Post the euphoria of finishing my first half marathon, I had written a note on Facebook about 10 things I learnt from my first Half Marathon. As I finished my second HM of the year yesterday, some of the learnings seem very relevant while others a little amatuer-ish. So here’s another list – this is hopefully a little more informed and derives from lessons learnt after injuries and a lot of reading up on running:
- Having a running strategy is immensely important – my first HM was a wild dash in first hour resulting in me running out of fuel by mile 9. It’s very tempting to chase after people in the first 5 miles but if you just remain patient, you will soon be passing all these people at mile 10-11-12 or earlier. Know your pace, set realistic targets and run according to them
- Run your own race – I read somewhere that you need to run your own race and not someone else’s – it’s very easy to put pain behind you and move out of your target pace but it is also the surest way to sustain injuries. Be very aware of where and how badly you are hurting and run accordingly
- Be patient with your injuries – Post the Mumbai HM, I got tendinitis around the ankle. I rested for a week, started running again and aggravated the injury – had to sit out for 6 weeks because of that. Listening to one’s body is extremely important
- Diet – Getting and staying fit was the primary reason I started running – so burning 600 kcals and then gorging on biryani and gulab-jamun is not a smart strategy! There is a lot of stuff on nutrition available online – read and be disciplined about your diet. It’s tougher than waking up at 5:30 am for a run but the only way you can achieve your goal of staying fit
- Training is obviously very important – for two reasons. One, it prepares your body to face upto the challenges of running 13 miles at a stretch while minimizing injuries (I say minimize because I have been unfortunate enough to get some strain or the other after both HMs). Second, it gives you mental strength to believe that you can complete 13.1 miles without stopping – the mind is very fickle during a long run and can make you believe that you can or canNOT complete the race! Hence it’s critical to have your mind believe from the start that you’ve been there, done that and this is just another practice run!
- Relax and Enjoy your run – My first HM was a tense affair with the thought of completion constantly playing in my mind. The second was a lot more relaxed, soaking in the festive atmosphere and the surroundings. I enjoyed it a lot more and consequently could run without the fear of failure haunting my mind