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5 Top Tips to becoming the worst Half Marathon Runner

Making the transition from a 5-10ker to Half Marathoner can be daunting, a psychological test as much as a physical challenge. Newbes to this uber competitive world of running can easily find themselves overwhelmed with variables and risks, whilst trying to soak up every ounce of information they come across in order to run as fast as possible, as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, not all running information comes from a reliable source. Almost everyone has been the recipient of unsolicited advice tucked away in their running history, that perhaps was somewhat perplexing, quickly given, and questionable. It may even have come from a seasoned marathoner who loudly proclaimed they had been there and done that.

It was the kind of information you eagerly followed then instantly regretted. “You can eat whatever you like” “You’ve got to carbo-load before the race” “If you want to run a half marathon, start running long distances”. Just a taster of the fantastic ill-fated advice that may have left you confused as to why you are putting on weight, running for the bathroom, or worst of all, injured from overtraining.

So, just for the heck of it, I’m going to be that guy for the day, and offer you my 5 top tips to becoming the worst Half Marathoner in Cardiff this October. Buckle up, and enjoy.

1. Calories don’t count

There is nothing more satisfying than arriving at your last week of training and being able to reach eagerly for those biscuits on the top shelf, safe in the knowledge that you can eat until your heart’s content and it doesn’t matter, because you’re training hard. Doughnuts for breakfast? Why not, you’ll run them off right? Never mind your jeans are starting to feel a little more snug than usual, and you’re waking up sluggish in the mornings. Those runners eating a balanced diet to “replenish their stores” just don’t know what they’re talking about

2. On race day, run the first mile as fast as possible

Nobody wants to be stuck drowning in legs at the back of the pack when you can be up front with the athletes, wind in your hair and a smile on your face. Scared of burning out too fast? Don’t be! It will come, but just embrace it, you’ve got to bank those miles before you hit the wall

3. Rest days are for wimps

We have all been there, where some well-meaning runner will tell you what a mistake it was to skip that rest day you had planned because you were feeling just so good and had to stretch your legs. Don’t listen to them, it’s a trap! They want you to allow your muscles to heal and avoid injury, how dare they. Show them what you’re really made of and throw all your rest days out the window

4. Make sure clothing is on point for your debut

As we all know, looking fly not only turns heads, but also helps you run 100x faster. Don’t waste time testing out your new Nike Frees and tight tank top before race day, who cares if you get mad chaffing or blisters that burn like the sun, you wouldn’t want to run the risk of messing up your new look on race day

5. Getting pain? Don’t stop now

Running always comes with its aches and pains. Sharp pain in your shins could lead to shin splints. You may think that at some point, the pain couldn’t possibly get any worse – run on through it! You will have to be disciplined, this will take some serious mental strength to push through with your running, and if you are lucky you may be able to take the term “break a leg” far more literally, which will definitely put you top of the podium of worst Half Marathon runner

So, if you want to greatly increase your chances of needing our Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths or Sports Masseurs leading up to and following the Cardiff Half Marathon then follow these MUST NOT DO tips. In our experience, we would suggest doing the complete opposite to these top 5 worst tips, or you may actually end up being the worst Half Marathon runner in Cardiff!

In all seriousness, be safe with your preparation and training and enjoy every mile. Agile Therapy will be giving away FREE massages at 29 Park Place after the race so pop in and come and see us there or pop in to the clinic. We will back you all the way!

Written by Anna Wardlaw, Physiotherapist BSc, HCPC, MSCP

Anna graduated with a BSc in 2012 from an internationally recognised University for excellence in Auckland, New Zealand.

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