IT’S that time of the year again when all the shiny new running shoes are tried out and possibly last year’s running shoes that got very little use.

The fluorescent lycra is donned and the gyms and roads are packed with eager runners hoping to lose that bit of extra weight that crept in over Christmas or trying to get fit for a spring race.

First timers get along to your GP and get the once over. After that, it is a matter of taking things easy over the first few weeks.

A perfect start for complete beginners is the many ‘Couch to 5k’ courses that are due to start in January.

These courses are a great way to ease yourself into running with a like-minded group of people.

This leads to a graduation at a local parkrun. No better way to get you on the road to a 10K.

Once the parkrun has been completed and you are comfortable with that distance it’s time to move on to the 10k training. Make it enjoyable. Run with friends. Yes, you do have friends that run. Remember all those other people who completed the ‘Couch to 5k’ course? They need company also.

There are 5k to 10k training sessions out there, but if you can’t find one just run along any road and you will come across a runner. We are a friendly bunch and anyone who is out there day-in, day-out will have time to help you on your road to whichever goal you choose. I started out on my own.

I was a bit shy (I can here you all laughing) but I now text out every day to a group of 25 about various runs. Meeting up at different parts of Belfast. Getting fit and having fun. I started my running on a treadmill in my daughter’s garage. I completed my first 10k without ever running on the roads in training.

Six years later, I have completed numerous marathons, half marathons, 10ks and I won’t even go down the parkrun line. Here, did I ever tell you…? So don’t think you can’t do it? You can do it. It takes a bit of willpower, but it will change your life for ever. The changes both mentally and physically will be there for you and your family to see.

Two or three times a week building up your distance is enough for anyone. The first should be enjoyable. Don’t worry about achieving a certain time. You want this to become part of the new you, so don’t put yourself off by bursting yourself on your first race.

If you haven’t already, get signed up for this year’s Craic 10k on St Patrick’s Day and do it soon. It is a great race through the streets of Belfast and is going from strength each year. This could be your goal. You can do this.