Let the Great South Run guide you to greatness

On your marks, get set, go
On your marks, get set, go

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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Congratulations to all those who completed the Great South Run at the end of last month.

I know a number of people who donned wet weather gear to hit the 10-mile course around the city and what’s great is a lot of them weren’t supreme athletes out to beat the clock.

What makes this event so special is that alongside the world-class sprinters you also get the inspirational runners who pit themselves against the elements in an effort to raise money for a good cause.

Quite a few of them are first-time runners who go through the pain to raise money for charity or just to show they can have a go.

Completing a 10-mile run, jog or even walk is no mean feat and is a great accomplishment for anyone to achieve.

Anyone who finished the run will tell you of the buzz and high that comes from taking part in this huge event.

So why let the feeling stop there? The boost in confidence and enthusiasm left behind by a large-scale group event like the Great South Run is a perfect springboard for your journey into fitness.

Whether running, swimming, rowing, or dancing, you will experience the same good feelings and great health benefits.

There are lots of techniques out there for people who haven’t done a lot of running before but would like to in order to get fit.

In and around the Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant and Fareham areas there are plenty of scenic open spaces to go running in.

So if you want to take it a step further there are plenty of things to do. But don’t worry, it doesn’t all have to be a feat of endurance.

One great programme is the NHS-backed Couch to 5K for absolute beginners which gradually builds you up to being able to run 5km in just nine weeks.

Sometimes we are tempted to just jump into our trainers and pound the pavement in an all-out sprint. But if you’re not used to running, this approach will leave you feeling utterly knackered, defeated and unlikely to want to return to it anytime soon.

The Couch to 5K programme is a slow mix of running and walking to build up your stamina until you’re keeping a good pace.

So if you cracked the Great South Run this year, keep training and have another go at it in 2013.

With all that extra practice you’ll be getting in, you can look forward to smashing the time you set yourself this year.

And if you didn’t take part this year, you’ve got plenty of time to get ready for the next one. The people of Portsmouth cheering from the sidelines will give you all the motivation you need.

For more information about the Couch to 5K programme, visit nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k.


Tis the season to be poorly. So keep that in mind when you’re training at this time of year.

I’m just recovering from a horrible bout of lurgy myself and I almost fell victim to the mistake of carrying on with my normal training intensity while still recovering from a cold.

I nearly lost balance from going too hard and could have had a painful fall with a heavy set of weights on my shoulder.

Always remember when you’re not feeling 100 per cent your body and mind are not operating at their normal levels, which makes it dangerous to try and push yourself to your normal limits.

By all means train a little if you are under the weather, but training too hard too soon after catching a bug can slow your recovery down or cause an accident.

Frustrating though it may be, sometimes you need to just take a bit of time off.

So kick back, relax and think up some exciting new training ideas for when you’re back on your feet.