are slower in pace but amazing for strengthening muscles, tendons, bones and joints to condition the body.

Learning to Enjoy Running

One of the hardest parts of training for the Great North Run for most people is actually enjoying the training. Many people who aren’t already serious runners can find it easy to associate exercise negatively because it’s tough if you’re not as fit as you would like to be. Having to commit to heading out in the rain, wind and searing hot summer weather can also be incredibly off putting. However, there are plenty of ways you can take that fear out of running so when it comes to the Great North Run, you’re raring to get to the finish line.

A lot of runners speak of the ‘runners high’ they experience due to a euphoric release of endorphins produced when exercising. This is certainly something to think about if you suffer from stress or anxiety as exercise can be brilliant for calming and clearing the mind as well as enhancing your mood; especially before or after a long, challenging day at work. To put it simply, it’s fantastic for your mental well-being.

Try to also enjoy running by getting outdoors, whatever the weather. Early morning before breakfast or evenings between the Spring and Autumn seasons are ideal because they tend to be quieter, cooler and therefore easier to run in. You might find a scenic jog through the woods or a beach-side route on a summer evening more enjoyable than running near your house or workplace so don’t be afraid to go further afield to find your perfect route.  

Have a look at the Top Five Running Locations in the North East for an idea of where to go.

Worried about running alone?
Although running is more commonly seen as a solo activity; therefore perfect for de-stressing and clearing your head – there’s no reason why it can’t be a fun, social activity which allows you to meet new people too.

Joining a local running group or running with friends and your partner is also a great way to stay motivated. Most trainers will advise running at a pace where you can comfortably hold a conversation and having someone to run with is the perfect way to test out whether you’re running at a suitable pace.

It also keeps your running routine more fixed if a running group meets on a certain day of the week whilst heading out with a friend can be great for encouragement, self-esteem and support on the days when you don’t feel like training.

Why not see if there are any local running clubs near you?

If you are heading out alone, create a running playlist that gets you pumped and ready to run. If you want to get ultra-tech you can programme your playlist to adapt to your run with faster paced songs. However, you’re not sure where to start, Spotify have plenty of suggested running playlists to use for inspiration or you can choose a handful of your favourite tunes to make you feel good.

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