FEELING GREAT: Make sure Santa run is fun

READY FOR THE RUN: The Santa Fun Run in Ward Jackson Park
READY FOR THE RUN: The Santa Fun Run in Ward Jackson Park

So this Sunday sees the return of the “Santa Fun Run” in Ward Jackson Park…

And, after being in the Cafe In The Park there at the weekend, enjoying a latte and a nice bacon sandwich (do as I say, not do as I do!), I’m reliably informed by the staff that they’re expecting the best turnout yet for the annual fun run in aid of the hospice.

So with that in mind, what I thought would be fun this week would be to give you some tips for running the half-mile through the park that might make it a little easier to get round in one go.

If you’re new to this type of thing, or running for half a mile non-stop is something that you’ve never done before, then here are three things to take into account before you arrive – the last one being the one that everyone should be aware of:

Footwear – Trainers don’t need to be all that expensive but don’t under-estimate the importance of a decent pair of running shoes.

Tennis shoes won’t do and resist the temptation to choose those old tired running shoes you’ve occasionally used over the past few years.

To reduce the risk of injury, you need fresh, well cushioned proper runners. After all, running shoes are designed for running and if you’re a beginner, your legs are going to need all the protection they can get.

A simple warm-up – most fun runners make the mistake of either doing the wrong type of warm-up, or forgetting to do one at all!

Yet, all you need to do is jog up and down on the spot for about five to six minutes and then gently stretch the muscles you’re about to use – such as your hamstring, calf and Achilles.

Most people stretch these muscles without being warm, and that makes them more likely to get injured than had they not done the stretch in the first place.

You could have some fun doing it – get together in a small circle with all the people you’re running with, hold hands, jog on the spot for five minutes or so and then do three or four simple stretches.

Fluids – even though it’s going to be pretty cold, the fact you’re likely to be wearing a big heavy Santa suit means that you’ll sweat a lot easier and more quickly that you might think.

And if you’re sweating then you’re dehydrating yourself, which means you’ve got to replace that fluid quickly.

Water will do. There’s no need for any expensive energy drinks or anything like that, but just be aware that you will overheat quickly and your body’s reaction will be to cool you down with sweat.

So, if you take your Santa suit off and your under clothes are sticking to your body despite you only having ran for 10 minutes or so, you’ll know why!

But more importantly, you’ll recognise it as a sign to drink some water before you drink a cup of tea or a coffee (which will make you even more hydrated).

Ok, that’s it! Three simple tips to make the Santa fun run this weekend even more enjoyable. Have fun!