Olympian's tip: set a goal and enjoy yourself

NOT sure how to train for a 10-kilometre run? Triple Olympian sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor is here to help.

NOT sure how to train for a 10-kilometre run? Triple Olympian sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor is here to help.

With the Rebel Sport Run4Fun presented by The Sun-Herald six weeks away, Gainsford-Taylor has some useful training tips to help you conquer the Sydney Olympic Park course come Sunday, November 4.

The Australian speedster spent her youth burning up the track over the 100 metres or 200 metres but, following her retirement in 2002, she did not run for three years.

"I had no desire to run at all," Gainsford-Taylor, 40, said. "It was only after I gave birth to my second child, Gabriella, that I decided to lose weight and start running and now I'm back obsessed with it again.

"Running helps me destress and gives me time out from life."

Having started as an amateur jogger means that Gainsford-Taylor knows what many Run4Fun participants are going through.

"You have to build up over a period of time, so if you're going for 30- to 40-minute walks and have that basic fitness, I would start off by running for one minute and then walking for five minutes and repeating that a number of times," she said.

"Then you could walk for five minutes and run for five minutes and maintain that as long as you can, with a five-minute walk as a warm-up and warm-down at the end, followed by 15 minutes of stretching." She suggests doing that three times a week, along with a cross-training session such as swimming or cycling that will increase your fitness but rest your body from the impact of running. Interval training, where runners speed up between markers such as street lights, and then slow down until the next marker, is also recommended.

Gainsford-Taylor suggests training at set times with a friend or relative because you'll be more likely to turn up. Putting your training gear out the night before your session will also help get you out the door.

Most importantly, plan to take the Run4Fun at your own pace, Gainsford-Taylor said.

"I've done this myself and it's a big no-no people often get carried away at the start and take off fast with everyone else and they realise down the track that they're struggling because they can't maintain it," she said. "You want to finish, that's the goal, so just take it easy, get your breathing under control and into a rhythm and enjoy yourself."

The Rebel Sport Run4Fun, presented by The Sun-Herald, is proudly supported by Brooks, Sydney Olympic Park, ANZ Stadium, Novotel, Timex, Orix, R4YL and our charity partners Movember and the Children's Hospitals at Westmead, Newcastle and Randwick. Enter online at run4fun.com.au.

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