Last weekend I ran my first 10k in the London Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research (I raised £350 but there is still time to donate HERE). I originally signed up as a booster to get me training for my Royal Parks half marathon in October and by golly it worked. What started as a hatred for running and a nervousness of being sick everytime I began to stride, turned into something wonderful, it turned into a passion. As my friend Emma put it ‘You’ve caught the bug’ and I really have. And whilst I’m obviously VERY nervous about my first half marathon, I’m excited too. I love setting myself a goal and achieving it.
Of course running my first 10k wasn’t easy and I most certainly learnt a few things along the way, and even a few things on the day of the race itself, so of course what better way to share them than here my blog, for any fellow newbie runners out there:
You HAVE to invest in a decent pair of trainers
I didn’t realise just how important this part is, but you need good quality running shoes. Me being me, cheap as chips, bought a pair of trainers from Primark back in January for £12. They were cute and sporty but when it came to exercising they were useless! I actually got tendinitis from wearing them; an ache and pain in the arch of my foot that left me limping for two weeks. So when I signed up for the half marathon I went to Runners Need to get serious about running. I cannot recommend this store enough. They measured my feet to get the exact size and then put me on a treadmill to test how I run so that they could match me up with the right type of trainers (and this service was free of charge may I add). In the end I found the one, or ones rather, and I love them. They were around the £100 mark but worth every penny.
Don’t run the full distance in training
Marathon runners never run the full 26 miles in a practice, not even 24, or 22, you’d be surprised to know that most train up to 16 miles – that’s an extra 10 miles they do on the day! I was running just six miles last Sunday – which felt like a marathon to me but is nothing in comparison – and during my training I only ever trained around five, mainly because I wanted the day of the race to be the first time I achieved it. And crossing that finishing line was a wonderful feeling.
You should track your progress
I loved doing progress updates on my Instagram. I had some wonderful supporters along the way, plus using the right hashtags I was able to find other runners to follow and track (I used the hashtag #RunTinkRun on all my running pics incase you want to catch up). Keeping track of your progress is fun and it’s motivating, especially looking back through your journey and seeing how far you’ve come. If your not a fan of Instagram, or Twitter, maybe do it the old fashioned way and keep a diary.
Change isn’t always good
On the day of the race I wore my usual fabletics leggings and sports bra and my trusty trainers, but I decided to change my socks. My boyfriend had been complaining about my one pair of running socks – that I wore everytime I ran – stinking out our apartment. And He was right, they were super smelly. But I loved them. I had bought them alongside my trainers at Runners Need and the trainers and the socks and myself, we were a little team. They had made my training journey so easy on my feet and they were so comfortable. I almost felt I owed it to them to wear them on the big day. But due to their stench I was convinced to throw them away. So I went out and spent £13 on a brand spanking new pair of socks. Unfortunately Runners Need didn’t have the same kind so I went for what the guy in the store recommended. As comfy as they were on the way to the race and when I started, by Mile 4 I could feel an uncomfortable blister forming on my right foot. It wasn’t enough pain for me to stop, I kept on running, but I regretted not keeping my trusty socks.
Drink plenty of water on the morning of the race
I never run with water. Even just holding it puts me off. I also find that drinking water right before I run leaves me feeling sick and burpy (I can feel it chugging around in my belly as I run – eugh). So I usually drink water before I go to bed because I train in the mornings. But I think due to nerves and not wanting to be sick during the race, I stopped drinking water as soon as I left my house to head to Hyde Park. Not a good plan! Before I had even hit 2k my mouth was incredibly dry and it had turned into a scorcher of a day. I knew I was dehydrated and I instantly regretted not carrying a bottle of water. Fortunately after 5k you are passed a bottle of water by a helper, so I was soon hydrated again and powered on.
Are you a newbie runner? Doing any races this year? Got any running/training tips? I’d love to know in the comments below…