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Running without the runs: 5 tips for any first time half-marathon runner


Posted by Jenna A under Running on 16 February 2012 at 11:41 AM

Here on Tribesports we've oodles of useful tips for long-distance runners but there seems to be an unspoken level of advice which the seasoned marathon runner takes as basic common sense! Here are 5 tips which through all my training I wish I'd known: 

1. Check out the route - I did all my training on the friendly pavements of Clapham Common, having been assured that 'its a pretty flat route, not very hilly'. LIES! At one point I scrambled on my hands and knees over a waterfall! Try to have a good idea of the trajectory and terrain for your route.

2. Don't get overexcited at the start! I suddenly though I was Linford Christie and tried to keep up with the front to mid runners and burnt out 1/3 of the way in. Start steady and gas it at the end if you still have juice in the tank!

3. No new lotions and potions: I was under the impression sports beans and sports gels would give me a new speed and energy range so chugged both down pre-race; they tasted vile and sent my system hay-wire - I had to stop and throw up on mile 4!

4. When you've gotta go... People need to be honest with themselves about natural bodily functions. If you are running for over 40 minutes (in my experience) you will likely get an overwhelming urge to poo! Too often I have had to cut training runs short with blind fear that there would be a horrible mishap if I didn't find a toilet immediately!

Imodium is your friend people, take 2 before and take two with you - they kick in nice and quick (also i would suggest trying this out on a training run, make sure your system is comfortable with it otherwise who knows what kind of mess you could get in!)

 My final tip is a great piece of advice from Arnaud:

5. Always take a 50-80 litre bin bag along incase the heavens open! They're light, waterproof and wind-resistant - not saying I'll be sporting one on a red carpet anytime soon but for long distance running they'll do!

Bin Bag chic for runners

For more useful tips and support (of a slightly higher-brow nature) check out the Beginner Marathon Runners tribe, there's loads of help there on how to pace for your race and tips on how to avoid the dreaded Wall! 

Looking forward to this Sunday's Brighton Half where Andrew and Steve will be battling it out for the fastest time but they haven't counted on Emma, Kate and me kicking their times in the bum!