RUNNING is seen as one of the healthiest ways to kickstart weight loss.
Now the Glasgow Women's 10K is set to motivate hundreds of slimmers to shed their extra pounds.
For the first time, Scottish Slimmers is partnering race organiser Glasgow Life to offer discounted entry for its members who are determined to lose weight and get active.
Leading by example, company director Isobel McRorie will be walking the Pollok Park route on May 13.
The 57-year-old grandmother has worked for Scottish Slimmers for 25 years, starting as a class leader and working her way up through managerial posts before buying out the company with three of her colleagues three years ago.
Isobel, who became interested in diet and nutrition after losing 1½st thanks to slimming clubs, still runs classes.
She said she got involved to "help people".
Isobel said: "I had always been interested in nutrition and had lost weight previously, so I know the difference it makes to someone's life."
The support from the class manager and everyone else in the class makes a big difference to people trying to lose weight, Isobel said.
She added: "The classes are not boring and lecture-like, they are fun and informative.
"We talk activity rather than exercise because any type of exercise is really good. The one we recommend is walking because it does not cost anything, you do not need any special clothes and you can do it at any age.
"That is why we have joined up, because although some of our members will be running it, a lot will be walking it.
"When I went out in the rain last week to start my training I thought, 'Am I mad?' but once you have been walking out for an hour you just feel so energised."
There are about 100 Scottish Slimmers classes in the Greater Glasgow area, with more than 20 local class managers leading the way.
Sessions offer weekly presentations about food, the psychology of slimming and the benefits of activity.
Eight of the 20 Glasgow managers have already signed up to lead the way for slimmers by running the 10K and more than 70 members have already put their names down.
They run slimming classes Mondays-Thursdays and also on Saturdays all over the city.
Isobel said: "We do not do exercises in class, it is purely about healthy eating.
"But we do promote activity, so the 10K is just to take that a stage further and to encourage our members to get involved and also be more active."
"Any activity, whether it is walking, running or something else, you are going to be burning off calories. But it is also good for your joints and your whole wellbeing and feeling good.
"They say exercise is better than anti-depressants. Getting out in the fresh air helps, while also doing it as part of a crowd always makes it more fun as well."
Isobel is encouraging everyone to give the Ignis Asset Management Women's 10K a go.
She said: "It is something to aim for, a target. By this time you want to have lost x amount of weight and you want to be able to walk or run that 10K.
"Encourage your friends and family and get everyone involved in it. If you want to do it for a charity then it is helping other people as well.
"Even if you are walking – I know it is a run, but it is not a race – just do it for the exercise and the feelgood factor."
Colin Hartley, head of events with Glasgow Life and race director of the 10K, said: "We are delighted to be partnering Scottish Slimmers for the first time ahead of the big day in May.
"This year Glasgow becomes an Olympic City and it will also host the Commonwealth Games in 2014, so we are keen to promote the health and lifestyle benefits associated with walking, jogging and running.
"For many women, taking part in the 10K is an incredible motivation, encouraging them to build more physical activity into their day.
"Ask anyone about the atmosphere and the awesome sense of achievement they feel on crossing the finish line and you begin to understand why this is the UK's favourite 10K.
"There is still plenty of time to get involved. You will be amazed at what you can achieve."
Postal entries for the Women's 10K close on Friday, April 27, which is the cut-off date for entering if you want you race pack posted to your home.
But people can still enter online after this date at the website: www.runglasgow.org.
Scottish Slimmers class members get a 20% discount on entry.
This easy plan should take you from being a complete novice to comfortably completing the 10K in 10 weeks.
Monday: Jog for 25 mins.
Tuesday: Jog for 20 mins.
Wednesday: Jog for 30 mins.
Friday: Jog for 35 mins.
Sunday: 40-45 mins alternate jog/walk.
SHEBAHN Littlejohn, 21, the Clyde 1 travel reporter, is writing a 10K diary for readers
On Saturday I will be running with the girls. I have made them promise to come with me, to get them in the mood.
Some of them go to the gym – the others are just naturally thin, so tend not to do much exercise. So it should be interesting jog - or crawl.
I met three lovely women at the weekend and we ended up chatting about the Women's 10K. They have taken part in each of the last three years and this time will be running with their thoughts all on a friend who is not keeping well. They will be donning tutus and wigs to make a fun day of it.
The women have joined a running club and now run three times a week, so I hope they raise lots of cash for their chosen charity.
Robin Galloway set an on-air challenge between my colleague Knoxy and I to try and get our own running team. Whichever one of us gets fewer runners has to run in an attire that Robin will choose.
So join team Shebahn and help me avoid an embarrassing fate.
From Alexandra Cremona Sports Scientist and Student Dietician
A balanced diet is what everyone should follow to maintain a healthy weight, but when it comes to performance and training it is when we eat and the composition of the food that is important.
l Before exercise: 30-60mins before eat a high carbohydrate snack, such as a banana, a cereal bar or toast with jam.
l After exercise: A starchy carbohydrate and a protein source, such as a homemade fruit and yoghurt smoothie or a poached egg in a wholemeal roll with watercress, will help replenish muscles from the glycogen depleted during the run.
l Post exercise meal: 2-3hrs after exercise eat a healthy meal, such as chicken stir fry or baked potato with beans, cheese, tuna or chilli.
l Be careful not to over-compensate for exercise by increasing calorie intake because this will counteract your weight loss efforts.
l Hydration: Drink plenty of water in the two days before the race and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
l For more information see: www.fitnessresponse.com/ healthy-eating-on-a-budget.