“10 Issues I Learnt Operating My First Half Marathon”

Sharing her suggestions and methods, Content material and Artistic Designer, Issy, ran her first-ever half marathon due to Hoka. The Hackney Half hosted a report variety of 25,000 runners which introduced 1000’s of individuals to first rate to East London to point out their assist. Following rigorous coaching within the lead-up, Issy reveals all the pieces she learnt, plus the issues that made race day run easily!

Comply with a coaching plan

It’s all effectively and good simply going out and working, however in terms of coaching for a race, it’s essential have a correct programme in place. Finally, it’s about regularly build up your distance however there are different coaching modalities that may be interspersed to advance your working. Intervals, tempo runs, simple runs and lengthy runs are added into the combination to map a strategic programme that’s going to get to ready to race day! A superb software to assist with that is Runna, nominated because the #1 rated working app for good motive. Providing customisable working plans, the app is an accessible and reasonably priced technique to observe a programme created by top-class working coaches. One other essential a part of a programme is the taper within the week main as much as race day, Runna will embrace the taper into the plan so you recognize when its time to begin firming it down.

Gasoline is essential

I’ve at all times been somebody that trains very first thing within the morning on an empty abdomen, however as I received into my half-marathon coaching I shortly realised that gasoline within the tank is important if you’re racking up the miles. In a single day oats are my go-to pre-run gasoline, the sluggish power launch from the carbs retains me going for ages. I keep away from espresso in any respect prices (it provides me the jitters) however I by no means go with out Innermost’s Vitality Booster earlier than a run, it’s a clear pre-workout with added BCAAs…aka rocket gasoline! On my longer runs, I exploit power gels, one thing I used to be utterly new to and a bit of apprehensive about. I did my analysis and noticed tons of runners raving about Maurten gels over on Instagram and Tiktok. Not like different gels which might be sure with sugary syrups, these gels are made up of a biopolymer matrix which is unbelievable for offering power and incorporates no added colourants, preservatives or flavours. After I noticed that Eliud Kipchoge is a fan, I ordered a field, and boy oh boy did they ship. Throughout my half, I informed two gels, one at 7km and the opposite at 14km. I are inclined to ingest the gel over a while to let it settle in my abdomen, somewhat than slurping up the whole thing in a single gulp. They’re no hassle to carry as you run round, and this fashion you keep away from getting a sew. They offer me a large burst of power and likewise construction my run, it felt like a mile level attending to my closing gel and gave me that push I wanted.

Relaxation up

You’ve heard it earlier than, and I’ll say it once more. Relaxation and restoration can be your greatest good friend all through coaching. My schedule throughout the week varies, some days I’m up at 5:15am and others I can lie till 8am. I shortly learnt that there was little to no level working on the times I used to be having much less sleep. My efficiency was poor and the runs have been unenjoyable. Getting in at the very least 8 hours is important on long-run days. I usually aimed for 9 hours of sleep earlier than my future day (as soon as per week) which is a luxurious I do know not everybody has, however even should you’re not truly sleeping, attempt to relaxation! 


A totally, structured warm-up is just not solely going that can assist you carry out higher, but in addition assist keep harm free. The nice and cozy-up routine I developed over my coaching interval adopted as so-

  • 5 minutes mobility drills- flowing actions to limber up (make sure to embrace ankle mobility)
  • 5 minutes glute activations – Use a resistance band to change in your glutes to keep away from ache within the knees, hips and decrease again when working
  • 5 minutes dynamic movement- explosive drills to get the guts charge up and prep the physique


You lose plenty of water if you run, so hydrating pre and post-workout is tremendous essential…mainly, you wish to be very conscious of how a lot water your drink via the entire of your coaching. After I say pre-workout, I don’t imply simply earlier than you set off, you’ll be looking for the primary rest room en route should you drink numerous water earlier than your run. You wish to be hydrating within the lead-up to your runs somewhat than instantly prior. I used to be making a acutely aware effort to eat about 3 litres of water a day within the week main as much as race day, particularly because the forecast was set for round 22 levels and pure sunshine. In my coaching, I didn’t run with water because the gels do present hydration and it was by no means very hot or sunny throughout this time BUT that mentioned working with water is unquestionably an excellent factor for lots of runners. Get your self a Camelbak hydration vest for comfort! Most race occasions present hydration stations on the route which I made full use of throughout my half marathon, I seize 3 cups which I took a small swig from on the course and it actually revived me! Make sure you examine what you seize although, I made the error of choosing up an power drink by chance, which after all spilt throughout me as a drink would if you’re consuming whereas working…my arm was then all sticky for the rest of the race which was very disagreeable!


