How to train for a 5K

As you all know, I am a Journalist and have had a massive project recently with WebMD.
Here is my first feature of the year with them, which takes you through how to train for a 5k.
I’ve always gone for longer distances in the past, but since having Lacie, I always do a 5k on a Thursday with my running buggy. It’s the perfect distance for getting some running in, without it taking over the morning – and her getting too bored too!
Here it is. The original can be found here at WebMD, a website jam-packed with trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information

Sofa to 5K
By Lucy Miller
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Caroline Cross, a running buff, is the first to admit that she didn’t enjoy running The Berlin Marathon as much as she thought she would. Towards the end of her training she was counting down the long runs and early mornings, and literally hobbled over the finishing line – “the last 10k, was the worst,” she says. The achievement of running a marathon is amazing but it’s certainly not for everyone. You not only have to be fit, but you have to be super committed to your training – no more Sunday morning lie-ins!
In preparation for her first marathon, Caroline had run plenty of half marathons and 10k races. She also did a short and sharp run most Saturday mornings, particularly the Parkrun, a free organised 5k run, where she could monitor her time each week and race against other runners. “5k’s are great for speed training and building stamina,” she says. “I have always found that by adding in 5k’s to my training it has helped my performance with longer distances.”

A 5k community
Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004, the idea of Parkrun originated from the initial Bushy Parkrun event, in Teddington, Middlesex.
It started when Paul had a knee injury. He was bored and wanted to stay involved with the running community, so on October 2, 2004, he got 13 of his friends to turn up at Bushy Park and timed them over a 5km course. They went again the next week and then the next, and slowly the word spread and the number of runners turning up grew. It became a regular event, then, during 2007, six more events started up and Parkrun was born.

Parkrun is now one of the most popular runs you can do, and as of March 2014 there have been over 500, 000 participants, with around 375 locations to choose from. Who would have thought so many people would be up and about at 9am (9.30 in Scotland) on a Saturday morning, looking forward to a community-based 5 kilometre run?

“It’s a great start to a Saturday morning and there’s a great atmosphere with a real sense of community with runners from the local area,” says Caroline. “I like the fact that it is also open to everyone and you can run as a family. It is even better when you break a personal best (PB).

Why 5k?
According to Runner’s World, 5k – 3.1 mile’s is the perfect distance for beginners. It’s short and snappy, and “you can fit it quite easily into your day as it doesn’t take up much time,” says Caroline. “It’s also an extremely accessible distance for everyone and for all abilities. Even if you are new to running you can have a go and run it at a pace you are comfortable with.”
Here, the expert’s talk about how you can join Caroline in going from the couch to a 5k course, paying attention not only to your physical training but also your mental attitude. (It’s always recommended, especially for adults over 50, that sedentary people check in with their doctor before starting to train.)

Getting started
When sticking to a training plan, the best thing to do is find a time to train that suits you. Lots of people find that running first thing fits in best, “the whole day is then at your disposal without the need to go for a run hanging over you,” says Nick Anderson, running coach at The Run Lunge. “Most races are usually early on a Sunday morning, so you will start to train your body to respond to an early run in the right way. Remember, the early bird catches the worm!”
“Build up slowly too,” suggests Alex Rahim, Personal Trainer at Virgin Active, “and try not to increase your speed or distance too early. It won’t take you long to prepare for a 5k, so don’t panic.”

Dress for the occasion
If it’s dark and cold outside, then it will make it harder to get out the door. According to Caroline, “The most important thing is to dress sensibly by wearing layers – a bit like an onion.”
Chose a lightweight top for your base layer, then wear a light waterproof jacket or fleece over the top. To keep your legs warm, wear a pair of running leggings underneath a pair of shorts or go for some thick fleecy leggings that can be bought from most good running shops.
You tend to lose around 20% of heat through your head so make sure you wear a hat and a pair of gloves too. There’s nothing worse than fingers that are so cold they hurt – and if you get too warm you can always take them off.

