I’m a runner…. at least I keep telling myself that.

I used to say I wasn’t and there was a time that was true. Running is not for everyone, but let me tell you, when I started getting more serious about it and ran in my first race, I was hooked. I started with five-kilometre races and progressed to 10 and eventually completed a couple half-marathons. I’d like to do a marathon someday and possibly a triathlon.

I recently signed up for a 10-kilometre race on April 30 with the Forest City Road Races in London. The race is in its 35th year and supports the Thames Valley Children’s Centre. Everyone gets a medal at the end of the race, a dri-fit t-shirt, and some other swag. There is a kids fun run, a five-kilometre, 10-kilometre and a half-marathon race that day starting in Victoria Park.

New this year, they are offering those age 21 and under a special discounted race entry fee of $30.

If you are thinking of signing up for your first race, or like me, your first race in a couple years, make sure you have a plan. There are many plans available on the Internet if you are unable to have a trainer, such as myself, build you a plan. Nike Run Club, Livestrong and Map My Run all have great plans. Keep in mind that running is not the only training you will do. You still need to cross train to avoid injury and you need to keep strength training. If you are completely new to all of this, there are beginner plans available.

If you do the 10-kilometre with me, you will start off with a few light runs the first couple weeks with some cross training and a couple active rest days.

Then you will start to progress with some speed training and adding a few kilometers each week. Eventually, you’ll do tempo training, progression and hills. At the beginning of the 12 weeks, you should be logging 10 to 16 kilometres a week and then progressing to 32 to 36 kilometres per week a couple weeks before, then reducing that a bit in the last two weeks before race day.

Your strength training will need to change as the day gets closer and so will your rest days.

It’s important to remain consistent and stick to the plan. I have mine printed out as a calendar and have also entered my plan into my phone to alert me what is coming next. Anyone can complete a race with no injuries as long as they follow a safe and progressive plan. You can go from minimal exercise to running your first five-kilometre in just six weeks; however, I recommend that beginners just establish a regular running schedule of two to three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes with no worry of speed or distance for the first five to six weeks until it becomes habit.

Register at forestcityroadraces.com if you are interested in any race.