On Sunday I finally completed my half marathon after months of training and weeks of fundraising. I ran it in 2hrs and 18 minutes which was a huge achievement for me considering it was my first. I had family and friends supporting me and spurring me on at the end and it was one of the best moments I have ever had. I feel as if I have accomplished so much and I am more motivated than ever to push my boundaries and do things I never thought I could. I raised roughly £200 for Kidney Research UK and myself and the people around me are extremely proud.
Now for anyone who is currently training for a long distance run or are planning to in the future I thought I would share some tips and advice.
- Do actually train for it! It is important to train for at least 6 weeks beforehand if you aren’t a strong runner. You don’t have to run the full distance e.g. I ran a maximum of 10 miles and the last 3 were fueled on crowd motivation alone. Any cardio will help build your stamina and strengthen your muscles so you don’t get an injury.
- Wear comfy clothes. Wear clothing that is comfortable to run in, suitable for the weather and doesn’t just look the part. I would also recommend trying trainers and clothing beforehand so you know you are used to the feel then you won’t get any nasty surprises on the day.
- Don’t compare yourself to others! Finishing the race alone is a huge achievement for anyone so don’t compare your finishing times to others. Be proud of yourself that you completed it!
- Nutrition. Eating a healthy balanced diet is important whilst training for the race as I don’t drink or smoke I think this personally helped my training but don’t do anything that will make you unhappy. Another tip I have is do carb load! I started to increase my carbs 5 days before the race so my body had time to store them. It is important not to overloads as this will leave you feeling bloated and groggy. However bagels, pasta and granola are ideal pre-race fuel.
- Stay hydrated and pick a mid race snack. As you will be sweating lots it is important to stay hydrated and replenish the fluids you have lost. Do drink lots of water in advance to the race and small regular sips throughout. At the event I did they had energy sachets that were added to the water. I chose not to drink them as I had tried them in advance and they didn’t agree with my digestion. Many runners have mid races snacks whether that be jelly babies, gummy bears or energy gels. I had energy tablets that you can just pop into your mouth and they really do give you a well needed boost especially when you are at the the 10th mile!
- Plan a post race treat. Whether that be a massage, a manicure or a celebratory drink, it is important to relax, indulge and congratulate yourself on your accomplishment. I had a post race tea (my mum had a vodka) and then an afternoon nap and a takeaway in the evening with family.
- Enjoy yourself! Family and friends told me that on the day I was one of the only people that crossed that finish line with a smile on my face and my arms in the a celebratory cheer. Remember the reason you are doing this and do enjoy yourself. If you are in pain or you feel too tired then slow down and pace yourself. There maybe be plenty of future races you can push yourself harder in but for now your first run is a special achievement so smile and enjoy it!
You can read my story on the reason why I ran and where I got my inspiration on previous blog posts and on the Kidney Research UK facebook page.