Jogging is a brilliant form of exercise. It requires very little equipment to get started, can be done anywhere – even if you`re away from home – and it provides a good cardio-vascular workout. The only problem with jogging is that it can be difficult to stay motivated.
Once you get past the beginner stages where it`s difficult to make it even a few hundred meters without getting winded, it can be hard to tell whether you`re improving. The only way to really track your progress is to have a goal in mind. A mini marathon is a great goal.
Mini marathons are generally 10k long. This is a great goal for a beginner or intermediate runner. If you started your jogging career by following a popular program such as the “Couch to 5K” training program, then congratulations! You`re already half-way there.
Setting Your Goals
The first thing you need to do is figure out what your goals are. If you`ve led a relatively sedentary lifestyle up until now your goal may just be to finish the mini marathon. If you`ve been active before but aren`t a long distance runner you may want to finish without having to stop to walk. Intermediate level runners may set a goal of finishing within a certain time. Consult the organizers to find out what typical times are for the course you`re planning to run.
Your Training Schedule
Give yourself at least ten weeks to prepare for the mini marathon. Ideally, you should try to train four times per week, but you can still do well if you can only fit three sessions in per week. Training every day is a bad idea because you will lose out on valuable recovery time and be more likely to injure yourself. Training too infrequently will also hinder your progress.
Designate one or two of your training sessions each week to be “active recovery” sessions, where you only ever run relatively short distances – three or four kilometres per session. The rest of your training sessions are for long distance running. During the first couple of weeks, even your “long distance” sessions will be just three or four kilometre runs, but each week you can extend those runs. On the eighth week, start cutting back again so that you are well rested for the actual race.
What to Wear
There is no need to spend a lot of money on expensive running shoes, shorts and t-shirts. You can enjoy long distance running even with basic equipment. Choose some well-made but mid-range running shoes and replace them every 500-800km, or earlier if you feel that the soles are no longer offering good support while you are running.
Don`t underestimate the importance of good supplementation, nutrition and foot care. You won`t be able to get through your marathon if you`re feeling run down or you have blisters all over your feet. Stock up on some basic health care products from TheHealthCounter or you local pharmacy to make sure you`re ready for the big day.