So, as a new decade begins, you remember signing up for your first half marathon or marathon last year! Seems crazy and not very likely, especially as the weather is cold, you enjoyed yourself a little too much over Christmas and can’t find the motivation to do more than a 5k Park run!
I have been in your shoes, as have some others. So, let me give you a little advise that you may find of use:
- It is still a rare thing to do! You might think that now you have signed up, everyone appears to be running a marathon or is going to do their first half soon. The reality is very different and the vast majority will never do so. Do remember this as you are stepping well out of your comfort zone and into a place few people will go.
- It is good for you. Physically and mentally, running is a great sport and will help you in more ways that you can ever imagine. So, stick with it as it will be worth it in the end.
- All runners are different so do your own training. The internet is awash with training plans and advise. Some of it helpful and some of it not. But we are all different, with unique bodies and separate goals. As such, listen to yourself and do what you think is best for you. Some people run 5 days a week and do really long runs 2 months before a race. Other people are the opposite. Undoubtedly, training helps a lot but you are on your own personal mission and NEVER let you be misguided by anyone else.
- Enjoy it! Ok this might sound crazy at the moment but ultimately, as well as trying to get fit and maybe raising some money, it is honestly about enjoyment as well. Try new routes, listen to music, vary running with different people. Whatever it is, try to make it less of a chore and more of a pleasure.
- Look after yourself. As you start to train more, it does become more physically demanding so ensure you have the right nutrition for you, a decent amount of rest and warm up/cool down accordingly. Some elite athletes love eating chocolate as they go. Do not cut everything out or think you can never drink a beer again. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
- Be Careful. You may never be truly 100% fit but try to ensure you are preparing in the right way, especially in terms of clothing, hydration and orientation. The last thing you will want is to have a terrible training session due to one of these reasons. It could lead to injury or a lack of motivation.
- It is fine to stop. Whether it is during training or a race, it is fine to take a short break or walk a little. Over a longer race, you can make up the time and it may well help you in the end.
- Always run your own race. You may well see the older, heavier person in front of you disappear into the distance but that doesn’t matter. They are probably far more experienced and have done much more training. Do what you can do sensibly and take no notice of anyone else. That is after all, the beauty of running!
I am no expert, just an informal runner but if I can help with anymore advise or support then please let me know!
Keep on running
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