Written by Nicola Tordoff-Sohne You might already be one and if not, you certainly already know one . YES we’re talking about those who are smitten with running MANY people start running so they can eat more cake and drink more wine whilst keeping the muffin top in check! It’s a great calorie burner but once the running bug bites, that reason soon becomes secondary and you may find that running is the reason in itself. One day you realise that you’re not running to get fit anymore, you’re getting fit to run! Speak to a runner and they all have their reasons for running. Some say it’s a primal urge, believing that this is what our bodies were designed to do - chase down our dinner until we wore them out! Others talk about the joy that running brings and link it to a sense of childhood abandonment and freedom that kicks in. When was the last time you burst into a run out of pure excitement? Probably at aged 7 or 8! For me it’s an opportunity to collect my thoughts and connect with my body. I like the clarity and creativity that come from an oxygen flooded mind and the post run glow of achievement and wellbeing. If you’re new to, or still navigating your way around a new city, what better way to explore the nooks and crannies of your new stomping ground than by lacing up your running shoes and hitting the city on foot? If you’re new in town it’s the perfect way to meet new people, improve language skills and blow off some steam after work. Running is inexpensive, doesn’t have the social stigma that’s attached to some other sports, is open to everyone and unless you’ve moved to the South Pole you’d be hard pressed not to find at least one running club in your area. Friends and runners Joanne and Rebecca started running in Amsterdam for fitness and some quality girl time and ended up successfully completing the Paris half marathon following my training plan. Joanne’s Half Marathon Story: “My F rench friend Rebecca invited me along on a run one day and I jokingly asked what we were training for and she said “the Paris half marathon!” I thought about it for a while and then thought ‘f*ck it’ and signed up to do it too! How I trained for it: We followed Nicola’s training plan which started off with 3 short distance runs per week, eventually adding a fourth longer run of increasing distance. The plan also included strength training focussed on building up the core and supporting muscles to prevent injury.