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For many a first-timer, the idea of a fun run can seem anything but, with images of yourself struggling under at the 1km mark immediately springing to mind.

Ask anyone who’s completed in an event like The Sunday Mail Bridge to Brisbane, though, and they will attest that there is much more to the experience than the uninitiated may realise. Fun runs offer an amazing sense of self-accomplishment and can kick-start healthy habits that last a lifetime.

For those who find themselves enticed into their first foray into the world of fun runs, the following dos and don’ts will help you hit the ground running ahead of August 25, 2019.

Do: train – The old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ really applies here. While no one will be expecting any record-breaking performances on your initial outing, training to find and push your current physical limits ensures the 5km or 10km required on race day isn’t the daunting prospect it may initially seem.

Don’t: over-train – Endeavoring to improve your physical fitness before a fun run is always a good idea, but it’s also important to not exert yourself too heavily in the weeks prior. Nothing can halt training progress faster than an injury, so if ever you find yourself in pain while prepping for the big day, stopping and seeking appropriate medical attention is vital.

Do: recruit friends – Having equally motivated friends to train alongside can help push you through a tough training session, perform well on the day, and even achieve new personal bests. A bit of healthy competition is indeed a good thing.

Don’t: stay up the night before – This one is a no-brainer, but a good night’s rest is crucial before you race. Avoid alcohol and attempt to limit your exposure to blue light emitting devices, like your mobile phone (which may prompt your body to stay awake), so you can hit the hay early.

Do: mix up your training – Focusing solely on jogging during your training period may seem tempting, given that the event you’re preparing for is a foot race, but mixing up your workout ensures the boredom that can plague athletes is avoided. Try swimming laps for a low-impact alternative or incorporate more strength-building exercises into your regime.

Don’t: skimp on training gear – While the price of quality footwear may seem a big deterrent, ensuring you have the right gear will keep you comfortable and focused when it comes time to hit the pavement. Choose joggers which are lightweight and conform to the natural shape of your foot. Insider tip: buy your shoes at least one month before race day and wear them in! Our friends at Brooks Running have a great selection on offer, should you need a recommendation!

Do: find motivation through music – Lapses in motivation are common for athletes, both amateur and professional, but finding the right tunes to listen to is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep you powering through your workouts. Ensure an energetic Spotify playlist is on hand come race day.

Don’t: carbo load the day before – You may have heard of sportspeople ‘carbo-loading’ to gain a competitive advantage the day before a big event, but this is only true when tackling much more long-form competitions, such as marathons and triathlons. When it comes to the shorter fun run, no such extra food intake is recommended, just your normal diet.

Do: plan ahead – Knowing how you’re getting to the event and when you need to leave to avoid traffic, along with having your race materials (such as bibs) in order ahead of time can avoid the last-minute stress which may detract from your performance.

Don’t: start the race cold – Having successfully made a well-planned and timely arrival at the starting line, it’s important to warm up to avoid injury during the race. A short five minute jog, or even a brisk walk at the race site is enough to warm your muscles and get the blood pumping.

If after studying these simple dos and don’ts you find yourself inspired to give a fun run a crack, The Sunday Mail Bridge to Brisbane is a great event for both veterans and newcomers alike. The 5km and 10km competitions commence on Sunday, the 25th August in the heart of the river city. Register now.