Tag Archives: running

Get ready, get steady… Go!

24 Jun

Today I successfully completed another Half Marathon as part of my 2012 miles in 2012; Malvern Half Marathon in aid of Acorn’s Children’s Hospice. It’s a race I have done before but this year the route was different. It was a disappointing route this year, and took us down some very long and mentally challenging roads, but was still a very well organised and enjoyable race. The marshals were fantastic.  Running in a race is such a different feeling to running a long weekend training run. Mainly because you are competing, and wanting to achieve a good time, but also for me personally it would be completely inconceivable to set out for a race and not complete the full distance.



So if you are thinking of running a race; whatever the distance, whether it is your first or 100th, here are ten useful tips to see you through.

1. Arrive in good time

Get everything ready the night before. From experience, there is nothing worse than arriving at a race and having to run to the start line, have no time to go the loo (nerves!) and adequately warm up.

2. Fill up on Fuel

You can’t run without fuel. This is a really important bit of advice, when I first started running I made this mistake too many times than I’d care to remember. I was lucky enough to always be in company, and luckily never fainted or anything but I have had to pay for it later. Feeling exhausted for the rest of the day.

You can’t run without fuel but eating too close to starting time can also make yourself poorly, causing cramps or stitch. Try to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal no later than one hour before your race.

3. Hydrate

For races over 10km many people will want to have a drink to stay hydrated. Do you prefer to run with a bottle? Or are you okay with taking drinks at water stations? Decide what you’re going to do, and train in the same way.

4. Check the weather

Check the weather for the day of your race. If its hot and sunny, make sure you will be wearing something cool. If it’s going to be cold or wet, make sure you have a waterproof. Wear something trusted, that’s comfortable and works for you,

5. Plan your race strategy

Its good to think first about how you are going to run your race. I would suggest starting off steady and then picking up the pace half way through. Negative splits. Always remember its your race and no one else’s.  Don’t run alongside someone’s else and try and keep up, they will have their own plan and it may not suit you and your training.

6. Don’t stress

Don’t stress. Its just a race, it’s the taking part that matters. You have got this far so why go and spoil your enjoyment by stressing. Easier said than done, I know. But seriously, try to see the bigger picture and enjoy it.

7. Use your fellow race goers to keep you going

No matter where you run your race at home or abroad, there is something about running in a race that seems to bring everyone together. Runners are friendly creatures! I have met so many people whilst running a race, and it can really help keep you going. When you’re feeling tired use the pace of other runners around you to keep going, you can also try encouraging each other. Another useful tactic is to pick out someone ahead of you and try to catch them, or just maintain the same distance between you.

8. Split the race

This really works for me. I try and imagine to race in sections. If I am running a half marathon I divide it into two 10k’s, for me this really works. Some may split it up even smaller, down to 5k’s. It somehow makes the distance feel less daunting. Try it.

9. Recruit some cheerleaders!

Run your race with a friend or ask friends or family to come along to support you. Having someone at the finish line or along the way will really give you a boost and is great encouragement if you start to feel tired.

10. Whether it’s your first race or your 100th enjoy it.

Whether you come first or last, you did it. Well done. If you didn’t finish in the time you wanted to, it doesn’t matter, isn’t it the taking part that matters? There’s always next time!


I’m Broken

5 Apr

It’s been a while! …I have been running, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. I ran for sport relief and have done some long runs most weekends but I have been suffering since I upped my mileage this year. I have ignored the pain but it has become worse. My friends have been telling me to go and see a professional but i have just shrugged it off with the theory, the pains not killing me.

It was actually my horse, (Looby Lou) who I had the fall on last year, who prompted me to go and seek a professional to help with the pain. I have increased my riding a lot this year, and have really taken a positive step forward with Looby since I have been much stronger from my fall. However she has been showing signs of pain and discomfort in her one side. I therefore immediately called out my equine Chiropractor. Looby has since been much happier and forward going. So perhaps it was time I sorted myself out too.

I have seen so many Physio’s and chiro’s and any other therapist that could have helped, but thought I’d ask around for a reccomendation. My very close running pal recommend the Chiro that i went to see and she was fanatastic. She demonstrated passion for what she was doing, expertise and she managed to give me a real confidence that she could really help me. She said I should’t just accept my pain as the norm.

Our bodies are so important to us, and I have completely neglected mine. My legs take me so far everyday, and I am feeling so guilty for not looking after it properly and seeking a professional before now. Luckily no irreparable damage has been done, but lesson has been learnt.

So appointment was just a few days ago, and i am currently feeling like I have been hit by a lorry. I was told to rest for a few days which has not been easy in the slightest. I admistteldy went to a spinning class this mroning, which was fantastic and a great work out but painful, very very painful. I just feel sore.

The chiro has also alluded me to my core, which she did say was very strong. I am so shocked at how dissapointing working the core actually is! No fireworks there.

Looking forward to next weeks appitment and being on the mend and getting some real mielage in and starting to achieve my run for 2012 challenge. I am so behind.

I have entered a Half Marathon in June and been deliberating one for April (we are already in April!!) targets to work towards anyway.

285,77 miles run to date (very behind my target… a lot of miles to make up)

1,726 miles left to run.


18 Jan

Oh dear!… haven’t posted for over a week, last week I spent the majority of my time in bed sleeping/ recovering! Exhausted doesn’t even justify quite how tired I felt, I even found myself googling ‘can’t stop sleeping, what is wrong with me’.

So, by day 8 I had completed 44 miles. Well on the way to meeting my target… however destroyed all that hard work by spending it sleeping last week. To date though I have completed 67.5 miles, 1,944.5 miles left.

