Running for exercise is an acquired taste – some people love it, others tolerate it for the health benefits, and some just plain fear running altogether. It’s fair to say that we have representatives from every one of those groups at SV, but eleven of us have taken the plunge and committed to running a 10K race this March. The run is part of our year-long plan of activities to raise money for charity. 

I myself have never really enjoyed running. Memories of miserable, muddy cross country running at school have been enough for me to avoid this type of exercise for many years – I prefer non-competitive activities like yoga or circuits. But I decided to take on the challenge of running 10k to help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and local soup kitchen and open larder.

Once you commit to improving your fitness, there is a lot of help available to help you achieve your goal, whether it’s running a certain distance or losing a certain amount of weight. Many people have found the ‘Couch to 5K’ app helpful, as it starts off with a gentle mix of running and walking, building up strength and stamina over time until you are ready to run for a longer distance. Rest days in between runs are important to help your muscles repair and help avoid injury.

Then there’s a whole range of gadgets that can help count the number of steps you take each day – the recommended 10 thousand steps a day (which is approximately 8km, depending on stride length) is more difficult to achieve than you might imagine, whether running or walking them.

Daily exercise is especially important for office workers, who can spend most of the day being sedentary. Recent research has found that you need to exercise for at least 60 minutes a day to offset the health risks associated with sitting too long. So a 10k run, which will likely take me over an hour to complete, is in line with what we should all be aiming for if we have a sedentary lifestyle and don’t want to have an increased risk of heart problems and type 2 diabetes in later life.

With only ten days to go until race day, it’s fair to say that there are nerves about completing the final distance, but also excitement. All the hard work has been worth it to help get to our final goal of raising as much as we can for charity, and a healthier bunch of workers.