This weekend I will be running my first half marathon of the year – the Great North Run. A bit like the London Marathon, to me the Great North Run seems to be one of those iconic British races that’s almost a rite of passage to say you’ve run. And with both the London Marathon and the Great North Run, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to secure places through the ballot.
I’m excited to run such an iconic race. I’ve heard only good things about the race and in particular, the epic crowd support. I’ve been told that the route can be very congested, I think about 50,000 people take part each year, so I’m focussing on enjoying myself and having fun, rather than worrying about my time. I took this approach in the New York Marathon and to date it’s probably one of the best days of my life, and certainly my best marathon.
Another reason I’m taking the pressure off myself a bit time wise is because I know that honestly, my training hasn’t been the best it could be. I’ve nailed all but one of my long runs, which is the important thing, but any sort of speed work or shorter runs haven’t really been happening. I could make excuses but I won’t.
The best decision I made with my training was to join my local running club’s long distance runs. Even thought most weeks I really didn’t want to go, I still turned up every week. I think paying for it in advance made me feel like I needed to get my money’s worth out of it! It was great to run with a group of people and know that I didn’t need to think about the route. It also meant I was a lot better behaved as a runner, there was definitely a whole lot less walking than if I’d been on my own! Plus it was nice to get to know a new group of local women (the running club is ladies only), and share stories of races and running. In my local area there’s a lot of women who run, so it’s nice to feel like you’re part of something.
For me, as much as I would love to be a speedy runner, the main thing for me is taking part. At school I was the least sporty person in the class. I was the last to finish our annual horrific cross country run, regularly getting ‘sick notes’ for ballet lessons, and just generally dreaded the twice a week lessons of PE. Now, I get a bit of bling at the end of my runs, and who doesn’t love a bit of bling? I’m pretty sure if they’d have given out medals to everyone at school, just for taking part, I’d have enjoyed it a bit more!
If you’ve run the Great North Run before and have any last minute tips I’d love to hear them!