It’s a big weekend coming up with SE runners at Great Birmingham Run, Royal Parks and Manchester half marathon on Sunday and I’m sure a few, like me, are starting to feel a bit nervous.
For anyone running an event this weekend here’s my Top Tips!
Enjoy it! The first thing I want to say is: remember to enjoy yourself! There’s an intrinsic joy to waiting at the start of a big event. I love being with friends and a whole crowd of like-minded folks with the same shared goal. Long distance running is often a solitary experience but on event day you are not alone, you are part of a team, a big, excited, positive (rather smelly) team! One of our ‘Getting to know’ contributors Kelly said running London Marathon was a victory lap for her. The event itself was the ‘treat’ or the ‘reward’ for all the effort she’d put in leading up to it. I love that idea! Whatever your personal goal – whether it’s to finish or chase a PB – please don’t get so hung up on it that you fail to enjoy the moment. Being physically able to run a half marathon (however slowly) is a gift. Give yourself a moment to enjoy the experience!
This Week Reduce your mileage and rest for a couple of days before the run. You want to feel fresh and raring to go on Sunday morning. Eat well all week and keep hydrated. Think like an athlete. You need plenty of energy so don’t avoid carbs but also stock up on healthy stuff like fresh veg and fruit. Go to bed at a regular time so that you get plenty of sleep.
Travel – make sure you know how to get to the start in good time. For Great Birmingham Run a large contingent of SE Runners and Leaders are catching the first train into Birmingham from Sutton. This train leaves Sutton at 9:22. If it’s your first half marathon I suggest you meet up with this group! There’ll be experienced runners there who can show you the ropes and stop you getting too nervous. Everyone wear your SE Tops so you can see and be seen! This train arrives New St 9:42 which, with the new start on New St, I think will be early enough even for Orange Wave.
Kit – Get your kit sorted out on the night before so you are not in a panic searching for safety pins in the morning! Remember all kit should be tried and tested this is not the time to get brand new trainers out the box! Get your race fuel and drink ready too. I’ve looked at the forecast and I’m sorry but at the moment it does not look good for Brum. Keep yourself dry on the journey. Don’t be afraid to use the baggage buses. Find the right one for your race number and leave your stuff on it so that after the run you’ve got some warm dry clothes to put on and a nice snack too! Don’t leave valuable stuff on the bus, carry a card or cash on you. If it is as wet as forecast then be aware that chafing is more likely. Men coat those nipples with Vaseline. We don’t want the horror movie images please! Often runners will wear a bin bag or similar at the start line. Something to keep you a bit warmer and dryer that you can discard as you start.
The Run Itself – Set off nice and steady. You do need to keep an eye on your pace at the start as it’s very easy for your adrenaline to kick in and go off too fast. Run your own race don’t worry about what others are doing. Remember your mantras for when you are in a tough spot. It can also help to think about your form, try to run tall and light on your feet. Keep a positive attitude – You’ve Got This!
Afterwards – Be Happy! You’ve just run half a marathon! Join SE Fitness straight after the event for post run celebratory drink and race tales in All Bar One, New Street. This is by the entrance next to TK Maxx. Remember to eat as soon as possible, you need protein to aid your recovery and to replenish your reserves.
Next Week – As a principal each mile raced deserves one day recovery. So you need to take it easy for the next couple of weeks. If you feel fine then you might want to go for a gentle recovery run after a few days but take it easy. Swimming is great during this recovery period enabling you to loosen up those stiff muscles but without the impact. A sports massage is really helpful to ease those tired legs. I’d leave it a few days to let the initial aches and pains calm down!
I’m sorry I won’t be running Birmingham with you this year but the chance of a place for Royal Parks was an event I wanted to experience so too good to pass up! I am definitely there with you in thought and spirit!