In a moment of madness I signed up to the Bath Half-Marathon, endearingly dubbed the ‘Bath Half’ by residents, where I would be running 13.1 miles alongside thousands of others on Sunday 1 March.
At our university where many students are extremely sporty, I easily found a lot of others who were also running the Bath Half. There is a mixture of people taking part, those who have ran marathons or half-marathons in the past, those who have never ran more than a mile in their entire life and are completely new to running and then you have others, like me, who are generally quite sporty but have never ran a distance such as that of the Bath Half before. As the race date approaches, it is important to think about how to prepare for 13.1 miles of solid running.
Firstly, stick to your training schedule and find a plan that works for you. The other day when I got up at 6.30am to train there was snow and ice and my bed seemed like the warmest place on earth, but just remember what you will achieve in running a Half-Marathon. Running for a charity is particularly motivational, as with every bit of sponsorship you feel more and more motivated. Do not let your training slip: it will only make race day harder. You also need to be realistic, if you have only ever ran 1 mile before then there is no point trying to run 8 miles for your first long run! A great way to keep you on track is by following a training programme tailored to you that caters to your fitness level and running history and one that I would recommend is RunCoach at www.runcoach.com.
Secondly, cross-train with light resistance training. You need to make sure that you are building up your body’s strength in other areas to optimise your running fitness. Core exercises in the gym, such as plank, abdominal and full body exercises are particularly beneficial. Another significant part of your body in maintaining good running form in longer runs is your upper body. I would recommend a mixture of dumbbell exercises and body weight exercises to strengthen that upper half of your body.
Finally, rest and recover. Your body is not invincible and needs time to rest in order to prevent injury and allow for optimal performance. Listen to your body, if your calves are still hurting two days after your run, stretch them out, foam roll them and take the day off. Obviously you cannot have a rest day everyday though! Get plenty of sleep, between 8 and 9 hours a night and eat plenty of good carbohydrates and protein to keep your energy up and help muscle recovery and repair.
Finally, good luck with your running!