My friend Sara, her of the sports jelly beans and witchcraft chatting-while-running, sent me the most wonderful email the week before I did Royal Parks (more on that story later). She had just done her first half marathon in Ealing, and had lots of marvellous advice which she’s said I can put up here. My favourite, obviously, was “Remember you’re allowed all the carbs now.”
Also good, because I came down with SODDING FLU five days before, so never did do my two three mile runs – “It doesn’t matter if you don’t run this week. You’ve been ready for this for the last month, a week off at the end won’t change a think. I did two very short runs but I think it’s more important to rest. Don’t do anything after Thursday!”
What was really wonderful was this picture which she posted shortly afterwards. A bunch of her friends trekked up to Ealing in the middle of the night (or, 10am on Sunday morning which is much the same thing) and surprised her as she came round the final bend with this UTTERLY amazing sign. Bravo Sara’s friends. And bravo the Sara!
Sara’s half-marathon tips:
The Ealing Half was fantastic, I loved it so much. I want to do another one now! Here’s what I learned on the day:
– Find a pacer and follow them. You won’t have to look at your watch, so you can take in the scenery and crowds. It went much quicker for me as I wasn’t checking my watch and thinking “we’ve only done FOUR miles, WTF?” It also meant I didn’t shoot off too fast.
– Chat to nervous looking people at the start, who will probably also be first timers. I ended up running the whole thing with a lovely girl called Jen as we found we were both aiming for a similar time.
– High-five any children on the route! They all had their tiny hands out in Ealing, and were counting the high fives they got.
– I found thinking of it as a ten mile run helped. I knew once I got to 10, I could definitely do another 3. 3 miles = Parkrun = fine.
– Drink at every water station, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Splash water on your face. Don’t worry about how you’ll look in the photos.
– Stretch! Like your life depends on it! I went for a short walk yesterday and did lots of stretching afterwards, and today I feel fine. I should have stretched more on Sunday instead of sweatily hugging everyone.
– Parade around all day in your medal. It’s your right. Loudly say “oh – this? Why it’s just my HALF MARATHON MEDAL” if you feel people are making insufficient fuss.
Sara, you are a total legend. Check out her equally legendary Tumblr, Life! Death! Top Tips!