I started running several years ago, when I didn’t yet live in London. I was excited to move into the city, but one of my biggest stipulations was that our new home had to be near a park – and I entered up being near (in my opinion) the best one!

Victoria Park is five minutes run from our home, and links to a canal towards Stratford one way and another canal up towards Angel the other. Between Victoria park and these canal paths, you can practise routes of any size, and this was integral to my training plan.Are you thinking of running a half-marathon? Here’s my top 10 tips to make sure you are prepared and get the best out of your training time before the big day.

  1. Get the right footwear – you may only be starting with small distances, but get to Sweat Shop or another specialist sports shop as soon as you start training and get a proper running assessment and specific shoes. This can save niggling injuries starting to occur.
  2. Download an app – I have used RunKeeper and Map My Run. You can see how far you’re running, what your pace was like per km/mile and keep track of your training over time. On RunKeeper you can pick a specific training plan and on Map My Run you can add in your meals and take pre-programmed routes other people have done to compare and compete with your time.
  3. Google a running plan – start small if you’re a beginner and don’t worry that you won’t have done the full distance before the race. I have only done 10 miles at most beforehand. If you can manage a full practise run though, it can be good for your mentality as, on the day, you know you can do it so you won’t doubt yourself at mile 10!
  4. Make a good playlist! Spotify does a new service where it matches the rhythm of the songs to your pace. Or alternate between slower and faster songs on your own playlist so you change pace and don’t push yourself too hard on race day.
  5. When to run? Everyone debates when the best time is to run. I found that if I got up early and did it, or did it in my lunch hour at work, it left me feeling fresh and energised. If I tried to leave it until the evening, it often didn’t happen (due to being tired/prior trash TV commitments/laziness/socialising!).
  6. Build it into your commute – If you have a shower at work and have a bearable route to run, why not run to work twice a week in the run up to your half-marathon? You’ll not only avoid public transport sweatiness and people, you’ll arrive feeling fresh and you’ll save yourself a tonne of commute money over time!
  7. Eat more! You’ll need to be eating enough to sustain your energy. This doesn’t mean gorging on cakes and Coca Cola, but eating red meat, pasta, nuts and fruit and veg which is high in fibre.
  8. During training – don’t build it up too fast or push yourself too hard. If you feel unwell or strained, then stop and slow down, otherwise you’ll injure yourself.
  9. The day before the race – rest! And top up on steak and kale smoothies to prepare yourself!
  10. Sports kinaesthetic tape – for the big day! Do you have any little niggles in your knees or ankles etc? Watch Youtube to find out how to do it or there is usually a ‘Taping Stand’ at your race to do it. This will hold your muscles strong whilst still allowing flexibility.

I hope that helps! I’ll be doing London’s Royal Parks Half Marathon in October – maybe see you there 🙂

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