Make training convenient for you
“Look to use your time efficiently, build running into your commute, consider the value of even a short, 20 minute run at lunchtime and skip work drinks and encourage colleagues to join you as well,” says Tom Craggs, UKA Running Coach and coaching advisor to Saucony UK, High5, Adidas UK and SenseCore. “Use your personal time efficiently. We all ‘waste’ time each day. Sleep or a good stretching session is of more value to both your training and your overall health than 30 minutes of ‘smart phone’ time in bed late at night.”

Staying motivated
The only way to stick to your plan is to “Examine all the potential barriers that could get in the way and work out in advance how you’re going to deal with them,” says Robin Gargrave of Central YMCA, the activity for health charity. “Look to train with other people – get yourself down to your local running club or Run England group or get a friend or family member to sign up with you,” says Tom. “Many studies suggest that our partners can have a big influence on our behaviour and our health, with a more recent study by University College, London, suggesting that men and women are three times or more likely to achieve their resolution when their partner joined in the challenge.

Set goals
“Always set SMART goals,” explains Alex. “These are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time frame.”
Write down the reasons you want to do the 5k. This could be as simple as improving your health, losing weight or looking better in your clothes.
“Without goals, training has a lack of direction and purpose meaning the performance outcome will not be fulfilled to its potential,” says Alex.

Break it down into manageable chunks
First, pick the date for your 5k. “Six to eight weeks should be fine, however bear in mind this is not as long as it seems.
“Once you have your date, then begin finding a comfortable pace and run for time as opposed for distance to get the body used to running for a length of time,” says Alex. “Do this for approximately 2 weeks then build in some interval sessions (where you run faster than your average pace for a period like 30 seconds, and doing a walk recovery for 90 seconds) twice a week for 2 weeks. Running hills are important in any running programme too and this can be included in the last 2 weeks of your 6 to 8 week plan.”
Don’t forget your rest days too. Your body needs time to recover in order to get faster. “Look to take a minimum of one complete rest day a week, more for less experienced runners,” says Tom. “Respect that your body progresses and develops through your rest and it’s an area most runners forget.”
If you’re inspired to lace up your trainers and start training for a 5k, then Alex suggests that you: “always try and do one to two strength sessions per week, plus three running sessions per week. Strength training will help prepare the body for impact, and the running sessions do not have to be any longer than 30 minutes at a time so will not affect time out of your day too much.”

Good Luck!

Nuna IVVI pushchair review

Last month, my review for the Nuna Pipa carseat was published on Made For Mums, a fast-growing online community where all parents and parents-to-be can share info, support, fun stuff and friends. I feel so privileged to part of a great site, and just love reviewing all these amazing products. 
Since then I have been lucky enough to review another Nuna product, this time a super duper pushchair also known as Nuna IVVI. It’s an exclusive to Kiddicare, another website that I regularly contribute too. Here’s my review…if you are a company and would like me review one of your products, then please email me at


Nuna, a smart, Dutch inspired brand is run by a father of two who wanted to combine style with durability and functionality. All their products are made using incredibly high end and durable materials and most-importantly are created to grow with your child – there’s nothing worse than having to change your pushchair once they get too big.  


Nuna, a smart, Dutch inspired brand is run by a father of two who wanted to combine style with durability and functionality. All their products are made using incredibly high end and durable materials and most-importantly are created to grow with your child – there’s nothing worse than having to change your pushchair once they get too big.  

The Nuna IVVI, is a luxury pushchair system and has been designed exclusively for Kiddicare. The best thing about it is that all components are sold separately, which is great if you are short on space and don’t want to have to store something that you may not need or use for the time-being. With its space-age looks, the Nuna IVVI is practical and simple to use.

That said, it will set you back £600 for just the stroller – and will cost an additional £200 for the carrycot, but is it worth that sort of cash?

I tested this with my 3-month-old daughter, Lacie.

