You may have noticed that it’s all gone a bit running crazy over here on The High Tea Cast. Quite a few of us have been bitten by the the bug and have been jogging for fun, training for races and generally getting laced up whenever the mood takes us (or the internet is down and we can’t get on to Netflix).
With three half marathons under my belt and a full marathon coming up next year, I’ve picked up some top tips for runners along the way that might help to make your next run better – be it one mile, ten miles or 26.2.
I held off on trying the Compeed ones, despite numerous recommendations, because they seemed really expensive and I’m always skint. A sneaky lady at Waterloo station shoved a trial pack into my arms (she was from Compeed, not a kind-hearted stranger who believes that nobody should suffer from blisters) and it came in very handy after a half marathon when my foot was falling off. You put it on, the pain is gone. Amazing. Worth every penny.
Walking, walking, walking…
When you’ve finished a long run, the last thing you want to do is continue to move. But in my experience, walking is the best thing for you. If you keep on walking, your legs don’t seize up immediately and it lessens some of the aches you get the next day. Try to plan your long runs so that you finish at least half a mile from home so that you can walk, stretch and lunge your way to your sofa. This rule can be swayed in the case of heavy rain, in which case sprinting home is your only option. Ain’t nobody got time for rain.
Y-Fumble and sports beans
A total winner of a combination. A Y-Fumble is a stretchy fabric armband that holds all manner of things – phone, iPod, keys, Oyster card, cash… anything you might need while you’re out running. On a long run or race day, they’re only really big enough to hold one or two energy gels if you’ve got your phone too. My boyfriend bought me some Jelly Belly Sports Beans (which are EXCELLENT, by the way) and told me to empty the packets into the armband. Voila: an ever-so-slightly-sticky phone, and a pocket of easy-to-reach jelly beans for when I only want to grab a couple.
Everyone’s hit a week where they just don’t want to go out and run. It happens to me all the time, but I am a special kind of lazy. Best thing to do? Shopping. Buy some new leggings, running socks, a gadget, or even just a headband and you’ll find yourself wanting to head out of the door to try it out. It’s mostly just bribing yourself, but it works for me. (Not a good tip for the end of the month, I’m afraid).
Prepare your brain
Long runs are hard. There’s no getting around it. If you’re running a long way, there are going to be occasions when you want to quit. It might not happen during every race, but you can guarantee it’ll happen at some point: your mind takes over the proceedings and decides that actually, you’d much rather be tucked up on the sofa watching The Little Mermaid. It’s at this point that you need to kick your mind into shape a little bit, and having some pre-prepared methods will definitely help. During a particularly difficult three miles at the end of my last half marathon, I alternated between thinking “Man up. Man up. Man up. Man up.” and forcing myself to actually think about my discomfort, and compare it to worse things. I was running for Tommy’s, the baby charity, and so my thoughts were with the parents who’ve suffered more than I could imagine, and fought battles to save their premature babies. My aching joints and sore back were absolutely nothing in comparison, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that although it hurts, it’s really not that bad.
Motivational boost number two
Another good motivation booster: read a running book. I was having a bit of a “gah! Running sucks! Death to trainers!” week when I cracked open Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley. Before I’d finished it I’d signed myself up to my very first marathon. It sometimes takes a reminder of what running can do to persuade you to lace up and get outside again, so it’s good to read stories from people who started out as I did – hardly able to run to the end of the road without coughing up a lung.
Do you have any top tips for runners? Or do you have some running kit that’s become invaluable? Let us know in the comments!
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