Eamonn Martin's Training Advice
Winner of Hastings Half Marathon 1993 & London Marathon 1993
1) Before commencing on a training schedule remember if you haven't exercised for a long while get clearance (a check up) from your doctor. Always progress your training gradually.
Don't be too adventurous on your early training runs - nearly everyone does and ends up with stiff muscles, very tired and disillusioned! Take it steady!
2) Training shoes are the most important item of kit. It is important to have shoes that are going to help you in your running. Every stride you take when running exerts a load three times your body weight through your feet and you only have your shoes to protect you! If you are not sure what shoes to choose then visit your local specialist running store. (It is always a good tip to take your old running/walking shoes with you for them to inspect the heel/sole wear pattern.
3) Run for time rather than distance! The thinking behind this is that if you run a set distance or course human nature tries to beat the previous time for that course, introducing an unnecessary racing element into your training! This does not happen if you run for time, plus it is easier to add on minutes to a run rather than miles!
4) Try to plan the times that you run so that they fit into your weekly lifestyle. This way you are far more likely to be consistent in your training and won't feel stressed up because you are missing a run.
5) Be progressive with your training. That is, you want to improve and do more but sometimes you have to stabilise for a couple of weeks before you are able to undergo the next advance. This also allows the body time to adapt to the new workload.
6) Don't be afraid to walk during your training. Walking can act as a recovery and actually help you in your overall training. After a couple of minutes of walking you will probably feel recovered and ready to run again. Also, my visit to the Hastings area it reminded me of how hilly it is. To the novice this can be very off-putting when going for a run. If you find hills hard to run up then walk! (or combine walking and running).
7) If possible, try to find someone to run with who is of similar ability. You will find it very rewarding and time will pass much quicker. Remember also that you should be able to talk while you are running, otherwise you are going too fast.
8) Remember it is important to get into the practice of drinking liquids during your normal day to keep yourself hydrated. Fruit juices, diluted drinks and water are recommended. Also, a small drink before you run will help. Experimenting will tell you how much and how soon before a run you can drink. Don't forget in the latter part of your preparation it will be March and the temperatures could possibly be warm (a pleasant spring temperature), which will necessitate fluid intake. It is still possible to dehydrate in cold weather, especially with plenty of clothing on to keep out the elements.
9) Remember to dress properly for the conditions of the day! A cold day requires more clothing and possibly a pair of gloves or hat. On a warmer day you can dispense with some of the clothing - remember it is very uncomfortable running on a warm day in too much clothing. It is also a myth that you lose more weight like this - all you lose is fluid that goes straight back in the system when you next drink!
10) 2 Days before Race
Ensure that you check all your kit. Clothing should be washed and clean, not new! Under no circumstances must you wear new shoes on the day of the race! The ones that have got you through your training will be perfectly adequate. All your training is now done and it is time to ensure that you have everything ready for the big day, no last minute panic. Race Day
Don't panic - go off at your own pace. It is better to be conservative early on. Drink fluids, which you should have experimented with by now, but little and often is the best method of drinking.
Above all else, take in the atmosphere and enjoy your day!