Optional extras

  • Carrycot
  • Footmuff
  • Car seat

How was it out of the box?

I was really impressed with how simple it was to put together. You simply pop it out the box, click on the all-terrain wheels and you’re good to go. Changing from forward to rear facing couldn’t be easier, it just clips out and you turn it round and slot it back in, although with a new-born rear-facing was the order of the day. 

What about folding?

The Nuna IVVI’s folding mechanism, like all the other adjustments, feels crisp and precise and the pushchair can be folded with or without the seat attached. It folds simply by sliding two clips either side of the buggy towards you before neatly lowering down, making a neat parcel, which you can then wheel to and fro like a trolley. It stands safely on its own too, so no tough carrying or balancing when loading the car. 
To unfold the buggy, you just pull the handle towards you and flip it open. You can also remove the airless tyres at the click of a button.

Did you like the style?

The buggy comes in four colours, ‘Caviar’, ‘Safari’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Graphite.’ All colours are lavish yet understated making each of them?perfect for both boys and girls.

How is it to push?

The Nuna IVVI’s is comfortable to push. It glides along swiftly, and is easy to steer even on uneven terrain – but tight turns were tougher due to the size. The lockable front swivel wheels handle the bumpiest of surfaces beautifully, whilst its suspension technology also helps to absorb the biggest of bumps, making it perfect for even the lightest of sleepers. The pushchair can be pushed easily with one hand too – and the adjustable push bar made it comfortable for my 6ft 2 husband. No excuses now!

What about the hood?

The hood is fab too, it folds right down to cover your little one, and has an extendable canopy with a flip out eyeshade, which is extremely easy to use when baby needs shading from the sun. There is also a ‘peek-a-boo’ window at the back, allowing you to check on your sleeping baby. This, like everything else, has been well considered and is held in place easily with discrete magnets.

How comfortable was it?

The chair is lengthy and I’ve no doubt it would be suitable for my baby for a long time. My 3-month-old went off to sleep quickly and looked so comfortable with the well-padded and luxurious liner. Her head was also well supported by the head hugger and although she looked small in such a big seat, I was satisfied that she was extremely snug and secure. The lap restraint bar seems to be pretty low, but like everything else it can be easily tilted, opened, or removed completely with a few clicks.

What did you think of the storage basket?

I loved the well-structured shopping basket at the base, too. It has two compartments, which are easily accessible and huge…perfect for holding shopping and her change bag yet secure enough for holding my handbag and purse.

How compact and portable was it?

I found it pretty awkward when shopping in small shops and getting in and out of doors. The back wheels are very wide and I got caught up on something or crashed into things very easily – my steering probably didn’t help!

At only 5ft 2, I also felt the pushchair was very dominating and got lots of “Gosh that’s big” comments. It was also difficult putting it into the boot of my small corsa. It was easier to pop it on the back seat, rather than take the wheels off each time I wanted to go in the car, meaning my back seats had to be protected from any muck that had accumulated on the wheels. I also wouldn’t be comfortable getting on and off of trains and buses with it, especially in busy cities like London.Thankfully, I live it Kent with big quiet footpaths, which made it perfect for walking with.

Is it good value for money?

It’s pretty expensive too. At £600 for just the pushchair, you’ll also need to fork out for a footmuff in the winter, which retails at £70, the (see review: carrycot which is £200 and if required the Pipa carseat , which is £150 and comes with adapters that fit on the pushchair’s frame, again very easily.

Who is the Nuna IVVI best for?

Parents who love to walk everywhere, and want a smooth, plush ride for them and their little ones.

In a nutshell

The Nuna IVVI has been thoughtfully designed. It’s a joy to push in spacious areas and the great outdoors, but it’s expensive. You do however get what you pay for and will benefit from a robust, long-lasting pushchair that looks modern and comfortable for you and your little angel. Just don’t expect it to be pretty. It’s more contemporary than attractive but has lots of user-friendly features, which don’t require a manual to utilise. 

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