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Learn how to train for your first run!

How to train for your first run (Demo)

Have you been thinking about doing a fun run for a while?

You’re excited….. but also a bit scared……

Where do you start?

Can you do it?

You’re not sure if you can run more than a kilometre without feeling like stopping. How are you going to run 5 or 10km in one hit?

I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN!!! 

I’m amazed at how many people think about doing a fun run but let their self doubt stop them from doing it. As a Bootcamp Trainer we do a bit of running but rarely big long sessions where you run non-stop but I know that ALL of my Bootcampers could do a 5km run!!! Yep, all of them.

I’m here to give you all the information you need to train for your first run.

My biggest and first tip is – Only commit to an event if YOU WANT TO. It’s got to be something you want to do otherwise the training will be a struggle as your heart isn’t in it.

So, if you’re ready and you’re keen but just a little scared, that’s ok. Follow my tips below and you’ll be race ready and confident.

How to train for your first run –

  • Pick an event, book online and COMMIT
  • Give yourself enough time to train. Depending on where your running is at anywhere from 5-12 weeks is plenty for a 5-10km run. 12-20 weeks for a Half Marathon and 20+ weeks is better if training for a full marathon with little running experience. I would suggest starting small with a 5-10km run so you ENJOY IT then move up from there.
  • Don’t be scared to run/walk.  Don’t think you have to run the whole thing. It’s very common for people to run/walk and quite often they will finish at the same time as someone who has slowed jogged the whole thing.
  • TAKE IT SLOW! I believe this is one of the main reasons so many newbie runners give up. They want to start running and go out and go FLAT OUT, die after a minute or two and think they can never run more than a few minutes. Try SLOWING IT DOWN. Plod. Focus on your breathing. Big breathes in and OUT. The first step is to get your breathing under control and then the legs will follow. If you’re huffing and puffing out of control it’s impossible to keep going. Slow it all down and just focus on your breathing in the beginning.
  • GRADUALLY add distance or time each week. Don’t think you’re going to go out and run the whole distance straight away. You need to have a bit of structure to your training with the goal to gradually increase your distance and running.

To begin with you might aim for:

2-3 runs

If you’re a total newbie I’d suggest downloading one of the couch to 5km apps and following it. Alternatively work out a circuit that is 4-5km. Start with a warm-up walk followed by jogging for as long as you can, stop walk for 1-2 minutes and start jogging again. Do this for your complete circuit. Time yourself with the goal each week to walk a bit less and jog a bit more. The time it takes you to complete the circuit each time should be a bit less and eventually jogging the whole distance.

If you’re someone who can run 5km now and training for a longer run I would suggest –

Aim for 3-4 runs a week

  • 1 run is a dedicated LONG RUN
  • 1-2 runs are an EASY RUN
  • 1 run is a SPEED/TEMPO or HILL RUN

LONG RUN – This is one of the most important runs of your week if you’re aiming for a run that is beyond your current running distance. Work out how far you can run now without stopping. How many weeks until your event. Then structure your plan so each week you GRADUALLY add some time or distance to your long run. The key is to not add too much too soon as this is when injuries happen. You want to get your body used to “time on your feet slowly”. I always had my long run planned for the weekend when I had more time and each week would just add a bit of time/distance each week to build up to my long run distance or close to it. If training for a marathon many people will never do the marathon distance before the run. If doing a 10km run I would try and get the distance in before the run to make it more enjoyable on the day. Your long run should be run at an EASY PACE, a speed where you could maintain a conversation. This session ISN’T about speed but time on your feet.

EASY RUN – If training for a 10km run it might be 30-40 minutes at a moderate pace. Shouldn’t be really hard.

SPEED/TEMPO/HILL RUN – This session is to focus on SPEED or if you’re doing a run that includes HILLS  you want to train for them. This session should include a 10-15 minute warm-up (jogging, dynatic stretches). Followed by bursts of speed OR hills. Examples might be 2 minutes fast, 3 minutes slow for 20 minutes or 500m on, 500m off or short 80m sprints with a standing recovery or 3 x 1km efforts with a 500m jogging recovery or 8 x 20 second Hill Sprints with walking downhill as recovery.

