As the race season for 2016 picks up, it will be a time for many of us to experience our ‘very first’. Whether it is your first 5k, 10k, half, full or ultra marathon, we will no doubt all go through the same anticipation, worry or even dread.
No matter what you have planned over the next few months, it’s always good to put things in perspective. Ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ Ultimately your answer should be that you are doing it for yourself. This time last year I signed up for my very first 10k - I had never even run a 5k without having to walk and still didn’t really consider myself a runner. I spent the weeks leading up to race day stressing over being at the back, not being able to finish, would I be too hot or too cold, should I run with water or would I make it to the water stations?
Last year’s club Breakfast Run was to be the longest run I would manage before the big day and not being one for running on my own and not really knowing many people at the club back then, I stuck to the regular Tuesday runs in the hope that I would have done enough to at least get a nice shiny bit of bling at the end.
As fate would have it I spent the week of the race not being able to get out of bed due to a virus. It was touch and go if I would even be well enough to run and the stress of having raised money for charity and thinking if I didn’t run I would have to pay everyone back for being a huge fraud meant I put myself under even more pressure to get well. I bought every superfood, herbal remedy and cold and flu medication I could get my hands on and slept away most of the days leading up to race day in the hope I would still be able to run. In the end I dragged myself out of bed on the morning of the race having convinced myself that as long as I could finish it wouldn’t matter how long I took. With the support of a fellow club member and a whole pack of tissues I was able to maintain a slow but steady pace and complete the race without even needing to walk.
Looking back on it now, having run endless races and slowly pushing myself to go a bit further and a bit quicker, I have learnt that no matter what you do to prepare yourself for the big day the most important thing is to enjoy it, soak up the support you are guaranteed to get along the way and never forget what you have achieved so far. Often, keeping positive will distract you from how tough it is, keeping you focused and if your head says you can do it your legs will have no choice but to keep going. I believe that no matter how far or how fast we go we are all runners and don’t forget to treat yourself to something for achieving what you set out to do!
LFR Vice Captain