6 Tips for Preparing for Your First Fun Run

Article written by Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic.

Preparing for your first fun run can be both exciting and a little daunting. Whether you are brand new to running or simply setting yourself a new challenge in your running journey, preparation is key. Setting a solid foundation with good technique and training is vital to making the most of your experience and preventing injury.

Let’s explore six top tips to help you prepare for your first fun run, focusing on building endurance, improving running technique and minimising the risk of injury.

ben lucas tips for preparing for your first fun run

Preparing for Your First Fun Run Event

Tip 1: Sign up to an event

Having an event to train for is a great way to motivate yourself to make a plan and stick to it. The Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10&5K for example, is a brilliant course as it is flat and fast. Therefore it is less daunting for a beginner, and for a seasoned runner it provides great opportunity to achieve a PB. Additionally, this year is “Retro Run” themed so pull out your best 80s and 90s gear and get in the spirit. The event will give runners the opportunity to raise funds for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).

Tip 2: Start Training Early

Begin your training regimen well in advance of the fun run to gradually build up your endurance and confidence. Aim to start at least 6-8 weeks before the event, or earlier if you have the time! A structured training plan will guide your workouts, incorporating a mix of running, walking and rest days. Start with manageable distances and gradually increase your kilometres over time to prepare your body for the demands of the event. By starting early, you will give yourself ample time to build a solid foundation and reduce risk of injury.  

Tip 3: Focus on Proper Technique

Good running technique and form is essential for efficiency and injury prevention. Pay attention to your posture, foot strike and arm movement as you run. Aim for a relaxed and upright posture, with your shoulders back and relaxed away from your ears. Your head should be facing forward looking at the horizon. Choose quick fast steps over long-strides. Land lightly on your midfoot with your heel under your hip. Try to maintain a steady rhythm with your arm swing, ensuring your hands do not cross the midline of your body. Practising good technique from the start will help you run more efficiently and reduce the risk of strain or injury. If you feel you could use a little extra support in this area, book yourself in with a trainer or physiotherapist that is knowledgeable in this area.

Tip 4: Gradually Increase Distance

Avoid the temptation to increase your kilometres too quickly, as this can lead to overuse injuries. Instead, focus on gradually increasing your running distance and intensity over time. Start with shorter runs and gradually add to your distance covered each week (1-2 km at a time), allowing your body to adapt to the increased demands. Listen to your body’s signals and adjust your training as needed to prevent fatigue or injury. By taking a gradual approach to increasing distance, you’ll build endurance safely and effectively. 

Tip 5: Incorporate Strength and Course-Specific Training 

In addition to running, incorporate strength training and course-specific training activities into your routine. Strength training should be catered to building up specific muscles needed for running. During running your legs are alternating taking the entire weight of the body in isolation. It is not uncommon to have one leg that is stronger than the other. In the interest of injury prevention and efficiency, you should be aiming to correct any imbalances or strength deficits you may have. Focus on single leg strength exercises such as one legged deadlifts, TRX single leg squats and Romanian split squats. Additionally, incorporate core and functional stability work into your strength training as this is key to ensuring good form while running. 

Don’t forget to include some course-specific drills into your training. Research the fun run course ahead of time, will there be hills, mud or sand? If so, these require additional fitness and should be practised beforehand. For hills, start with jogging up hills that are 100 metres to 150 metres and then walking or jogging back down.

Tip 6: Listen to Your Body and Rest

Finally, listen to your body’s signals and prioritise rest and recovery as needed. Pay attention to signs of fatigue, pain, or overtraining and adjust your training accordingly. Incorporate rest days into your training plan to allow your body time to recover and repair. Use rest days as an opportunity to stretch, foam roll or engage in gentle mobility exercises to promote recovery and prevent injury. And, on the day of the race, don’t be afraid to walk-run! By listening to your body and prioritising rest, you’ll ensure that you’re well-rested and ready to tackle your first fun run with confidence. 

80s retro run sydney 2024

Preparing for your first fun run requires dedication, patience, and a focus on proper technique and training. By following these six tips, you’ll set a strong foundation for success and ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience on race day. Remember to start training early, focus on proper technique, increase kilometres gradually, incorporate strength training as well as course-specific training, and listen to your body’s signals. And, don’t forget to have fun!

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