7 lessons I learned from running my first half marathon
Well this came along quickly didn’t it? It feels like it was just yesterday that you signed up for the Dubai Marathon, and you promised yourself that you would run miles and miles whilst training in the gym every day turning yourself into a well oiled running machine. So… how did it go? If your answer is “not quite as planned” don’t worry, lots of first time runners feel exactly the same way.
Last October I ran my first half marathon in London, and before you hit the start line on Friday I wanted to share some of the lessons I took away from my experience of running in a race:
01 Stop comparing yourself to anyone else
Do not compare yourself, your endurance, your time, or your training to ANYONE else… and… Don’t Panic!! Trust me when I say that before any race everyone is a little bit nervous. I know I was! It is normal because you are about to do something that is pretty amazing, probably harder than anything you have done before and these feelings of worry and fear will later translate into feelings of pride and achievement.
02 Fuel and hydrate properly
Nutrition is really the foundation for performance and recovery, you can’t complete a marathon without fuelling your body correctly, and hydration is a careful balance of drinking the right amount and replacing what you need. Remember, your body is your home base for life. So fuel it properly by eating healthy, hydrating and supplementing wisely. One supplement that I take daily without fail is immune 360, it supports my immunity all year long and is a key to staying healthy. I am always conscious of my diet and was even more so leading up to the day of the run. During my training I would regularly seek out advice from my team at The Hundred Wellness Centre and one of the best tips I was given was from Dr Sean Penny. Sean told me to prepare my favourite lean95 shake with one ripe avocado 1.5-2 hours before the race, preparing the shake this way meant I had a tremendous power boost of energy due to the shake being packed with lots of easily absorbed good stuff including healthy fats and amino acids ( I highly recommend doing this!)
03 Listen to your body
During my training I diversified how I prepared and moved my body, and my team at the centre emphasised the importance of stretching, warming up my muscles, as well as using a foam roller. I added Pilates into my training rotation to help balance things out in my legs and help with my alignment. Joint mobility, improved flexibility, body awareness, and of course a strong core, are just a few of the ways that Pilates can help with running.
04 Mental strength is just as important as physical strength
During my rigorous training schedule I recognised the importance of mind over matter. I repeated to myself how strong I was, and how I’ve endured harder things in life than running. I love the feeling of putting my mind to something and accomplishing it. We all do this on small and large scales every day, but it had been a while since I set out on such a major goal that was so outside my comfort zone, and I learned a lot from the experience and will carry forward the importance of consistently challenging myself.
05 A good pair of shoes and watch your pace
Do not EVER run a race in new shoes! For the best fit and the most comfortable running, match your foot type (yes there are many types of arches) to the shape and components of your running shoes, and the best way to do this would be to go into a running store and have a proper fitting. When we come to the issue of “pace”.. Here are my thoughts: Don’t go out too fast. You will be tempted. Resist. Don’t do it! Setting the pace for your run is a process that starts in training. It depends on your race type, goal times, current fitness level… the list goes on. My best advice here? Aim for a steady rhythm the entire race. Wearing a watch really helps with keeping track of your pace, and for long distance races like the half marathon I find it is best to break down the race into manageable chunks.
06 An AMAZING playlist is a must
I know that some people like to run without music to get “in the zone,” but not me. I feed off lyrics that are uplifting and empowering. Truth be told sometimes I run listening to one song on repeat! TrailMix Pro is an amazing app that actually syncs the music to match your steps seamlessly. It has other great features as well so I highly recommend giving it a try.
07 Recovery time
You did it! The race was successful, but once you reach the finish line, it isn’t quite over yet…Recovering from a marathon is a critical step that runners often neglect. First off, grab some water and hydrate! Your body also needs fuel to repair your muscles right after your race, so that is when I take peac which provides easily absorbable amino acids without overloading or excess calories and Microhydrin to help boost the muscle repair! One other thing to try (I love this one!) is Epsom salt baths for their restorative benefits—soaking in the magnesium rich salts can reduce inflammation and helps restore electrolytes to your muscles.
In the end, I wouldn’t trade the experience I had training for and then running my first half marathon with anything! It truly feels like such an accomplishment to cross off my personal achievement list. Overall, I became more in-tune with myself on a new level, so if you’re getting ready to get out on Friday and run in the marathon I hope these tips help you! Good luck, and once you are done we would love to hear about your experience!