April 13th 2015
The beginners' running diary: part three
September 18th 2014
Find out how the Gloss girls did as the day of their dreaded race finally arrived
The morning of the race finally arrived and I don’t think any of us have ever been more nervous. Hearts pounding and palms sweating, we made our way to the start line, eager to get moving but terrified to begin. All the concerns and pressures of doing badly that had plagued us throughout this experience came hurtling into an acute focus as we waited through the two minute countdown. The following accidental and premature horn blow from the Mayor of Wembley certainly didn’t help to calm our nerves.
Once we’d begun however, it really wasn’t that bad at all, I’d even go as far to say it was quite fun. Running amongst men and women, both young and old drummed up a great sense of camaraderie which, as cliche as it may sound, really helped to carry us through the race. With the course lined with well wishers, the atmosphere was fantastically electric, lighthearted and motivating. Plus, the many supporting spectators meant we were also shamed into running when we wanted to walk - nobody wants to amble past a cheering crowd.
At the end of it all though, we not only finished the race but smashed the times we initially set ourselves out to achieve. Let this be a lesson to all of us - no matter how unfit or incapable you think you are, it’s always possible to get motivated and moving. Trust us, it will be the best decision you ever make. Somehow the early mornings and side splitting stitches had all been worth it. Half marathon anyone?
That being said, it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing and if we could do it all again there’d be a few tips and tricks we’d definitely keep in mind;
Ideally you need twelve weeks to get from couch to 10k - plus the guidance of a runner friend/personal trainer. Failing that, pick up a copy of ‘Run Fat Bitch Run,’ £5.99 by Ruth Field - it contains all the straight-talking, no-nonsense advice you need to get you going.
Download the Nike+ Running App - it’s free and will be your saving grace when you realise that rookies find it hard to run, breath and time themselves simultaneously. Plus, it’s a great tool for measuring how far you’ve run, so that 10k on the day doesn’t come as such a shock.
Sign up for a 10k! If we hadn’t signed up for the run we would never have forced ourselves into the gym four times a week - trust us, the fear of ‘fluffing it’ before you reach the finish line is a huge motivator.
Set up a goodwill goal - knowing that you’re helping to raise money for a great cause will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Train with friends - unless you’re super competitive and looking to achieve a Mo Farrah worthy personal best, train with your buds. Simply put, you’ll have a laugh, won’t feel as though you’ve abandoned your social life and they’ll make your session plans much more bearable. It’s a win, win.
Turn to Instagram for inspiration - when you’re tempted to pack it all in and nestle up with Netflix, head over to an inspiring instagram account and/or consider buying yourself some new kit (we, personally, like to kill two birds with one stone by checking out @nikewomen and @nikerunning - it won’t take long for the ‘just do it’ mentality to kick back in.
Things to remember for the day
Carbs and water are the cure - the importance of carbo-loading and hydrating the day before cannot be underestimated. Yes, you’ll feel heavy, sluggish and weighed down at the time, but trust us, come morning you’ll be bursting with powerful energy to help push you around the race.
Don’t carry a large bottle of water - you only need a few little sips to keep you going on the day - a full bottle is cumbersome and heavy and largely unnecessary. Plus, drink too much and you’ll find yourself making a few too many pesky toilet stops.
Keep your equipment light - when you’re struggling up a steep hill you’ll never be more grateful that your music player/gadgets are firmly strapped somewhere on your body and out of sight. Having to hold them in your hand or have them jiggle around in your pocket will only feel uncomfortable and distracting.
A good playlist is essential - music is so intrinsically linked with our ability to move well the bodies rhythm and our ability - nothing will help you power through more than a fast tempo tune.
Know your race route - after a combination of running indoors and on fairly flat ground outside, we were pretty unprepared for the many gradual, steep inclines that laced the track. If you can, take a look at the route as early as you can ahead of the race so you know what you’re up against and what level of training will really help you on the day.
Listen to your body - there’s a temptation to get carried away on the day and push yourself too hard, but you’ve got to pay attention to what your body is saying. If you need a drink, have one, if you need a breather, slow down. At the end of the day it’s just a race and not worth injuring yourself over.
Mind over matter - surprisingly, the biggest obstacle on the day is your brain not your body. Try not to psyche yourself out, keep calm and do your best. At the end of it all, you’re your biggest motivator and If you think you can, you will.
Warm up and warm down properly - it will really help limber you up and get your muscles moving just before the run and will also help prevent you from feeling like an arthritic oap the next day.
Enjoy it! It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses and pressure of a race but remember that at the end of the day it’s meant to be a day of fun. Starting from scratch and completing a race is a fantastic accomplishment regardless of what time you finish with. So, stand back and take time to enjoy the journey and appreciate how far you’ve come - you’ve earned it.