THE BLOG

How to Prepare for Your First 10k

29/03/2015 19:19 BST | Updated 29/05/2015 10:59 BST

It's hard to believe that recreational running only became popular in the 1960's. Nowadays the streets of London are seemingly overrun with runners and joggers of all ages and genders, zigzagging and meandering their way through pedestrians.

That's the beauty of running. Anyone, with the exception of those who have injuries preventing them from doing so, can run. With my own eyes I see individuals with their steely, focused gaze (headphones mandatory) putting in their solo efforts. I see partners pounding the pavement together in unison. I see run clubs flocking through parks and landmarks, bonded together through their love of one of the most primal human acts - running.

In case you hadn't noticed, it's now cool to train. It's cool to sweat. It's cool to run. Taking a selfie pouting at home in front of the mirror is so 2014. Taking a snap mid-journey, accompanied by information of where you've ran and what distance you've covered? Now that's my idea of a creditable selfie.

If you're a woman looking to take on a running challenge, then why not sign up for a 10k, not only for your own health and self esteem, but for a good cause too? Cancer Research UK's 10k is an achievable challenge for any shape or size and it's opportunity to push yourself that little bit further whether you've taken on a 5k before or not. Plus, you will raise vital funds to find cures for over 200 types of cancer affecting men, women and children.

Over the past 20 years, more than seven million women have taken part in Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, raising over £513 million to fund the charity's life-saving work. In 2015 Cancer Research UK hopes that Race for Life will raise £50 million to help beat cancer sooner.

Now you're been inspired to hit the streets and found your nearest Race for Life 10k event (they are nationwide), how do you break into this running fraternity? It's easy! Cost wise, you have no excuse. An expensive gym membership isn't required, and at present there is no toll or oxygen consumption charge levied at runners that I know of.

Choosing correct footwear however, is imperative. This sole act could make or break you, as getting off on the wrong foot could quite literally put an end to your fledgling running career, before it has even taken off.

If I've whet your appetite to such a degree already and you are currently rummaging around the back of your closet, searching for those dusty plimsolls which were last exposed to daylight sometime back in 2006... Stop. Please stop. An upgrade is strongly recommended before you even consider hitting the road, otherwise two things may occur. Firstly - injury. Secondly - loss of street cred (arguably even more debilitating).

Now this doesn't mean you have to break the bank and purchase the latest and greatest running shoe out there. The key requirements are that the shoe you choose is both comfortable and supportive so invest in a new pair of kicks and you'll look the part and feel the part.

Now that we've remedied any potential footwear pitfalls, you're ready to kick start your training. It's very important that you start your journey slowly and gradually build on intensity.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - Lao Tzu.

Before you recoil in horror, I must remind you that your journey is 10 kilometres, not 1,000 miles!

However, these fine words of wisdom are certainly applicable - everyone must start somewhere.

• Choose a training programme suitable for your current fitness level and experience. Race for Life provide various training plans to help you take on the 10k challenge. Provided by Kiqplan, these plans will get you race ready within six to twelve weeks, depending on your level of fitness.

• Block out time in your diary for sessions and follow your programme as closely as possible.

• Listen to your body. Aches are inevitable, particularly if you've been inactive for a while.

• Adhere to rest days to give the body time to recover, to regenerate and come back even stronger for your next session.

There will be ups and there will be downs, but I can assure you that it'll all be worthwhile - even more so if you are running for charity. The value of a post finish line selfie with a much vaunted completion medal dangling from your neck is almost immeasurable. 10k? You've got this.

Sign up for Race for Life 10k today www.raceforlife.org or via the hotline on 0300 123 0770.