It’s time to get those trainers on!

September 22, 2016 // Rachel Ellis

As always at this time of year it is great to get to Bath Half HQ each day and see the entries from our runners dropping into our inbox. It’s seems to be the time of year that runners are thinking of their races for next Spring, or with the kids back to school and an autumnal nip in the year, it’s a good time to set ourselves some new fitness challenges.

It’s always great to see so many of our Bath Halfers returning again and again – Bath really does seem to be a city and a race that people want to run more than once! A lot of that, we know, is down to the spectacular support that we see out on the streets of Bath each year. On a sunny day in March this year we estimated that over 30,000 spectators were cheering on the runners!
It is some of those spectators, inspired by our runners, who will have made a commitment to run the Bath Half in 2017. They tell us that they sign up on a high of cheering and emotion – thinking to themselves – I can do that!

But a year is a long time away. And the box-fresh trainers are perhaps, well, still just that! With these runners in mind our race director Andrew thought a blog post for those new to the Bath Half might be in order – helping you get to race day slowly and steadily – rather than in one unpleasant dash in the final few weeks!

So here are his tips for those of you who have signed up for the Bath Half, or might be thinking of signing up, but haven’t yet put much thought into the journey from entering the race to running your first half marathon!

It’s never too early to start your Bath Half training. We are just over 24 weeks away from the 2017 Bath Half and the weather this September has (mainly) been great – make the most of this pleasant weather to work on your fitness. If you leave all of your training until the winter, it will be cold, wet, windy or icy (our runners train through it all!) and if you’re not fit it feels much, much harder to leave the sofa in that kind of weather!

The hardest part for any beginner planning to run a half marathon is getting up to the 5k distance. Split the next 24 weeks in half and use the first 12 weeks to conquer 5k. Follow a training plan, join a running group, do it with a friend or a colleague. Start slowly and take your time getting there. You can spend the final 12 weeks building up from 5k to the half marathon distance.

Past injuries are likely to rear their head. Think about seeing a physio or a sports masseur to help you with those.

Prepare for some stiffness and soreness. Perhaps sign up for a yoga class or make stretching a regular part of your routine.

If you’re hoping to lose some weight through your running, then take your weight into account when starting out. If you’re carrying a couple more stones than you want to be perhaps think about training on softer surfaces to begin with and be aware that running may even give you weight gain as fat turns to muscle
Body conditioning work will really help you – think about including Pilates, circuit training or cross training into your programme. If that all sounds just way too scary consider having a fitness assessment at a gym and asking for some help with planning some of these elements of your training.

Put together a training programme and try to stick to it. Be sure to include rest days and try to give yourself targets along the way.

Bank the good runs and accept there will be bad ones along the way. If you got up early while everyone slept and you saw an amazing sun rise, then hold on to that inner smugness for the day.

Nutrition is important – eat more of the things you like and cut out some of the things that we all know aren’t good for us. Running often makes us crave what our bodies need – and these tend to be things that are good for us.

Savour the moment. Your body was meant to run. Enjoy that.