24 May 2022

NIALL FERGUS: New Year the best time to get into the joys of running

Dundalk Life

NIALL FERGUS: New Year the best time to get into the joys of running

NIALL FERGUS: New Year the best time to get into the joys of running

My name is Niall Fergus, I used to play soccer for Quay Celtic and GAA for Dundalk Young Irelands. Six years ago I started running at 23 years old, and I loved it. I was running and playing gaelic but I give GAA up to give running my everything.

I have competed in the nationals and this year I was so happy to win the Louth 3k Track Race and the Louth Cross Country Intermediate Championship. These were aims of mine for the year and I had a great 2018, but it was hard work.

With this column I am hoping to help people to see the many benefits of running and how it can massively change both your health and fitness. And I also hope to impart some tips that I have learned along the way.

First thing first; here's why running is great:

1. Simple one to start with - running is free.

2. You get what you put into it. If you work hard and get out 3 to 5 times a week you will see the results.

3. You don't need anything to run, all you need to do is get out the front door and start running. Now that sentence that I just said of getting out the front door can be a difficult one to fully process. Look to a friend for encouragement, or join a running club - there are plenty out there. I am with North East Runners myself, but there are organised fun runs out there, there are competitive ones too. Facebook message any of them and you can find out more.

4. Another great thing is - running keeps you fit and healthy and if you have kids, it might help them take it up too in the future.

Okay, now for some general running tips:

1. Start off January slow - nothing too mad or hectic - you don't want to get injured. A good start for a newbie would be to go out three times a week. Either join a club, a 'Couch to 5k' group, download the Couch to 5k app, or go and do the local Parkrun at DKIT. It's on at 9.30am in the sports ground of the college every Saturday.

Register on and print out your barcode and bring it along with you on the day. Another good thing for starting is to look for a local race.

Fitzer’s 5k is on Saturday, February 23rd. It’s a very good 5km. I will be doing it myself and I would recommend it.
Find it on Facebook to register.

2. As you get more confident with running, get another day or two in, if you can.

If pushed for time, find the time, sometimes I go out at six in the morning, if you can go on your lunch break, try to fit in the extra sessions if possible - it will help massively.

3. Also, when you feel confident with running again, there are different types of runs you can do. The three main ones are: 1. A speed session, 2. A tempo session and 3. A long run.

I coach people and do up a programme for them, I can help if needed, but once you get going, if you are going out on a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, for example and doing 5k each day and at the same pace, this is okay to do, but it will not get you doing quicker times.

You will need to do a speed session which may entail doing 4x400metres with a one minute and 30 second break between each, and doing each one as quick as you can. Then a tempo session.

The second run to get into your week is going out and doing maybe a 3k or 5k and trying to run at a good tempo for 20 to 40 minutes without your pace dropping. So maybe doing 5k in 25 minutes, or 5 minutes a kilometre.

Trying to maintain it can be hard, but this is where you will improve.

The last run for the week is a long run. This can vary between doing a 10km for beginners to doing a 20km for more advanced. This long run is not at a tempo pace, it should be slowish but not walking.

This long run is just about getting out and doing the longer kilometres - 10km to 20km.

Email me for advice at

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