Stretched out, limbered up and heart pumping. This is the start line of 21.097km, 13 long miles ahead. You are ready. Commitment to intense training, dedication of your precious time and true determination to keep those legs moving – this is no walk in the park. But once you’re all aboard the running wagon, you’ll never want to hop off. Increased endorphins and serotonin, with fitness levels soaring to new levels, I promise this will be a very rewarding, euphoric experience and with the right mindset and practice – you’ll smash it! So get those arms swinging, those legs trotting and read up on these top tips from one runner to another in 8 Top Tips for Running Your First Half Marathon!
1. Listen to your body
Warming up and stretching post runs is key. Inevitably, you will have tired days, some aches and pains days, and sometimes just off days. Listen to your body and don’t push it. Rest days are important for muscle repair and for your mind to unwind. Allow yourself to be in tune with your body.
2. It’s all about the training
Make a plan, stick to it and tick the runs off as you go. Gradually increasing the distance, your fitness will optimise along the way. Save the 21km mark for the glory of the day -the adrenaline will carry you through.
3. Fuel up
Keeping hydrated and fuelled up is absolutely necessary. Eat lots of energising foods to keep you pumped and remember to ‘carb up’ the day before – you’ll thank yourself on the day!
4. Sports kit
Ensure you’ve given your running kit a rehearsal and that your trainers are fully worn in. You need to feel comfortable and confident so a practice run is advisable.
5. Running buddy
Grab yourself a running buddy, a partner in crime. Who said exercising couldn’t be fun and sociable. You’ll keep each other motivated and distracted with empowering quotes when you feel you’re struggling. You’ll have moral support right at your side.
6. The best cheerleaders
You need as much ‘woop wooing’ as possible – get your nearest and dearest to line the streets and come alive with encouragement. This is a way of bringing everyone together and a time for you to showcase what you do best.
7. Do it for charity
Everyone will be happy to sponsor a couple of pounds or dollars for a worthy cause. Use this as an opportunity to do good whilst feeling good.
8. Enjoy the big day
All this build up and it flies by in a flash. Enjoy it – take in the atmosphere and thrive in your moment. This is a huge achievement. You’ve reached the finish line in one piece. You will feel amazing, with an orchestra of endorphins racing. Wear your medal all day long (sleep with it on, no one’s judging) and put those feet up and celebrate!
The post run blues…
You may have crossed the finish line saying the famous last words ‘never again’, but give it a few days and you’ll be keen to get back running, due to those withdrawal symptoms kicking in. Allow yourself a break then get back into it. Sign up for another event and never look back. This is the start of your ‘marathon experiences’.