The Cheltenham Half Marathon – Are you in?

Posted on: 07/06/2019

Every year, I like to have a few challenges/events scheduled in for my own personal goals which have varied from Tough Guy to Men’s Health Fitness Challenges.  I haven’t run much further then 10km over the past couple of years due to time restrictions and focus elsewhere within my training so time to schedule in something later this year to get me out of the comfort zone. So the Cheltenham Half Marathon it is.  In conjunction with taking part, I will be providing  my expertise to see you on the right track within my blog.

Even an event such as a half marathon requires some thought and planning if you are to successfully complete. There is a demand physically and mentally, so preparation is key. That old cliché, fail to prepare, prepare to fail rings true when it comes to completing an event such as a half marathon regardless if is not your first.

Check out my basic tips to be aware before you start your journey:

• Create a training programme with at least 3 months in mind providing you have a base level of fitness. If you do not have a base fitness to work from then this should be considered first which naturally extends the time dedicated towards your training.

• Your social life may need to change in order to make time for training and to eat appropriately to support your increased training frequency. You may have to give up some things and prioritise. It’ll be worth it in the end…

• It is important to invest in a pair of running trainers. If your anything like me, you can get ridiculously excited about a new pair of running trainers or training clothes. You justify to yourself that you really MUST have them – they’ll 100% make you run faster. You will also need both the long and short sleeved running tops- the weather in this country is way too changeable to risk it.

• Do not just follow the training plans that say run, run run – so many plans I’ve seen just focus solely on the running and don’t even mention strength, flexibility and Yoga/Pilates. This will help you build framework and ensure your body can cope with the demands of pounding the pavement as you increase distance.

• Put measures in place to reduce injury – heavy compression is not good for your body. If our lifestyles include sitting at a desk all day, then getting into a car and sitting down some more before going home to eat and watch TV sitting down means our bodies just aren’t used to such intensity. Think about investing in a trigger point roller or massage ball to break down the tightness. Even better, it can be a good idea to introduce a massage therapist to help you improve your movement.

• Don’t be too hard on yourself – everyone sets themselves goals which are, let’s be honest, probably not that realistic. Take the pressure off yourself and just say you want to get to the end in one piece and hopefully a smile on your face

• It can hurt – the training can cause aches and pains for a couple of days after those longer runs – Accept it.  Ensure you have a focus towards nutrition and post run recovery in hand.  My personal recommendation is to look at recovery drinks with the right levels of protein in.  Try Bam Organic who are becoming highly regarded in this market.

• Stretch, stretch, stretch – Ensure you focus on your lower body and movement efficiency, it will serve you well once you get into the last few miles and post run.

• Tapering is harder than it sounds – tapering sounds like the best thing ever. A few weeks of doing shorter and shorter runs as you approach race day. You against everything you’ve just done for the past two/three months and it doesn’t make sense to your mind or body. Trust the research and just enjoy it (not by going out on a month of binge drinking though)

• You’re going to think “what next” – you’ve just spent the last three/four/maybe more months training for this and it’s over and you think now what. How am I going to fill my time now? I don’t want to go back to having nothing to aim for. Chances are you’ll be tying those laces back up in no time at all! Maybe the next objective is the big one!