Monday, 14 February 2011

Running Lessons

With five very short weeks before the Reading Half Marathon, I met up with my (virtual) running buddy on Saturday to compare notes. I say virtual, because it has been almost a year since we met in person – even though we’ve exchanged many email excuses for why we couldn’t make a running session!

We both bemoaned a whole number of well thought out and credible excuses – including injuries and some big life changing stuff that got thrown at us. But the fact remains that during a full year, neither of us lost any weight, neither of us is as fit as we should be, and neither of us feels prepared for this half marathon. That’s despite a year of so-called preparation. Wow – how could that have happened?

We agreed we’d learnt some lessons. So here’s my list:
  • Running isn’t a substitute for eating well. I have to eat sensibly if I want to lose weight – running won’t melt excess weight away. I hate to say it, but I think this might be an age thing.
  • To get better at running I have to show up: at practice, on a Saturday morning, for races, for training runs.
  • A great coach helps a lot. Providing I show up on a Wednesday…. thanks Tom!
  • Having a committed running buddy helps a lot. Doing it together is always easier; thanks Jacqui!
  • Get the right kit. Running shoes that don’t rub, light-weight jacket for the rain (how useless is it that I still won’t go running when it’s raining?), warm weather kit, the right socks, a calibrated distance measurer (and I thought it was a cheap sport!!!).
  • Make a checklist for race day
  • Keep a training log
  • Have races in the diary to keep focus and momentum on training
  • It takes time and patience to form a new running habit; to lose weight, to get fitter, to build up stamina, to get to like (ha ha!) running.
Looking back at my notes before the Henley half marathon, I weighed 5 kilos less, and was running a 5K distance 5 minutes faster than I’m running it right now. Crumbs, that’s a bit of a wakeup call. Time to put those lessons into practice!

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