If you are new to running KEEP IT SIMPLE. Make your long run your priority and  just aim to get in 1-2 more runs.

  • Crosstrain. Don’t just run every day, make sure you include a good rest and other forms of training.


  • Good shoes. You need shoes that suit YOUR FOOT. Make sure you get shoes that support your foot arch and are designed for running. Personally I won’t really buy a pair of shoes under $150 (unless I’ve scored an awesome deal). You’ll find the cheaper shoes don’t have the support and when you have shoes that are old your joints will feel it and make it all feel that bit harder.
  • Digital Watch. If you want to get fancy you can get a gps watch to track distance and speed but for newbies just a basic stopwatch is fine. Some people like to get a heart rate monitor to track their level of exertion but again monitoring your breathing and taking notice to how you feel is fine to begin with.  You will also find many apps on your phone that can track your runs. Mapmyrun is one of them.
  • Some good running circuits. You can either use time or distance as your guide. Find a variety of circuits/hills/tracks where you can complete your run.
  • A good sports bra, not so necessary for the blokes but can be optional, ha, ha. Seriously you want some support! So invest in a good sports bra.
  • Comfy workout clothes. As your runs get longer your clothes have a bigger impact (think chaffing). Find some good comfy, cool clothes.
  • Energy! This is where the food/fuel side of things come in. For the shorter runs under 10km you shouldn’t need to adjust your diet too much. If you want to lose weight then I wouldn’t add more to your diet. If you are not concerned with weight loss and want energy then I would suggest adding in some simple carbohydrates about 30-45 minutes prior to your run. Fruit, Sports Gel etc. If training for a Half Marathon or Marathon you will need to think about fuel during your run and practice this during training. There are many different methods but a general guide might be about 20g of carbs every 45 minutes. Obviously you want easily digestible carbs for energy. Sports gel, sports drink, jelly beans are quick easy carbs to get in while running.  You also have to be able to consume it on the go.
  • BIG TIP – Never combine sports gels with sports drinks and practice whatever you are going to do on race day during training. Don’t wing it or mix it up on race day!  When I did my marathon I consumed a sports gel followed by a big drink of sports drink and had cramps for the rest of the race, mmm not pleasant!!! 
  • Music – Not essential but I LOVE some good tunes to keep me going when running. Just be aware that some races will not allow participants to wear headphones so don’t get too reliant on it!


  • How fast should I go? As mentioned above when trying to increase your distance DO NOT WORRY ABOUT SPEED, plod along and get your breathing under control. If doing a speed run then, yes, you will want to push yourself but for newbies it’s all about building up running time than speed. TIP – Don’t set a time goal for your first run. Just aim to COMPLETE IT and HAVE FUN!  
  • How often should I run? I’m not a believer in running every day as I believe you need good rest to get the most out of your training. A newbie might aim for 2-3 sessions per week, max 4.
  • How do I deal with muscle soreness? Make sure you include a good warm-up and Cool Down. STRETCH after your workout, focussing on your hamstrings, glutes and quads. Magnesium or having a electrolyte drink post/during workout can also help.


  • Shin Splints -  Make sure your shoes are good quality and to begin with SPACE OUT YOUR RUNNING. Quite often Shin Splints occur because you have increased your running too quickly.
  • You hit a wall – Many people underestimate the impact that dehydration can have on your running. If you’re dehydrated you WILL struggle! Make sure you have consumed adequate water pre, during and post workout. To check how much water you are losing during a run. Weigh yourself naked pre run and then again post run and if you’ve lost 1kg you have lost a kilo of fluid!!! This means next time you need to sip more water during your run. For runs over 1 hour you will also run out of carbs so you need to consume them during so you don’t “hit the wall”.

Anyway, I think I better stop here. I could go on forever but might go into more detail on specific tops in seperate blogs.

My biggest tip is – If you’re keen, COMMIT, do the training, organise a support team and ENJOY THE DAY! 

Hope that helps!


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