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  1. Everyone is welcome. Run with your children, push toddlers in their buggies, even run with your dog if you want to.
  2. Being surrounded by nature is one of life’s simple pleasures.  No traffic, no worries.
  3. The weekend goes so quickly, so why waste a chunk of it in bed?  Getting a run in first thing on Saturday morning makes you feel virtuous and sets you up for the rest of the weekend.
  4. There’s zero hassle.  Register once, then just turn up with your barcode whenever you want.
  5. Age grading is a real motivator for improvement - you can excel whatever your age.  For example, Run JB’s oldest runner (in her 60s) is second highest in our age grading rankings!
  6. It’s everywhere.  Away visiting friends or relatives for the weekend?  No problem – just look up their local event.  With 153 locations all over the UK, chances are it won’t be far away.
  7. It’s a great social event.  You meet loads of like-minded people and can stick around for a good natter over coffee after the run.

Remember, you were Born to Run! Inspired to join in? Register online at the ParkRun website and reinvent your Saturday mornings!

For a fascinating behind the scenes account of how parkrun grew from its humble beginnings to become such a phenomenal success, check out Debra Bourne's book: parkrun: much more than just a run in the park

 
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Running used to be a necessity, the only way early humans could survive and thrive and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten. You ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running, or you wouldn't live to love anything else."

- Christopher McDougall, Author of

  Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't or shouldn't run.  There is a lot of scaremongering over the supposed dangers of running. That's why I love the quote above.  Running is the most natural thing in the world. 

Of course you may encounter problems if you try to do too much, too soon. That's why it is important to follow a structured progressive training plan, such as the one we use at Run JB in our Couch to 5K beginners running course in Swindon.  But don't for a moment think that you are a) too old (I regularly and unashamedly get beaten by more experienced runners a decade or more my senior) or b) too heavy (beginners programmes involve running initially for no more than 60 seconds at a time between walking intervals).  Still need convincing? Watch this clip of the 2012 UK Biggest Loser contestants (including 32 stones Kevin) finishing their 5K race in the very first episode!

As a general rule, you should aim to increase total mileage by no more than 10% per week. Use cross-training to complement your running programme and lessen the risk of injury.  I am a great advocate of a "quality not quantity" approach to endurance running, having successfully completed my first marathon by running no more than three days a week.  Cardio-respiratory fitness can be further improved by incorporating other forms of exercise such as rowing, cycling or swimming into your training plan.   Lastly, remember not to neglect resistance training. Muscular endurance is crucial in order to maintain proper running form when you get tired towards the end of a run.  Make sure you complete at least one weekly resistance exercise session. This doesn't necessarily mean lifting weights in the gym - bodyweight exercises such as those used in Metafit classes are extremely effective if tailored appropriately.

I'll be examining several of these running training topics in more detail in future blogs.  In the meantime, rediscover your natural instinct and get out running!

If you need to discover or regain your running "mojo", then look no further than the truly inspirational

Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I owe a debt of gratitude to my brother for buying me this book as a Christmas present seven years ago. Reading it reignited a dormant passion for running which at the time had been overtaken by my international rugby commitments. It inspired me to begin a running journey which would lead to me eventually running several marathons, completing an ironman, and ultimately founding Run JB, Swindon's only women's running club.

 

 
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