The Reigate Half Marathon challenges runners to take on a 13-mile course that goes from Woodhatch down to Horley, then back up to Skimmington and across to the centre of Reigate.
Many of the runners will already have injuries and ailments, many will have gait and pronation problems that won’t be helped by the wrong kind of running shoe. Many also will suffer injuries on the day that may manifest as problems later.
But if half marathon runners take care to follow these tips, injuries could be minimised.
Running tips for Reigate Half Marathon runners
Judge your pace and watch your footing
Run rhythmically and make sure your heel hits the floor first. Count your steps to keep an eye on your pace – your training should have helped you to work out what the optimal stride and pace are for you to cover the course without sprinting and slowing down.
Stay hydrated and fed
Drink regularly while you are running – even if you don’t think you are thirsty. By the time your body tells you it’s thirsty, you are already dehydrated. For a half marathon, you shouldn’t need anything other than water. About 60-90 minutes before running, have a sandwich and a sports drink, or milk and a muffin to give you some energy.
Eat straight after your run
Straight after you have run, a banana is an ideal snack because it has a high glycaemic index, which gives you an immediate boost of energy. When you get home, eat a meal that releases energy slowly, like brown rice.
Look after your blood cells
Each step while running causes damage to blood cells in the feet. Taking some multivitamins helps recovery. Boosting your iron is also a good idea. Eat dark meats, liver, fish, apricots, eggs or kidney beans.
Watch out for those blisters
The bane of the marathon runner – blisters can ruin the fun of the day. Blisters are caused by excessive friction so the right fit for your running shoe is the most important thing. The shoe should be bigger than your street shoe, because your feet swell when you run, but no more than half a size bigger. Wear socks made for running – not cotton. Choose Teflon or CoolMax instead.
If you develop a blister during the race, stop at a medical station and get it treated. They should be able to get you back in the race. Trying to run through it will end up being too uncomfortable.
Shoes are important
Don’t run in shoes that are old and worn, because they need to provide the proper support for the whole race. But don’t run in brand new shoes either. You need to wear in the shoes in order to make them half marathon ready.
Stretch properly before you run
Make sure you do your calf, hamstring, quads and glute stretches after training – the static technique is best. Before the run, stretch in a dynamic way to prepare the muscles for activity. If you have tight calves, try some small heel raises user the sick liner of the shoe.
Reigate Half Marathon links
Iain Johnston is running the Reigate Half Marathon. Here are some useful links for other companies taking part. (Links open in a new window)