After watching Sunday’s London Marathon, did you force your way into your cupboard, past the ironing board, pull your trainers out from under the bike pump and picnic blanket, remove the dead spider, brush away the dust and say to yourself “I’m going to run a marathon next year”. Watching the London Marathon is so motivational, either as part of the crowds lining the streets, or on the TV, and every year thousands of viewers will be inspired to run the magical route. Don’t let it just be a dream, if all those ‘normal looking folks’ can do it, so can you. Here’s some advice to get you started…
First of all, those trainers that you dusted off which were popular in the 90s, have probably had their day and you should get yourself a new pair. There are all manner of highly technical running shoes out there now, which not only look good, but also do useful things such as flexibility in the right places, superior cushioning, traction, gait support and breathability. It’s well worth a trip to a running shoe specialist, such as Reigate’s Simply Sports, who can provide expert advice on the right trainer for you.
Join the Club
For many people, one of joys of running is the quiet ‘me’ time. However If you’re serious about running a long distance, but nervous about embarking on this kind of journey on your own, it’s worthwhile finding someone to train with, or better yet, joining a running club. As well as the coaching, you will find seasoned runners to give you advice on technique and lengthening your runs. Even if you enjoy the solitude of running, being part of a group once a week, can help with your speed, endurance and motivation on those tough days. Unlike some of your friends, these people will not drift into a light sleep as you chat about your new glow in the dark kit, or a blow by blow account of your favourite routes. They love it as much as you do!
Plan of Attack
Whether you’re training for your first 5K or a marathon, you should always have a strategy. It is strangely satisfying, marking off each training run from your plan on the fridge door – even if you’ve actually missed it, but feel that it’s wrong to leave it untouched! A plan gives you focus, makes sure you train enough, but not too much – and helps you build up the miles at an appropriate speed so that you don’t over do it too early and end up with a jammy ankle. Runner’s World is a fantastic source for plans, as well as just about any other running question that you might have.
As well as a running programme, it’s worthwhile scheduling in some other strength/cross training. It helps prevent injuries, improve general fitness, recovery and it can be fun to exercise in a different way at times when you’re struggling with your running mojo. This can come in the form of a fitness class (like British Military Fitness), gym sessions, swimming, cycling, spinning, etc. It’s important to look after your core strength, and running alone won’t do that. Yoga, Pilates or some other form of stretching is also equally important and can really help with the restoration of those tired legs.
Race, Race and Race Again
Running a marathon is a pretty daunting prospect on its own. However if you start planning in some races over the coming months, you can stop it from seeming such a mammoth goal. If you’re new to longer distances start with a 10K and move up to half-marathon distances a few months after that. Reigate Priory Athletic Club have a 10K race in July, which you could then follow with Run Reigate’s Half Marathon on the 18th September. Regular Saturday Park Runs can help you to monitor your speed progress too. Runner’s World has a comprehensive race list for the year, from 5K to Ultra (should you be so inspired).
Finally, the odds of getting a ballot place for the London Marathon are slim: but don’t despair. There are hundreds of places with charities looking for first time runners, as long as you can achieve the sponsorship goal which is usually around the £2,000+ mark. Charity runners for the Virgin London Marathon have raised over £300 million to date, which is phenomenal. Apart from supporting a fantastic cause, other benefits of running for a charity include the support they offer, running advice, cheer points, being part of a team, a post-race party with a free sports massage and of course, not to forget the all important t-shirt. Why not start raising money for one of our charities when you sign up to compete in either our 10K or Half Marathon.
If however, in the coming weeks you decide against running a marathon, it’s still worth entering Run Reigate as we have 2 great challenging distances, a kids race and a fantastic community atmosphere in Priory Park for all the family to enjoy. Plus you’ll have some lovely new trainers…