Official Training Partner of the WOKINGHAM HALF MARATHON 2020

Getting Started

- As you approach your Wokingham Half Marathon training, don’t overlook what’s key to success!

 I have prepared formal 12-week training plans which commence at the start of December, (further details below) but there is plenty that you can do straightaway to tackle your training with confidence.

 Identifying your goals 

When we sign up for a race, in all likelihood we have a clear vision of our goals and our purpose for committing to this challenge.  BE CERTAIN ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE GOALS!! 

The list below won’t be exhaustive, but it’s my starter for 10:   

  • Running for charity – this may be your first race for a chosen cause, or one of many.  It’s how I got started 8 years ago and is obviously extremely emotive and will certainly be a powerful driver to keep your training on track and steer you through race day. 
  • Mental health and wellbeing – I’ve met runners who started running to improve their mental health, and the rest agree that running is key to maintaining it.  Welcome aboard.  You’re in the right place here! Physical health and wellbeing – wow, this covers a range!  Runners of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities will power their way through this race, safe in the knowledge that this achievement has improved their physical fitness and wellbeing, and can be key to preventing long-term and life-limiting illness. Pretty damn good, hey? 
  • Weight management – I’ve met runners who want to lose weight, maintain weight and gain weight; whatever, they want a healthy relationship with food and training for a race gives them the focus to fuel nutritionally and be more conscious about healthy food choices. 
  • Self-esteem – I think that there are few people who don’t need a boost, an outlet, something else beyond family, work and friends that is their preserve, their very own achievement bubble! Welcome; if you’re running to say “I did that!!” you have also found your “home”! 
  • Running improvement and Personal Bests – in the USA they call it a Personal Record.  I prefer “best”.  What’s more elating than being the best you have ever been over a distance?  You’re not challenging anyone else but yourself.  It may be a statistic or a “record”, but being YOUR best is the best feeling ever; there’s nothing quite like that! 
  • Building towards a future target – the Wokingham Half Marathon may be a build race for you, for example working towards a longer distance such as a marathon or an ultra, or a triathlon.  It’s the perfect opportunity, early in the year, to check out your performance (and if you’re working towards your first full marathon this Spring, I would be delighted to assist your achievement!) 

 You may find that you have a range of these, or that some are more important than others at different times.  You’ll need to remember them during training and the race itself (often enough, I’ve found new ones appear mid-race, but that’s an evolving story and perhaps one I’ll come back to on another day!)  Committing to training for this race is demanding; acknowledge what is important to you and keep that central as you address the hard work. 

Training Schedule 

Having committed to this great challenge, it’s down to the nitty-gritty and hard graft of training.  I’m not going into detail here (you can request a training plan) but my advice is to be clear on the time each week you can and will devote to your training, THEN GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE!  Invite your family, friends and colleagues to buy-in to your goal, and they will surely rally round and help you to create the space you need to achieve your dream. 

My advice? Set aside at least 3 slots per week (generally speaking the same slots) and stick with them.  Trying to shunt stuff around becomes complex and takes up more thinking time than getting out and getting the run done!  If you have time to devote a 4thslot, for example to some Strength and Conditioning, all the better.  But this can be done at home too.  Further details are available on this website. 

Kit & Shoes

 It may go without saying but make sure you have correctly fitting shoes (running shoes recommended by a specialist store which take account of your running gait, over-pronation / under-pronation of your feet) and that you replace these every 300-400 miles (otherwise you will risk injury).  For winter running you will also want to consider warm clothing such as leggings, long-sleeves, a waterproof jacket, hat, cap, gloves (of different types / thickness if you can afford it – an ideal Christmas present!) and high-viz kit and lights for dark mornings and evenings.  Find socks that don’t cause blisters!  And I advise against wearing new fluffy ones for a race or longer runs; wash and wear a few times first (I ran the Loch Ness Marathon 5 years ago with a blister caused by wearing brand new socks to the Maidenhead Half …) 

Training Buddies & Support Network 

Some runners embrace the solitude of training but, for others, buddying up is key.  There are lots of ways of finding friends to run with, particularly for the key long run each week.  Let me know if I can help to suggest a buddy for you.  Just as important, tap into your support network.  This may comprise help with looking after children, enabling you to train or devote the time on race day, or for moral support.  A supportive environment will make the road to success way smoother! 

The all-important 12-week training plan I can provide a running training plan for you and have 3 readily available: 

First time half marathoners – building from running 

5k Runners building to their first Half Marathon from running 

10k Half Marathon improvers – if you have already run one or a few half marathons, this will be the one for you  Details on strength and conditioning programmes for runners are also available. 

For any questions on the above, or your other Wokingham Half preparation, please contact me on:– I look forward to preparing for 23 February with you!