It goes with out saying that good equipment is a should. Go for running-specific gear over regular fitness center equipment. There’s no ‘one measurement suits all’ in terms of trainers, in additional methods than one. Our biomechanics are uniquely particular person, and the easiest way to search out the shoe with the correct tread, cushioning and assist is to do sample evaluation (you may get these accomplished at most first rate working shops) or in case you have a tough concept of whether or not you’re an overpronator or an underpronator, search for footwear which might be particularly designed for this. I ran my half marathon within the Hoka Bondi 8’s which have been each snug, supportive and responsive. Hoka’s web site provides you a rundown of the shoe in addition to tech specifics with each nano element defined from the heel-to-toe drop to the spring measurement. Go for correct working socks to keep away from blisters as effectively! By way of clothes, I ran in Lululemon Wunder Prepare Excessive-Rise Quick with Pockets 8″ because the size is right to keep away from chaffing however will nonetheless maintain you cool they usually even have two facet pockets for straightforward entry to gels, telephone, and many others! A high-impact bra is essential for apparent causes, particularly in case you have greater boobs, the Lululemon Excessive Help Vitality Bra is a winner. I went for a light-weight, breeze Hoka Quick Sleeve Prime which is moisture-wicking and has an underarm gusset to keep away from armpit chaffing. One other high tip is to run with a hat if it’s scorching, SPF is prone to sweat off so the hat will maintain you protected and does an amazing job of stopping sweat out of your head trickling down your brow, likewise, if it’s raining they maintain your imaginative and prescient clear.

Test the course

There are lots of of races that happen throughout the UK, so select your course properly! I might keep away from something that entails laps, the repetition tends to get very boring. One other aspect to overview earlier than reserving a race is the elevation. A hilly route is not any simple feat, some are up for the problem, others not, simply be sure you know what you’re getting your self into. Boston Marathon is taken into account some of the difficult races, should you’ve conquered it, my hat goes off to you! I did the Hackney Half which had an elevation acquire of 65m which isn’t too unhealthy. There was one hilly in the direction of the very finish that was killer however bar that, it was fairly easy crusing.


Having family and friends dotted all through the course gave me an indescribable increase! I used to be fortunate sufficient to identify my nearest and dearest at three totally different factors at round 4 miles, 12 miles and on the ultimate stretch at 13 miles. My brother popped up waving at 12 miles as a complete shock (he lives in Newcastle), I actually wanted a surge of power at this level and this spurred me on and even lowered my cut up for the ultimate km’s, I even shed just a few tears in utter disbelief! One other wonderful factor my family and friends determined to do was to unfold out down the ultimate stretch, so for round 200m I used to be cheered on to get me over the end line…it was an unforgettable second! Should you don’t have family and friends coming to assist you, be sure you have your identify displayed in your high, that approach individuals might cheer out your identify on route. Additionally attempt to guide a race that has an excellent environment, the Hackney Half is notoriously nice for this with 1000’s lining the streets to assist! After all, the London Marathon is the top of UK races however I’ve additionally heard nice issues concerning the London Landmarks Half, the Royal Parks Half and the Nice North Run!

Motivating tunes

I at all times have and at all times will hearken to music after I run. It retains me motivated and provides an unbelievable ‘runners excessive’ when an excellent music strikes on the good second! I go for high-BPM songs that allow me to hit the beat with each stride, it actually remodeled my tempo as I used to be so in time with the music. Spotify is full of excessive BPM playlists to hearken to, usually drum and bass music has a quick tempo that works effectively.

Depart loads of time

Get to your occasion with numerous time to spare as something might occur and there’s nothing worse than getting flustered earlier than an enormous race, or worse, lacking the occasion you’ve spent months prepping for. Think about all of the issues that might probably go improper, transport hyperlinks, rest room and bag drop queues, highway closures, and congestion stepping into the beginning place. I had main points with the overground attempting to get to Hackney Marshes, all of the trains have been filled with runners sardined in, so I tried to guide an Uber which was a waste of time as the encircling roads have been closed. I lastly resorted to using a HumanForest E-Bike, what a godsend they’re!

Keep optimistic

The ultimate tip that I’m going to share is to remain optimistic, all through your coaching and all through race day! I discovered reciting mantras very inspiring, as tacky as it could sound, these are a few of my favourites that received me via the tough patches-

  • Nice issues come from stepping out of your consolation zone
  • You’re able to wonderful issues
  • That is robust, however so are  you

Additionally, observe that not each single run will go as deliberate, some days can be more durable than others, typically you push via and get the miles accomplished, others you flip round a go residence…and that’s okay. An important factor is to reset and go once more when you possibly can, don’t surrender when the going will get robust as a result of as mentioned above, nice issues come from stepping out of your consolation zone.


It’s tempting to take a seat or lay down instantly after you run however strive to withstand and gently stroll it out to chill down. As soon as your coronary heart charge has regularly decreased, perform a sequence of stretching to keep away from being stiff the next day. It’s essential to notice that it is rather essential all through coaching in addition to, so you possibly can stick with your programme with out experiencing horrific DOMs! As soon as the large race is over, take a second to let all of it sink in, the onerous work is over and the endorphins can be flying excessive! I soothed my problematic knee by rubbing within the PureSport CBD Muscle & Joint Balm within the days following, in addition to slathering my (worst-for-wear) ft within the Margaret Dabbs Foot Hygiene Cream in an try to revive the pores and skin.

phrases by Isabelle Shury