I’ve been running consistently for about 18 months now and have tackled several 10k events. I’m not a particularly fast runner and haven’t quite achieved a sub-60 10k race yet, but I’ve really impressed myself with the distance I’ve been covering.
With this, I decided to set myself a fresh challenge and complete a half marathon. This was a massive decision for me – contemplating running 13.1 miles when I couldn’t run for 13.1 minutes two years ago! But, with a little convincing from my friend and running partner, I signed up for the Manchester Half Marathon on 13 October.
With less than six weeks to go, I thought I’d share all the things I’ve learned since I started my training.
- Believe people when they tell you it’s mind over matter
Everybody told me this when I first started working out and I mean everybody, from Instagram influencers to my boxing leader to my parents. But it wasn’t until I started half-marathon training that I really understood the concept of ‘your mind won’t go where your body doesn’t push it.’ I used to think 10k was a mammoth distance, the furthest I could go. But as soon as I started to tell myself that this was only the halfway point of my race, it’s like my legs got a new lease of life.
- I’m an organised control freak
When I first started running, I downloaded a 10k training plan for beginners, then a plan for improving my 10k time and now I’m working off a first-time half marathon guide. In between these, I’ve tried just running spontaneously but always found I ended up running less and less. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy running leisurely when I haven’t got anything to train for, but ultimately, I need a plan of action to make me feel in control.
- I’m not a morning person
One of my close friends gets up at 6am every morning and smashes a gym session before work. I want to be this kind of person, but I’m just not. I never wake up before my alarm, I constantly hit the snooze button and sometimes I wonder if alarms didn’t exist, would I sleep forever? I love parkrun because it’s such a fun, friendly set-up but I tend to complete all my other runs in the evenings after work.
- Talking to yourself is the key to success
I’m not afraid to admit that I talk to myself often, especially when I’m running. For me, it helps to break challenges down into smaller, more manageable tasks in my head. My current favourite quotes when running are “A half marathon is just parkrun 4 times, plus the end bit” or “Don’t worry, what goes up must come down” when my route is particularly hilly.
- I need a running partner to motivate me, keep me company and generally talk all things running with me
I’m very fortunate that one of my closest friends is a runner, so we tend to do a lot of our training together. This is great for me because I’m so much more motivated when running with others, so I always get better results and push myself further. I joined a running club earlier this year, which has been incredible for my half-marathon progress and confidence but has made it even more difficult to run alone. Now, I wouldn’t even consider long distances on my own because having company is how I keep motivated for so many miles.
Overall, I’ve been quite impressed with how my training has gone but I know the most difficult part is yet to come. Here’s hoping I can keep my motivation high and smash the race in October!