, , ,

“It’s time to start running”



“Who’s interested in doing the Hastings half-marathon?”


At 16 years old, I was a rugby and all round team sport fanatic, not to mention a despiser of “plodding along” distance running, so why on Earth would I be interested in running a half marathon?  For starters I was rubbish at cross-country, not to mention psychologically scarred by that tedious bog of a course around my old school grounds in North London.


With a modicum of incentive in trying to beat my best mate, (and a huge one to raise much needed funds for Motor Neurone disease) training began, and some months later with baggy t-shirt flying in the coastal breeze, rugby shorts, ill-fitting trainers and all, I completed my first half-marathon.


Fast forward 17 years and I am standing amongst a group of no more than a 100. Having been read the riot act by the events’ charismatic and somewhat psychotic organizer we all stood primed, and as he bid us good luck in a manner a kin to an army drill sergeant, the verbal gun went off to signal the start of the 2012 Caesars camp 50 mile ultra marathon.


Why run?

-The cardiovascular and other systemic benefits are well documented.  It aids blood flow and therefore oxygen delivery around the body thus improving heart and lung function and in turn managing blood pressure.

-It is an efficient method in burning calories and therefore aids blood sugar regulation and metabolic rate.

-Running is a weight bearing exercise and improves bone density, therefore helping to prevent osteoporosis.

-Good running form will aid all round body strength including lower limb and core.

-The euphoric “runners high” – http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/anatomyandphysiology/qt/Runners-High.htm

-The psychological gain of exercise is very personal. It gives us time to ourselves, time to think or more importantly NOT to think and to just be.



You don’t have to be Scott Jurek (who’s Scott Jurek??)  http://scottjurek.com/eatandrun/

You could be setting yourself a new challenge, whether its for weight loss and improving your fitness levels, a bet with a friend or another race in your already busy running diary. It is all relative. Whether you are attempting your first ultra marathon or your first run round the block, it’s YOUR challenge. It’s yours to endure and hopefully most importantly, enjoy. The following are my tips to getting yourself going:


  • Assess your start point and set yourself a goal.

Don’t worry if you’re walking a few minutes or indeed all of it to start with. Don’t be concerned about a walk-run strategy YOU’RE STILL MOVING and still ACHIEVING.


  • Prepare yourself and don’t look at that TV remote!

In other words on the day you are going for your run- set your kit out, so if you return home from a busy day at the office and every imaginable distraction is there, make a bee line for the kit, get it on and get outside! Once your out that front door, you’re on your way.


  • Hydrate and eat sensibly.

Obviously depending on personal needs and how long you’re going for will dictate this. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/nutrition/eating-and-training-how-to-time-it-right/250.html


  • Cross-trainers are for cross training!

In short, WEAR RUNNING SHOES. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or seasoned runner, the choice of shoe can be a minefield. Do not be lured into the minimalist shoe thinking that will instantly transform you into the ultimate barefoot runner, but in the same light don’t be sucked into the bells and whistles of the “shock absorbing, counter-over-pronator, so good it will run for you” supportive shoe. SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. We are all different and don’t fit into one model.


What are you waiting for?

If that gym membership card hasn’t been out of your wallet in the last few months because quite simply, gyms bore you to tears, get your kit on and get OUTSIDE. So what if it’s raining and cold, put more layers on and boost those vitamin D levels! Or in recent weeks get that hat on and apply sun cream! Cancel that membership and try something new. Sitting down is doing nothing for your back, metabolic rate, or your general health and well-being.


A wealth of advice and tips are out there, but most importantly and so fundamental to running and indeed any exercise is to ENJOY IT. Yes, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an element of hard slog to begin with, or a significant need of self-motivation but once you are in that cycle, and seeing the changes that you have achieved the levels of empowerment are limitless.


Where to now….

So with my first ultra marathon completed last October in a less than pacey 16hrs, and despite the winner lapping me twice, (fair play to that man, as I’ve never seen someone move so effortlessly over such un-yielding terrain) I am about to embark on number two. Hadrian’s wall beckons. The official race has been and gone so the 70 miles of the undulating route will be taken on with my fellow novice ultra running buddy alone. But with our own support team alongside handing out all that is necessary for such an epic adventure we will hopefully ENJOY and ENDURE. Not bad for a bloke who once hated running.



















































































0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *