Advice from six-time marathon runner, and Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster, currently training for the Lloyds TSB Cardiff half marathon
Sky Sports News presenter and six- time marathon runner Charlie Webster is currently training for the Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half Marathon this autumn - and is aiming to beat her personal best of 1:36.
If you're currently planning to run a half-marathon, her top 10 tips could help:
Tip 1: Use a training plan and train It may sound obvious, but train and plan. Add your mileage bit by bit. So many people don't follow a training plan and then get to the day and really struggle or do themselves an injury. I always follow a training plan - then I can be confident knowing that I have prepared.
Find a training plan - whatever the distance
Tip 2: Don't just run Cross-training is really important. I do boxing, circuits and weights which really makes a difference to my running performance. Do sports that you love, because skills always translate. Biking, swimming or weight training will make you a faster, stronger runner and help prevent injury.
Try our calorie-burning, confidence-boosting boxing workout
Tip 3: Run in different locations I always vary the routes I run so that my body doesn't get used to it and my mind doesn't get bored. Don't run on a treadmill - you aren't doing the race on a treadmill, so why train on one? Plus it's much more interesting to be outside, breathing in fresh air.
Ditch the gym for the great outdoors
Tip 4: Drink water Again this may sound obvious, but if you are dehydrated your performance will suffer and running will hurt so much more. This is not just for race day but in training as well. A fluid loss of 2% is said to decrease performance by 10-20%.
Tip 5: Eat the right things Focus on chicken, wholegrains, vegetables, fish and eat carbs otherwise you'll have no energy. Remember you are burning them so don't worry you will not put weight on especially if you eat wholegrain breads, rice and pastas. Don't be alarmed if you are eating more either, it's normal, my appetite is huge when I'm training for a half marathon.
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Tip 6: Make sure you have the right trainers This is actually one of the most important things. I once ran in some trainers that didn't suit my style or my training for just a week and I got shin splints which I suffered for for about six months. All good running shops will help you - they don't have to be expensive trainers, just what is good for you.
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Tip 7: Stretch This is where I can be a bit naughty. I always try and squeeze my training in and don't leave enough time to stretch. It helps your recovery and you will thank yourself when it comes to your next run.
Best warm-up stretches for runners
Best cool-down stretches for runners
Tip 8: On the day: finish! I've seen so many runners in the past, go out hard, push for a time and then drop out. You should never get to a point where you drop out unless you're injured. Just slow down, take a deep breath, shake your arms (this relaxes you) and then push on.
Tip 9: Never stop This was actually my number one tip for a full marathon but it's exactly the same for a half. I guarantee it will hurt so much more when you stop during the race and it will be so much harder to complete. You immediately seize up and lactic acid kicks in - that's the thing that makes your muscles hurt. Why make things harder for yourself? Just slow down or walk.
Tip 10: Smile Enjoy the run and smile. Once you've trained, the rest all comes down to your mind.
Fancy running the Lloyds TSB Cardiff Half marathon on October 16, 2011? Entries are still open, although expected to sell out by the end of August. Registrations officially close 14 September, at 12pm.
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