training starter guide

In association with Leonard Cheshire Disability

getting started

Congratulations - if you’re reading this, you’re on your way to the world’s first fully inclusive push/run! Before you start training, it’s important to set realistic goals and put aside time leading up to the event in which to accomplish your goals. You run the risk of a serious injury if you don’t set aside enough training time.

Set small, manageable goals and build up slowly to your ideal objective. For example, train three times a week for the next four weeks, or aim to be able to complete 1km in less than a set number of minutes. The sense of achievement you gain at reaching each milestone will give you further motivation to continue training and progress to the next stage.

‘You can’t out train a bad diet’ is an old saying but it has been reused for a reason. You’ll need to fuel your body so that it is prepared for the work you’ll put it through. There’s bound to be days when it’s harder to get out of bed than usual, but you just need to remember why you’re doing the challenge and focus on the sense of achievement when all the hard work pays off.

Who can help?

Depending on your particular circumstances and your level of fitness, you may need to consult your doctor or other professionals like a nutritionist or physiotherapist before starting a new exercise regime so you know how far you can push your body and what food you need to stay healthy over the course of your training. Having a training partner can hugely boost your confidence and give you the motivation you need to get active and stay active. There are lots of websites out there that can link you up with other runners in your area, for example and

training advice


Make sure you choose trainers specifically designed for running. They should give good ankle support and feel solid when you plant your foot. Test them well before buying.


For those participating in a wheelchair, invest in a high-quality pair of racing gloves to protect your hands from abrasion. Your shoulder joints will be put under a lot of tension so make sure you incorporate plenty of rotator cuff exercises into your training.

The British Wheelchair Racing Association - can provide information on clubs and coaches in your area. You can pick up second-hand racing wheelchairs and gloves from websites like eBay or from some athletics clubs and organisations like Wheel power and Get Kids Going also accept grant applications.


Parallel London has four different distances: 10k, 5k, 1k and 100m. Once you have decided which challenge you want to take on, you can plan your training around that. Initial training should focus on getting the technique right and building up your fitness.

Monitor your progress by keeping a journal. This will also serve as a morale boost when you ‘hit a brick wall’ in your training. You can look back on when you started and see how far you’ve come.

finding accessible facilities

The best way to find inclusive facilities for training is to contact the local gyms, swimming pools and leisure clubs in your area to see if they’re right for you. With the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010, leisure providers now have a legal duty to provide an equal service for all customers.

You should expect any facility to have adequate accessible parking, access ramps, lifts and automatic/power assisted doors, accessible toilet and changing facilities and staff trained in at least basic disability awareness who are keen to assist you. Talk to the personal trainers and see if they can offer the right help and are trained to work with disabled people.

You can also visit the ‘Action for Access’ website, a campaign led by Leonard Cheshire Disability where you can search for and view reports on accessible facilities from people in your area who have used those facilities.

Most swimming pools will have a hoist that can help people in and out of the water. They’re usually kept in a storeroom, so feel free to ask if you don’t see them poolside.

The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI), managed by the English Federation of Disability Sports (EFDS), has also been working for a number of years to make gyms, as well as their supporting facilities, more accessible as a whole – addressing physical access and policies, fitness equipment, staff training and marketing.

There are approximately 400 IFI Mark gyms, which are accredited to either Provisional, Registered or Excellent levels of accreditation depending on their level of access and service provision. In addition to this the IFI influence of fitness equipment suppliers means many other gyms will now have a selection of accessible equipment with features such as tactile, bright coloured controls and moveable seats for wheelchair access. More information and a list of IFI sites can be found through the EFDS website:

useful contacts

British Paralympics Association

Information on the sports featured in the Paralympics.

Tel.020 7842 5789

Disability Rights UK

A charity working to support the rights of disabled people formed through a unification of Disability Alliance, Radar and National Centre for Independent Living.

Tel.020 7250 3222

English Federation of Disability Sport

The national body responsible for developing sport for disabled people in England. Its work includes the Inclusive Fitness Initiative and EFDS Events.

Tel.01509 227750

Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Online Sports Hub

Leonard Cheshire, who kindly provided the information in this guide, is a charity campaigning for change and providing innovative services to give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. For their extended guide on getting into sport visit:

Tel.020 3242 0200

Sport England

For a list and contact details for the Governing Bodies of Sport.

Tel.08458 508508

The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, Loughborough University

This centre translates research findings in areas such as training strategies and wheelchair configuration into practical outputs and guidelines for practitioners and participants to help improve health, wellbeing and performance in disability sport.

Tel. 01509226387


The national organisation for wheelchair sport in the UK. It also provides funding for manual and sports wheelchairs.

Tel.01296 395995

Lots of useful information and resources for disabled people, their supports, health, social care and sports providers.

health warning

Experts advise that you should see your GP before starting a new exercise programme if you:

• Have not done any exercise for 10 years or more

• Are over 40

• Have a heart problem

• Have high or low blood pressure

• Have joint problems

• Take painkillers or any other drugs regularly

• Have back problems

• Are very overweight or very underweight

• Are prone to headaches, fainting or dizziness

• Have a resting heart rate that exceeds 100 beats a minute

• Have any other medical condition which could interfere with your taking part in an exercise programme