Incase you missed it, I completed my first half marathon last Sunday. Oh I do love saying that! Ha. I’m not sure how long bragging rights last for but I’m still pumped.
Now I have to put my hands up and admit that I completely failed at preparing for it and 100% was NOT ready on race day. I thought I’d use my rookie mistakes as an example of what not to do. Any non-runners silly enough to sign up for a half marathon you can learn from my mistakes…
Use a training plan. In hindsight I had plenty time to train effectively. No schedule combined with my
laziness inclination to procrastinate resulted in me skipping a few days training sometimes a whole week (almost 2 weeks over Christmas *hangs head in shame*) go for drinks with friends or have an extra hour in bed. This resulted in me doing only 3mile runs for almost 2 months and doing my first 10mile run only 1 week before race day. FAIL.
If you need it Find a running buddy or join a running club. Having someone to meet for a run, share achievements with or just high five at the end of a run is going to keep you motivated. Make sure you find someone of a similarly ability. My best runs were the few when Kevin ran with me but that meant him running at a slower pace than he was used to so wasn’t beneficial to his training which is why it only happened few times. Most of my training I ran alone fighting the urge to stop and walk back or call one of my sisters to pick me up. I may have done that once…okay maybe twice.
Believe in yourself. I didn’t believe I could do it. For 2 months I was only running 3 miles and the thought of 10 miles on top of that made it feel unachievable. After my 10 mile run the week before I had a boost of confidence but even while I headed to the start line I didn’t think I’d see the finish. You CAN do it, running is a mental game, set your mind right.
Set the right goal. My initial goal was completing the race alive, however a few weeks of running using Map my Run I could see progression in my pace and I got hooked on pace so for weeks after I was trying to run 3 miles faster than the week before and wasting valuable time that I should have been using to increase distance. Two weeks before the race I had a major freak out about distance and went back to my original goal.
Fuel your body. Ok I wasn’t too bad at this, before starting to run I did already workout 4-5 times a week. I increased my carbohydrate intake slightly as I was doing more cardio than usual. I did have a fuelling mishap one day when I went running straight from work stupidly forgetting I had worked through lunch and hadn’t eaten since breakfast 10 hours earlier and almost passed out on the way home. Don’t do that. Ever.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate I am SO bad at this. It would be hypocritical of me to even give you advice because it’s something I still don’t do enough. You just need to OK!!
Stretch. Sounds like common sense. I go to the gym then stretch, I go to a fitness class then stretch but I failed to stretch after a run and let me tell you the muscle tightness was REAL.
Invest in running shoes. I just ran in my standard gym/running shoes ( I didn’t buy new ones because I thought I’d probably give up running 2 weeks in) I didn’t really have any problems with them until a fellow runner advised getting proper running shoes. I wanted new ones for the race anyway, not for vanity, my current ones were a bit past it. Honest!! So 10 days before the race I went to a local running store and with the advice of the staff I bought these babies
I can confirm I noticed a huge difference so much more comfort, running feels easier which is totally bizarre considering I didn’t think there was anything wrong before.
Stay focused, don’t give up. I’m not going to lie I hated it in the beginning, the first time Kevin ran with me he noted how many complaints I had. Seventeen, seventeen in 30 minutes! I wanted to give up on several occasions and I would have if he’d let me, I’m so glad he didn’t! It gets easier, I promise!!! In the last few weeks I’ve figured out that the first 4 miles are a struggle for me then I’m on a roll, I find a rhythm, my breathing becomes effortless and my mind begins to wander, which seems fitting considering I only ever ran 3 miles for a while and hated almost every minute.
Most importantly have fun.. oh and definitely DON’T FALL OVER. Haha!
I may have made it sound like I’ve been torturing myself for weeks but that drunken decision I made to sign up has resulted in me finding something new that I’m growing to love.
Are you a beginner runner? Or do you have any advice for beginner runners?
Thanks for reading ❤
Happy Sunday 🙂