Last weekend I took part in the Hackney Half Marathon, my first ever Half Marathon! In light of this I thought I would share with you my 5 top half marathon tips so you can both prepare and get yourself around 13.1 miles of running if you ever feel like taking up the challenge.
In my opinion before you even start pounding the streets in preparation for a half marathon, you need to know your outfit inside out. My footwear of choice is always Adidas Ultra Boosts. The midsole propels you forward using the energy from your footstrike for a light, fast ride that doesn’t pack down over time whilst the elastic stretchweb outsole flexes to adapt to the way your foot hits the ground. Giving you extra spring in each step you take!
Next is thick running socks because no one wants to start getting blisters only 5 miles in! Remember your top is also so important. I only wear Nike or Adidas breathable tank tops for running as they give me the right body temperature and feel comfortable throughout. Note if it happens to rain, a cool dry top will be your friend compared to a cotton based top which will cling to you and cause chafing, ouch. Lastly in regards to running gear if like me you love running to music, make sure your wireless headphones are FULLY CHARGED. I had barely completed 6 miles when I heard the dreaded sentence ‘battery low’ come over my music. Wireless headphones are amazing and couldn’t be without them so when the battery is gone you can feel rather deflated.
I feel this aspect is really over looked by some people, especially on hot run days. If you’re not fully hydrated you’re at a higher risk of dehydration and passing out, not cool. Because the run on the Sunday I started upping my water consumption from the Friday to give myself the best chance of having a completely hydrated body. I am always conscious of drinking enough water in the day regardless but for the race I was drinking no less than about 5 litres of water a day. I kept tab on my water consumption by filling up a 5 litre bottle and making sure it was empty by the end of the day.
Quite frankly this was my favourite part of the race prep! The night before the race I went to a local Italian restaurant where I ordered two main meals: bolognese and carbonara as well as a side of garlic bread. If you can’t treat yourself to some decent food here and there then, you’re doing it all wrong! The reason for carb loading the night before is to give your body time to process the food and energise your body completely for the day ahead.
Running a half or full marathon is all about modesty. Don’t let your ability to be powerful get the better of you. Start easy and run at 70% of your fastest pace. This advice should mean you can see off mile 12 and 13 or mile 25 and 26 with ease. The reason I say this is when I was standing in the start line queue I could hear and see many guys and girls jostling for a better starting position and true enough when they got over the start line they powered off like a gazelle fleeing a lion, yet there I was plodding away on my first ever half marathon minding my own business. By mile 7 and 8 I started getting closer and closer to them and before you knew it I’d over taken them and they were never to be seen again.
I can quite happily say I have never felt more encouraged and included than when I ran the Hackney Half Marathon. The people were truly amazing. You had people from all walks or life and backgrounds screaming, shouting, banging sauce pans and generally having a party encouraging you to finish. I wish I could have bottled some of the atmosphere up and taken it home with me. All I can say to the people of Hackney and others who came to support and cheer is thank you! It is them combined with my beautiful Kristy (who actually took all these amazing photos) who helped carry me other the finish line. I love you all!
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