Rachel- Training For My First Half Marathon

So for those who don’t know yet I am working towards the Castle Howard Half Marathon on 21st July 2019. I thought I would share with everyone my journey so far regarding my training, thoughts, feelings and barriers both physically and mentally…Deciding to do a Half Marathon was a hard choice for me, i’ve always quite liked running but only short distance so I knew this would definitely put my body and mind to a challenge.

Last year my challenge was body building. It was a very hard process, which my hard work really paid off with at the end as I placed in many of my categories. It was a process which included lots of discipline, perfect nutrition and training regimes and from this I lost a lot of my social life, friends, it put quite a lot of strain on my psychical and mental health and also my bank account… haha. So this year I wanted something that gave me more freedom. Where I could still train hard but maintain a good social life, where I could go out for food/drinks without counting every single calorie. I also wanted something completely different. Something to put my body to the test, and help me to learn about new training techniques/methods.

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So how did I start my training?

Going too hard too soon can be a huge mistake when it comes to training long distance running. You automatically think that you need to achieve the maximum distance , or you basically think that you’ll never get there. Increasing distance too soon puts a lot of strain on the body. Your joints/muscles won’t be used to working for that prolonged period of time or your body becomes too fatigued and your technique falls out of place, and this is where you are at an increased risk of injury. Building up slowly, with a mixture of weight/plyometric training your body will slowly adapt, become stronger and fitter. I knew I had a solid 5k so I started off with just trying to increase the time of this first so that I was 100% comfortable with achieving this, and also working on a few hill intervals as I knew this was one of my weaknesses. Along side this I did continue to do a lot of heavy weight training on the legs. As I started to increase my distance a little to soon, around 7k in I found myself hitting a bit of a wall and my technique would fall out of place. With a little niggle/problem within the hamstrings and glutes, along side this I decided to take 2/3 weeks off, with a holiday in this period of time it allowed my body to rest and rebuild.

What did I change?

Everyone is different. Training methods work for some but not for others… So when I returned and began to run again I completely changed my way of training. Before I used to weight train on the lower body at least 3 times a week. I now only train twice with light weight and higher reps, focusing a lot on unilateral movements, glute activation and hip stability exercises. Once a week I will work on plyometric movements. At the end of the session I always make sure I perform a selection of core exercises ( woodchoppers, rollouts, Pall of Press, torso twists) and stretch/foam roll to maintain joint/muscle movement and condition. I now only run one long distance run a week and any other cardiovascular training will be performed on a bike to decrease impact to allow muscle/joint recovery.

Running long distance can hugely be down to a lot of mental barriers during the process. The term ‘hitting the wall’ is very much a thing which I have found during my training. The first month or so was such a struggle, but with practising mindfulness, and relaxation techniques to perform during the run, the past few weeks have been so much easier. Allowing the body to relax and enjoy the present moment rather than thinking of the finish line makes such a difference!

With just over a month to go its a matter of staying consistent, looking after my body and enjoying each step of the process!

I will write a few blogs along the way to update with my progress and hurdles I meet regarding training, injuries, or mental barriers.

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I am also raising money along the way for Macmillan. An amazing charity providing help and support with those suffering from cancer. Below is a link to my Just Giving page where any donations to Macmillan would be very appreciated!

If you would like any help with your training of any kind do not hesitate to chat to me down here at the studio

Rachel x