The world's largest half-marathon, the Simplyhealth Great North Run, is attended by nearly 57,000 runners. While there is nothing anyone can do to physically get fit on Sunday (except to rest, to keep you fresh), there are ways to mentally prepare for the inevitable difficult situations. We asked for advice from Paul Noble, a runner who works with Simplyhealth, the title partner of the Great North Run.
Should runners expect hard spots while running a half-marathon?
Anticipating Hard Spots in a Race Planning your physical and mental strategies helps you get to your destination within your target time and yet in one go. Preparation is essential.
Personal, proven routines not only provide you with a solid plan on race day, but also increase your self-confidence, giving you a tremendous psychological boost. A good exercise plan with race-specific exercises ensures that you have the strength and endurance for your race. If you have a well-tested drinking and refueling plan and well-worn running equipment, you have not left anything to chance.
Inadequate training is a surefire way to prepare for a difficult race. At some point in the last third of the run, you'll hit a patch where you start fighting. If your training was not perfect, possibly due to lost time due to injury or other responsibilities, it is wise to lower your expectations on race day.
If you start slowly and focus on a sustained pace, you will reach the goal line without blowing up. Once you've adjusted your finish time, make sure your scheduled split times are realistic. Make a note of the times when you should reach certain milestones on the route. If your split times slip on this day, avoid the temptation to get faster in the race to recover lost time.
If you later try to do more training, you will feel dull rather than fresh and nervous. Be sure to reduce your training load in the last few weeks before the race so that you are full of beans at the start line.
What mistakes do people make in a race that can make it harder than necessary?
The number one mistake, which can have catastrophic consequences later in the race, is too fast. In 201
What can humans do? do to make difficult times as easy as possible?
First, remember that you are not alone. Many runners reach a point in their race where things are almost too difficult to handle, and to survive the hard times is a running racetrack . Remember your kilometer-long workouts, remember the drive and passion that brought you to this point, and take comfort from the runners in your area – your brothers and sisters all fight in the same fight.
Do a quick check in practice. Are you properly hydrated? Are you enough fueled? A few gummy bears from the crowd are not only a welcome moral enhancer, but also increase your energy level. What is your breathing and your body tension? Concentrate on breathing deeper and more relaxed, slowing down, and letting yourself go awhile until you feel better under control. Relax your shoulders and let your arms swing freely.
Many long distance runners practice a "yoga-on-the-move" routine in which they take stock of how each part of the body feels. This allows you to take a moment to consciously relax tired and stressed areas of your body.
When you are really in combat and your body feels like you are on your last legs, you have to switch to the much talked about strategy of mental perseverance. So many top athletes tell stories of races that were won with mental resilience. Using distraction and visualization techniques can help you finish the race without breakup.
Research has shown that distraction techniques – such as practicing simple mental arithmetic – can lead to a reduction in your workload Rate of perceived effort (how hard you think you are working). By distracting your mind from the tedious task, you can make your brain feel better.
On the other hand, visualization can partially distract your current state of mind through implanted positive scenarios. Imagine being tall and strong and approaching the goal with your personal theme in the background. Repeating a mantras like "fast, fit, fearless" for yourself will reinforce the effect.
Are there any signs that people should watch out for, rather than struggling through a tough piece?
It is important to recognize the signs that you have reached the end of your physical capacity. Blurred vision, listlessness and lack of coordination can lead to a serious breakdown and even signs of a medical emergency.
Always make sure you've filled out the section on medical history and medications on the back of your race number, just in case On race day, you're always in trouble.
Simplyhealth plans cover the cost of a range of health treatments, including physiotherapy, optometrists, dental visits, and more. For more information, visit simplyhealth.co.uk