Six Tips with Six Months To Go

This blog entry is from Hayden Shearman’s Stuff.co.nz blog, first published 30 April 2014.

Auckland’s biggest running event is only six months away. And, if you’re eyeing it up, now is the time to start making a few key steps towards that goal.

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Enter … Now! | Seriously, Auckland Marathon (particularly the half and quarter) is selling out as I type. You can always transfer the entry to a friend if you find you can’t race, so why not take advantage of the early bird price and guarantee your place on the start line?

Enter B-Races | While you’re online, jump over to www.runningcalendar.co.nz and book in some B-races that you can use as preparations Auckland. I’ll talk more about this in a future post, but essentially a B-race is about you preparing mentally, practically, and physically for the A-race. So if you’re doing Auckland full marathon, consider entering a couple of halves, one in July and another in early October.

Get Company | Six months is a long time to commit to anything, let alone regular self-inflicted punishment in the form of running. So find someone that you can complete the journey with. This might be some colleagues at work, an online social fitness site, a running club, but whoever it is make sure they’re going to be an on-going positive reinforcement to your great decision to get fitter by running this year.

Get Advice | New runners in particular can really benefit by having someone alongside who has already made the rookie mistakes and who understands the best way to reach your potential as a runner. This person could be a more experienced runner, it could be a running training book (there are plenty out there-Pete Pfitzinger has a great one for marathoners), or it could be a coach. There are a handful of us coaches around Auckland, so drop one of us a line, we don’t bite and coach runners of all abilities (you don’t have to be an experienced runner to have a coach).

Start Running | Six months is an ideal build up if you’re currently not running and are targeting the half or quarter marathons. So if this is you, strap on those trainers and get out there, gradually increasing your mileage week-by-week.

However, if you’re gunning for the marathon and you haven’t run a step in the last month, truth be told, you’ve probably already missed the boat. Sure, some people can manage it, but your chances of getting injured are very high when going from zero to marathon in half a year. Nine months is my minimum, but if you’re already running over 5k a few times a week you should be okay to gradually build from there.

Start Boasting About It | We all know that one of the main motivations of the modern runner is the ability to boast on social media about the 10k you just blasted out. But the other benefit of social media is accountability. If you put it out to your thousands of adoring Twitter followers that you’re running a marathon at the end of the year, you can guarantee that at least a couple of them will be checking in on your progress-makes for a good addition to your motivation arsenal.

Happy running.

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