Health & Well-being

The lay persons guide to preparing for a half marathon!

Well! Firstly to say, I am not an expert. You will know that if you read my blog about my first ever half marathon at the Royal Parks in October 2017! 🙂  And I’m preparing for my second half marathon for the Sussex Beacon Charity at the end of February 2018, but I’m still not an expert! But maybe you are not looking for an expert?! After all, there are 101 running articles you can read. If what helps you to know is that I am fairly fit, but not a daily gym go-er by any means, read on!

My best advice?

  1. Devise your own running programme or feel free to deviate the one you are working on. Nothing is set in stone and there is no “one size fits all”. I found the “Couch to 5k” approach slow to begin with, and it didn’t work for me. It might work for you though, and that’s ok. It’s just about recognising that no one has the oracle on your training programme.
  2. Complete an honest self assessment when looking at your training needs. I have limited pre running experience, but I know that from dancing and being a speed walker that cardiovascular wise I am quite strong. If you have had a previous injury, or are prone to joint strain, you might want to factor that into your training times and discuss with your doctor before embarking on anything.
  3. To work with it and assure yourself that if you appear to be plateauing on a distance- lets say 5km, as I did, for some time, and you are reaching crisis point in your head, thinking “maybe I have made a huge mistake about this!” that it is normal, and totally ok! In fact, based on my own experiences, I think even “maintenance runs” are so useful towards achieving that longer distance target. It might feel to you like failure at the time, but you are still getting your heart, lungs and head used to the overall process.
  4. Have shoes that fit you like a glove and overlook the expense. As in: my current trainers cost £70 and my previous were £39. Are the £70 any better? No. I needed an upgrade as the old ones had had it, but don’t buy into the commercialism about what you “need”. Be appropriate of course, and seek advice, but you can find a good range of options out there, for good prices.
  5. Psychology and positive mental attitude really has a lot to do with it. Yes it’s about your training and building your endurance, but also the belief you CAN do it!
  6. Remembering just as with life, some days are harder than others. Chalk them up. The fact is, if you made it to the treadmill, well done you. Come the final running day, your body and your mind will remember any little effort and be thanking you for it.
  7. If starting from scratch, but of reasonable fitness, give yourself 10-12 weeks and aim to build up slowly, and cross train. Yoga/pilates can protect you from injury by stretching out the joints you are putting under pressure.
  8. Ohhh the basics- please remember to WARM UP.  My impatience and therefore neglect of this has been one of the key factors in causing me to have shin splints at the moment and therefore not be able to train. This is not great timing ahead of my planned Brighton half marathon end Feb :-/ Do be careful, especially in winter months when we are probably all a little more out of shape!!
  9. Eat well, drink well, sleep well. You need all the best to manage the huge output, especially once you start regularly churning out 10k+ in preparation.

I’ll leave it there. Check the expert sites for their recommendations!! And let me know how you get on and where you are running next!

Clare x        PS Check out my new running shoes! Super light and comfy! And pink!

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