Jog On Meningitis is Meningitis Now’s brand new virtual event with a seemingly simple task – cover 50km in 50 days and raise at least £50 to help us in our fight against meningitis in the UK.
However you choose to take on this challenge is up to you, but here are a few tips to get you started on that road to victory.
1. Work out your action plan
Whatever your current fitness level, it’s always easier to try and stick to a schedule or training plan than leaving everything to the last minute. You might be able to tackle all 50km in one go, but if you’re new to fitness, aren’t quite at ultra-distance yet or are returning after injury, it’s definitely worth breaking your challenge into manageable chunks. 1km a day for 50 days? 5km twice a week? Whatever works for you – just make sure that you can realistically dedicate the time you need to stick to your plan.
2. Do it your way
Jog On Meningitis isn’t about how fast you travel, it’s about getting out there, having fun and telling meningitis to jog on. Walk, jog, run or mix it up – as long as you complete your 50km within 50 days it doesn’t matter whether you tick off each kilometre in 4 minutes or 20.
3. Dress for the part
You need to be comfortable and if you’re likely to be working up a sweat, have a think about the material of your clothing. Cotton gets soggy very quickly (and stays that way), which can cause very much unwanted chaffing; moisture-wicking, breathable ‘technical’ fabrics like lycra and polyester are ideal.
Fancy a branded Meningitis Now running vest to wear during your challenge? Buy yours today and complete your 50k in style!
4. Look after your feet
Like your clothing, your footwear should be comfortable and suitable for the kind of activity you’re doing. Most high-street clothing brands and even supermarkets have a range of sportswear and you can pick up a new pair of trainers for very little money.
That said, if you’re a new runner and find that you’re getting sharp pains in your legs or back as you cover those kilometres, it’s definitely worth going to your nearest sports retailer for a gait analysis. This will look at what position your feet are landing in with each stride and, while I’m not saying you need to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest model of running shoe, a lot of running injuries are prevented by wearing trainers with support that’s specific to your gait.
5. Don’t be put off by your surroundings
If you’re put off by the idea of having to run in public, then don’t! There are loads of ways that you can cover your 50km and they don’t have to be outside; if you’d rather use a treadmill then go for it. Don’t like running on the road? Look up some nearby country walks and take to the trails.
6. Make long-term changes
Your 50km, 50 day challenge doesn’t need to be a one-off; why not use Jog On Meningitis as the starting point for an ongoing love of running? The NHS Couch to 5k series covers 9 weeks and will take you from being a complete non-runner to running solidly for 30 minutes. I promise that it’s not as scary as it sounds – I began Couch to 5k as a completely sedentary asthmatic and three years on am a regular runner and have even completed two marathons this year.
The key is not to take on too much too soon. Believe in yourself – you can definitely do it!
7. Don’t forget to stretch!
An often overlooked necessity, make sure you stretch off after your exercise. The NHS Choices website has a great, simple guide to the basic stretches.
Most importantly – have fun and tell meningitis to jog on!