Race Day Preparation | Running For Beginners

We’re in full spring mode, and the lighter skies have had us swapping treadmill life for fresh air and more greener views for our weekly workouts. Not only that, hundreds of thousands of us will be signing up to local fun runs, 10K races and even marathons in the not to distant future. So, to make sure you’re fighting fit for race day we’ve teamed up with fitness coach Mark Ross for all the race day preparation you’ll need to get over the finish line.

With just under six weeks to go till the Coggles team make their way to the starting post, we got the low down from Mark on everything from nutrition to running shoes. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to beat your PB.


With six weeks to go before a 10K, how intensive should your training be and why?

The training at this part of your preparation doesn’t have to be intense at all really, but you do have to start now and get yourself moving/jogging. If you are brand new to exercising then at the same time as starting running, start to increase mobility by stretching as well, around 10-15 minutes a day is perfect.

When training for a 10K, what would you suggest wearing?

I’d suggest simple outfits, I like to keep the focus on the workout so anything black, grey or white works perfect, I know when I throw pieces together like this it will look great. On top I love a vest and the satisfy race singlets are perfect. The Salomon x Satisfy running shoes are what I’d choose, a solid trainer that’s comfy and will get you through the toughest of runs.

How many times should you train a week and for how long?

For running specifically you should be aiming for 3 runs per week, then as mentioned previously, add a mobility workout either at the end of your run or another day. I personally like to use an hour to train, this is a good target for a 10K run.

Can you give us a step by step fitness routine for the first week of training?

I personally would advise you start running 5-10 minute blocks then 3-5 minutes recovery (repeat this for around an hour) We’d build the distance as we go further into training but just to get used to being comfortable running this is a good place to start. Do this run 2-3 x per week for the first week, here’s an example schedule.

Monday –  5-10 minute run – 5 min rest for 60 minutes

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 5-10 minute run – 5 min rest for 60 minutes

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 5-10 minute run – 5 min rest for 60 minutes

Sunday – Rest

Pre-training, what is your go-to meal for energy?

I keep my nutrition very simple as I play football I need to feel light but energised. The main thing is to make sure you’re not eating foods that don’t sit well with you, so take the first few weeks getting into a good routine of healthy, nutritious energising meals and test different ones out. I would say keep your plate balanced, a portion of carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes, some protein for your muscles like lean chicken or turkey and include some healthy fats like olive oil.

What trainers would you recommend for running and why?

For me the ASICS lifestyle gels have always been one of the best running shoes out there since I can remember, these are built for hitting the road. I particularly like the gel/Kayano 5 OG white midnight.

What is your ideal post training meal and snack?

Post training I like to refuel quickly, instead of a meal of protein and carbs, I like to drink a protein shake then give myself an hour or 2 before I eat a full meal. My meals are always balanced with a lean protein source for muscles, carbohydrates for energy recovery and healthy fats for health.

What type of training would you recommend to build stamina and strength?

To build stamina for races you really do need to just go and get some miles under your belt. So the main part of your training should be getting better at running. Other elements can help a lot if you have time. As a PT I know the benefit of how much weight training can progress your strength, and the stronger you are the faster and more stable you will be when it comes to race day.

So if your going to add something to your running and mobility, make it a basic full body workout, aim for 6-8 exercises using the big main movements (pushing,pulling, squating, lunging)


Interview with Mark Ross

Words by Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Writer and expert