I have signed up for a Half Marathon in May (which is seventeen weeks away yesterday) for the Roses Theatre. My head is spinning with the amount of things I need to think about! I have currently walked 6 miles for Sport Relief, walked/jogged 5k Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research and ran 6 mile for Sport Relief. Since then I haven’t really been that active and last Autumn I started doing Parkrun Junior, and then Parkrun, with my family. Therefore, you can see I have a long way to go in this short space of time if I am going to cross the finish line.
Where/Wear to Start with my Half Marathon
What I am wearing – hats off to those who dress up but not a half marathon with something over my head! Obviously a good sports bra goes without saying, and I have a variety of Lycra gear. I get really hot easily but also I struggle with the cold air on my chest. A friend told me to wear layers, which I can easily take off. Not for everyone but I am finding short sleeves help – and a pair of gloves which are easy to hold or pop in a pocket if I get too hot.
Getting the feet ready for running
Podiatrist Trevor Prior* has 5 simple exercises for getting your feet ready for running:
- Extend your legs out straight whilst sitting on the floor. Take a resistance band and fasten it to a secure point, then place the other part of the band below your toes. Flex your foot upwards and hold for 5 seconds to create tension, then relax. This is a great way to improve circulation, plus it has the added benefit of stretching your calf muscles.
- Whilst in a seated position, place your foot over your opposite knee. Grab your toes and pull them back until you begin to feel a moderate stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds. This will relieve any tension you have in your toes and leave them feeling relaxed and rested.
- Firstly, stand with your feet slightly apart. Rise up onto your toes by slowly lifting your heels off the ground. Hold this position for 15 seconds. This exercise will help to strengthen and stretch both your toes and calf muscles.
- It’s important to exercise all areas of your foot, including your arch which can often be ignored. Place a tennis ball under the arch of your foot and roll it around for approximately 30 seconds on each foot. This exercise promotes blood flow and helps to stretch out the muscles in your foot.
- It’s crucial to wear proper fitting training shoes when working out to avoid sore feet and crippling pain.
You may have read my previous post about the importance of the right footwear and how Vionic make footwear that supports the natural alignment – using orthotic technology to help align from the ground up. This is really important when exercising (especially training for a long run) to avoid injuries, aches and pains from not treating the feet properly. Vionic training shoes use unique Foot Motion Technology (FMT – which aligns the feet to the correct position, helping to reduce aches and improve posture) to give feet the ultimate comfort and support when working out. They also feature a dual-density outsole with a specially engineered knit upper for added breathability. I was sent a pair for review and my feet felt really supported and experienced less aches and pains after an up-hill run. I was impressed with the style too. My only criticisms would be the fact that they are not as waterproof as y previous running footwear and that they had laces which can come undone during running.
Knowing how far to push myself during my Half Marathon Training
I am really grateful that the new running club that I have joined is going to write me up a training plan. This will help me to know when it is best to run and when it is best to do a bit of walking, or strengthening – and how far a distance I should cover. They are also going to ask if there are any other runners planning on doing the same race so that we may train together. Diet – ok so that isn’t going too well and something I really need to look at. As well as drinking more water. I need things that I can easily eat or prepare first because I am just exhausted afterwards. I also need to look at snacks I can easily take on very long runs to help keep me going. Other things to consider are strengthening, stretching, breathing and not forgetting relaxing too!
My first week of Half Marathon Training
This week I started with a long walk with my friend who also wants to start running. We walked for over 2 hours and did around 10,000 steps. The next day I went to running club in the evening and joined the amber group. I never thought I would pay to run (£2) but it was actually so much more than that and really helped me to push myself (especially up the big hill) and not just stop when I hurt/was too hot. I felt so full of energy when I got back too. You can find a local running group too. The Wednesday I had a relaxing day, followed by a really long walk with my camera on Thursday.
My husband had my car most of the week and so there was a lot more walking on a very wet Friday – including taking my two youngest to their new running/athletics club. Saturday saw myself and my 9 year old running together both with a new personal best at Park Run, and finally Sunday’s Park run Junior saw my 7 year old keeping me at a 6 minute km! Despite the fact he slipped in the mud twice – the final time with his dad landing on top of him and literally being covered head to toe in mud! I have then walked to see my husband’s Nan’s house and back. I have also been doing 25 squats in a row. The first day I did it every time I went to the bathroom (not whilst I was using the bathroom as my husband thought!) but this became painful and I got out of the habit – I need to preserve with them. I need to take up cycling or swimming too really. Diet wise I did have a green smoothie for dinner before running but I have also eaten a lot of junk as we are just so unorganised after Christmas – plus there’s still loads of stuff leftover! Relaxing – I need to practice relaxing as opposed to just sleeping off my exhaustion. I have come to realise that I am not at my best until I have made up 8 hours sleep (so if I only sleep 6 ½ at night I have to have 1 ½ hours after the school run or I am just not productive at all).
Running tips from my teen this week (who is considerably faster than I am); think of a word with two syllables whilst running and to touch my toes without bending my knees for 30 seconds before running.
Goals for next week
I want to ensure that I am going out regularly – whether that is running or walking. I need to make sure I am dedicating enough time to training as well as trying to build up my stamina. I really need to look at what I am eating more this week – and have paid for this plan to help me with that.
I need to fit yoga in to my schedule more – other than Yoga Nidra to help me sleep! I have The Modern Yoga Bible: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Today, By Christina Brown (£14.99) to review. Which has techniques to increase flexibility and strength, relieve stress and to calm the mind. I shall start to incorporate more of this into my weekly activity. Using The Modern Yoga Bible: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Today is a great way to experience yoga at home, with tips and information to suit new yogis and for those wishing to deepen their practice. It covers flowing sequences, slower, more restorative floor-based postures (yin-yoga) and meditation. The book is split into four parts – an introduction the Yang (active practices), the Yin (quiet practices) and the Yoga Mind. I found the introduction insightful but really did feel I just wanted to get stuck in. There are clear guidelines to work at your own level of comfort and warnings of things to be careful of. There are over 350 postures contained within the book, each of which are clearly illustrated in step-by-step sequences (in words and pictures), that are easy to follow and understand. Each of the poses are clearly named and explained individually, in sequences, and salutations to the sun and moon.
Of course I do not have a clue what I am talking about so any tips from experienced runners would be very welcome. I would also appreciate any sponsors please – you can do so on my JustGiving Half Marathon Page
You may also be interested in my post – Get into Running when you are totally unfit – which is what gave me the crazy idea that I could (that anyone could) run a half marathon.
* has over 30 years’ experience in the industry and is part of the creation of the innovative orthotics behind footwear brand Vionic.
I was sent The Modern Yoga Bible: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Today, By Christina Brown and Vionic Training Shoes for purposes of review. All opinions are honest and my own.