So i’ve reached that stage, the stage where I start questioning whether I’ve done enough to last long enough, or even to last the distance.
I know I can, I’ve been through this with myself. Intervalling your way to 13 miles isn’t the most efficient way to run your first half marathon, but after the not so great start to my year, and my foot still deciding to go numb at about 3 miles I’m left with little choice.
Over the past couple of months training, I have tried and tested different things to see if I can push further. Everything from the clothes I wear to the food I eat and even analysing which toe will blister first (right foot, toe next to the big one). I think I have come up with some (13.1) golden rules for your first race, or at least, rules for MY first race….
1. Talk to people who have done it before
This. You will hear everyone talking about their goals, and their sub 2 hour half marathons when you start your programme and you will feel so motivated! You shouldn’t kid yourself though, trying and extrapolate how long your 13.1 miles will take from the time your 10k run was will make you feel miserable.
My time prediction at best, if I run at my 5km pace, is 2 hours 40 mins. I’ve taken a step back from that and I know my running time will be around 3 hours, when intervalled.
I’ve accepted it, and haven’t thought too much on me being a failure or anything as I am going to do it.
Ask your friends what they did wrong. Giggle about it, you don’t even have to learn from it. It says a lot about making your own mistakes when your friends have done them too. You’re stubborn enough to go against the advice then you are stubborn enough to train for 13.1 miles
2. French lacy knickers are a no-no
I said I tried many different clothes, So I’m going to say one word: Velcro.
Go big, go small, don’t go wedgie.
3. If you’re a razor girl… don’t go crazy
Associated with the French knickers reason. It also itches with sweat, and ladies we do sweat. It doesn’t smell nice and when we’ve gone South American down South there is rubbing, and chaffing and itching and O DEAR GOD JUST DON’T.
4. Find a sports bra and stick with it
My Boobs jiggle, but if I wore a fully strapped-back-to-prepubescent-boy style bra I can’t breathe. I went through about 3 before I found my love… I jiggle during the first km because I’m full of beans but then they settle into a nice rhythm.
5. Get the best App for you
I’m a Nike Running Girl myself, I know those who use Strava, RunKeeper, Garmin stuff… I must admit I am using my phone for all my runs, but during training I’m getting annoyed at not knowing where I am, or how fast/slow I’m going. A Garmin/Nike sports watch may be my next best investment. I’m doing this AFTER my race… I know these things aren’t always accurate, but I don’t want to mess up all things inaccurate.
Consistent Inaccuracies please…
I never believed them when they said “get running socks”. Socks are socks, right? WRONG: running socks have taken my poor arches of my feet from trench-foot through to fine after a run. They will always be sore, but I don’t have an alien pod now growing on them! Best £6 investment ever.
7. Leave the Mascara at home
I’m guilty of this on so many occasions, I would even go as far to say that anything over an hour-long, wash your face off of makeup before starting. Even though you do just ‘sweat it off’ It can turn gunky and give you panda eyes and make them sting. Which will make you cry. Nobody like a runner crying for 25 mins on the treadmill (Trust me)
8. Hair length and style matter… But not to look good
I have boob length hair (most accurate description). Not massively long, not really short, and when I first started training I tied it in a ponytail. About 30 mins in the pony tail started getting glazed with sweat from my shoulders.. then started to get stuck under my armpits. So I was pulling on my own hair…
Next I tried a bun on top of my head, which was fine till my head got sweaty and the bun kinda fell off…
I stick with a plait now. Nice and easy and it doesn’t flick sweat everywhere either.
9. The Internal Runner Discussions
I’ve blogged about my arguments with myself before, even the ones when I’m running. When I was doing parkrun in Milton Keynes this past Saturday I was talking to someone who has the same discussions as me. We crave pizza, and talk to our knees, moan at our ankles and wonder if we’re entering a mild psychosis during our runs as we are almost 100% sure we are having both sides of the arguments out loud…
It’s normal (apparently) and helps pass the time, so if you see me having an ‘Andy Murray moment’, it’s self-motivation at its best!
10. Music choices
DON’T MAKE A PLAYLIST THAT LASTS THE TIME YOU WANT TO RUN IN.
Make one that’s significantly shorter. That way you know your songs will have to repeat at some point, and you won’t be disheartened when you’re at mile 12 and your playlist finishes “I’ve still got 15 mins and I haven’t done it! O THE SHAME” Or other Drama Queen personality traits you obtain whilst running like a badass.
11. Training sucks… The goal doesn’t
Every training run, without fail, during km 1 and the final km. I’ve accepted it to the point that it drives me on!
12. The right shoes
I know I said in point one that you can stubborn yourself out of certain advice that is given.. Not this. Get proper shoes, trust me it saved my knees!
13. Be nervous
It’s a big thing, even if you are so calm until you start walking towards the start line. Nerves can carry you through that horrendous first km and push you past the final marker. Embrace the excitement!
13.1 You will finish.
Believe it. Say it to yourself. I’ve got it on my motivation board and I say it with every walking part of my intervals. I’ll finish, I may finish last, but I finished a half marathon.
Now I’m off to hydrate hydrate hydrate and eat a manageable amount of carbs!
You can follow me on Twitter @harriparf and Pinterest @harrietestyman