I aim to get back on track now though, sometimes life gets in the way and some days are much tougher than other, but you just have to keep going/ just give yourself a day off and promise to go out again the next day. I think the trouble with this challenge I have set myself is, that I have calculated I have to do a minimum of 35 miles per week in order to complete the entire 2012 miles or face having to cram a high number of miles to do towards the end of the year.

Last sunday an old running buddy whom i nickname ‘sat nav’ as she is amazing at mapping out routes and always knowing where we are whether she’s been there before or not. I’ve been known to take my friends on accidental half marathon runs by taking too many wrong turns and running in completely opposite directions to where we had parked our cars.

Anyway, ‘Sat nav‘ is back after a long injury she has been suffering with her knee, finally diagnosed as ligament damage which she is facing key hole surgery for. She wants to try to keep up her fitness levels though before the surgery so she can recover guilt free and then get back to it without too much trouble afterwards. Was so good to have her back running alongside me on sunday. A 10 miles run felt like 1 mile, we just put the world to rights and manage to completely forget we are running.

We have another Sunday run planned, hopefully she can push it and we can go a bit further and i can get some extra miles in and make up for last weeks sleeping marathon!

British Winter

4 Jan

Day 4, and it was not an enjoyable run. Weather has never been a problem for me, I run whether it is snowing or scorching…tonight was most certainly a British winter evening to say the least, strong winds and rain… I put my earphones in though and send my mind somewhere else, I often pretend I’m running along in the summer or take myself to a time when i have been running on holiday. Tonight was difficult, I ate my supper before I ran tonight, I have never done that before and will never be doing that again. I had a terrible feeling I was going to be sick for the entire run, felt really heavy and had no energy (something that’s quite useful whilst running)

So Lesson 1. Do not eat before a run, or wait at least an hour before you do.

I also made a grave mistake in my music choice tonight. Music really affects the way in which I run and I know I’m not alone when I say this, if its fast I feel more energetic and seem to be able to run quicker, but if its slow I seem to lack motivation and my run is more of a steady jog.  I need to update my running tunes, and master my Itunes account, I have so many albums that I don’t listen to and so many I should be listening to! I find it motivates me too, I get excited to listen to new uploaded albums. So anyway, tonight my album choice was Annie Mac presents 2011. An AMAZING album, highly recommended, but not for an upbeat running tempo album. Her last album; Annie Mac presents 2010 is one of my favourite running albums… so expected the same for 2011 but it just doesn’t work when trying to increase speed.

So Lesson 2. Do not listen to Annie Mac presents 2011 whilst running.

Tonight was also one of the shortest runs I have done in a while, just 4 miles, but I live by the rule that something is better than nothing. 23.5 miles to date, 1988.5 miles to go. I wonder what I will do if I complete the 1988.5 miles before the end of 2012?!

Welcome to Running for 2012 miles in 2012

3 Jan

Happy New Year! Its 2012, January 3rd and I have decided to run 2012 miles for 2012. I plan to run a large part of my miles at weekends on long runs and 5 to 6 miles per day during the week. I will run everywhere I go, whether it be whilst at work, on holiday or weekends away. My trainers (currently wearing Saucony Pro Grid Guide 2) will go everywhere with me to ensure that I clock up my miles, I also plan to enter a number of races this year to help clock up the miles. I hope with your support and advice you can keep me going… any advice!

Its day 3, and so far I have clocked 19.5 miles using my Garmin Forerunner 405CX, this will be my new best friend! Looking forward to the challenge and join in if you think you can do it too, surely it cant be that hard?!

About Running for 2012

My name is Sarah Willis, I am 29 years old (at the time of writing this!) and enjoy running. Running has so many benefits and as I discovered, anyone can do it. I started running 3 years ago, having joined a ladies running club in Droitwich with an overall aim of losing weight and becoming more active, and guess what, it worked! I started entering Half Marathons and numerous 10k’s and have been quite literally hooked ever since!

I have been lucky so far and haven’t suffered any serious running related injuries, but have been unlucky and suffered injuries related to my other passion which is horse riding. I have been quite unfortunate and suffered two falls, both of which caused significant problems with my running. After my first fall I just ran through the pain and ignored it until it became so bad I psychically could not run as my legs would give way from beneath me! Yes i know what your thinking, I must be mad! But running gives me such a rush I cant seem to get it any other way, i tried the gym but i just felt bored and restless. So I tried physiotherapy and visited a chiropractor and both treatments seemed to help, just in time for my wedding enabling me to get back out there and clock up the miles. I even ran on the morning of my wedding and started my new tradition of running over to my parents house on Christmas day which i plan to do now every christmas. It’s very satisfying when tucking into your christmas dinner and all the other indulgences that come with christmas.

However in 2011, I suffered a second horse riding accident, the day before my wedding anniversary! So instead of celebrating with my husband it was spent in hospital. The second fall caused me to undo pretty much all the treatment I had received following my first fall and on top suffered pretty extensive internal damage to my muscles. This time I realised just how lucky I was to have escaped the way I had with no broken bones and decided to start listening to my body, it’s now been nearly 5 months and I am just about 95% fully recovered, but my running has really suffered. I am determined to return to my former fitness.

I was running everyday at one point but now it varies from week to week according to how I’m feeling in terms of pain. I now need to build up the muscles in the one side of my body and what better way to motivate myself  than hold a promise to run 2012 miles in 12 months! So that’s my story, and that’s what I am going to do, which I plan to blog about for 12 months. Both the good and the bad bits!

I also hope this blog can help others who might have suffered an injury, illness or even something more severe and this will encourage them and maybe join me in running 2012 miles in 2012.