Well I have officially completed my first half marathon, just like that! For those of you who don’t know I ran in Hackneys Vitality half Marathon last Sunday 8th May. I did it in 2 hours on the dot and have now ticked that off the bucket list! What a feeling of accomplishment too – If someone had told me two years ago that I would be running a half marathon I would have said ‘you are dreaming’! It just goes to show that if you set your mind to it anything is possible.
I have never been a runner, ever! I’ve always loved training and keeping fit but running 5km was a big struggle for me, so after the Christmas break and a month back home in Australia boozing and enjoying the festive season I decided I would set myself a challenge, something I knew wouldn’t come easy but was very do-able. Hey presto, the Hackney half marathon!
I have always loved setting myself challenges and working towards them but running seemed like so much more of a challenge than ever before (harder than the London triathlon I did last year) – I find running to be more of a mental game than physical. The mind can really take over, training in the English winter was not easy and the amount of times I nearly didn’t go out for a run because it was raining or windy or I was tired or maybe I would go for one later etc – the list of excuses was endless. I would have to tell myself to get a grip on numerous occasions and to remind myself how good It would feel once I had completed the run. I think the most satisfying bit is training your mind and telling that little voice in your head to back off so that you can take control. I also loved having that sense of accomplishment each time I actually put those silly little thoughts aside and got over those thoughts and went for a run rather than thinking purely in terms of the time and distance I had just completed. I ended up enjoying running in the rain, even running in the hail a few times with loud music in my ear as I pounded the pavement, it really pushed me! On average, I would run 3 times a week – sometimes 5 times, sometimes just once or even not at all however don’t let that get you down, let it drive you and push you to get out there and do more the next week!
So if you are thinking of doing a half marathon or even a smaller fun run here are my top tips –
1 – Don’t take it too seriously and put a lot of pressure on yourself, don’t be too disappointed if you miss a run you may have scheduled in for the week. Just remember the feeling of dissatisfaction and try not to let it happen again (unless you are sick or run down, of course)
2 – Don’t over train as you will only loose motivation. I set myself a goal of 3 runs a week – 2 small runs and a big one. These distances would increase every few weeks as I got fitter and fitter
3 – Track your runs – I used Nike running app which is great!
4 – Always stretch and stay hydrated
5 – Mix up your exercise, I found doing spin classes on the side really helped with my fitness levels. Sprint training is also great for this. I then also did yoga which helped stretch out my legs and keep me focused.
6 – Get a good pair of shoes, invest in a good pair if you have the money as you will be living in them.
7 – Be disciplined and schedule in your running. If you have set yourself 3 training sessions a week, try your very best to do them whether it’s a 10km or a 3km run. Just get over the mind and get outside even for a small run around the block. Learn to train the mind and be disciplined.
8- Last but not least, get a good playlist going! Mix it up every couple of weeks and enjoy it!
So the big questions, will I do another one? Well, yes most likely but I don’t think it will be in the near future. I want to enjoy my summer and perhaps look at setting myself another challenge! If you are thinking about doing one, I couldn’t recommend it more. What’s there to loose?