Running a half marathon for the first time? Here’s what you need to know…
This week we sat down for a chat with Personal Trainer Patrick Meo to talk about his advice for those who are doing the Round the Bays Half Marathon for their first time.
Patrick Meo has been a personal trainer for the last 7 years. Sport and exercise have always played a big role in Patrick’s life, and he loves getting outdoors running. Patrick has completed 5 full marathons so far (Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga, Christchurch and the Gold Coast Marathon) with plans to do many more!
RTB: What would be your top three tips for someone who has never run a half marathon before?
Patrick: My top three tips would be:
1. Don’t overdo it the first few weeks of your training. Most importantly try and develop a habit of running 3 – 4 times per week. It does not matter how long or how fast you are running – just get out and run. That in itself is an achievement!
2. Sign up early, as this will keep you accountable! You may also want to tell friends and family that you are doing it – who knows, they may join you.
3. Be positive. Try and enjoy the process of running and working towards achieving your own personal goals. You will feel amazing at the finish line once completed!
RTB: How many weeks prior to the event would you recommend training?
Patrick: 6 – 8 weeks for the 10k and 10-12 weeks for the half marathon. This gives adequate time for your body to strengthen overall and you can slowly increase your distance week by week.
RTB: What should runners expect on the day?
Patrick: Race day is full of funny emotions. I would say most people (like myself!) will feel nervous, but also excited. By the end of the race you will feel amazing! My advice is to start the race at your given comfortable pace and try not to get caught up in too much excitement. As you settle into the race further, remain positive. If you ever feel yourself tiring, try and keep your eyes focused on landmarks in front of you. Once you pass given landmark, reset your eyes to the next landmark. Towards the end of the race, just enjoy it! You may be *slightly* exhausted but remember to celebrate! You made it to the finish!
RTB: Is there anything you would recommend a runner to get, such as equipment, to help them?
Patrick: For your first race, I personally wouldn’t bother with buying any fancy equipment like watches etc. Focus on enjoying the training and the race. Things that you can do to help you is to hydrate every 20-30 minutes. You will be perspiring (especially if Wellington turns on the weather in February!), so it is very important to hydrate as this will keep your body temperate cool and prevent overheating and exhaustion.
RTB: Let’s talk recovery. What are some key things runners can do before and after their race to promote a successful run and recovery?
Patrick: Make sure to eat some form of complex carbohydrates (for example, potatoes, oatmeal, rice) the day before and morning before a run. Complex carbs are great because they are a slow releasing source of energy, meaning they will help you run for longer! After your run, always static stretch (stretches that you hold in one position). Hold each stretch for 60 seconds. This will help muscles recover, so you can continue to run and train injury free.
RTB: And finally, what do you do to prepare for a marathon?
Patrick: Personally, I ensure I have completed the training program I have created in the lead up to the race. Not only does that make me feel physically ready to race, but it helps me feel mentally ready. I like to set myself small goals within my training program because sometimes the race seems ages away! They aren’t always big goals, sometimes they are as small as running an extra 5-10 minutes a week.