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How to prepare for your first half marathon

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When you sign up for a long distance run, especially a half marathon, you have a responsibility to judge if you are medically fit to do so. For those who are more experienced at running baths than running the road but think it is possible to achieve the goal of finishing a half marathon, which is just over 13 miles / 21 km in distance, a little guidance might make this possible. You should be able to run eight miles comfortably one month before the race so you need to start preparation around three months before the half marathon if you are beginning from the sofa position!
What you'll need: 
running shoes (one size too big)
non-blister socks
T-shirt (bright gets recognised in a crowd!)
vasoline (for feet - and nipples - no seriously!)
The good news - no need to run every day. You need to let your muscles rest after a practice run so every other day or three times a week is good. Start off by getting comfortable with three mile runs. Don't go too fast - run so that you can talk at the same time if needed. Drink before hand - dehydration is the biggest cause of problems from muscles straining to fainting. Run with someone if possible. You can cross-train is you are serious - it's best to work on upper body strength in the in-between days.
When you are comfortable with three miles distance try a bigger run once a week, stretch it to four or five miles. About a month before the race-day - you should try out an eight mile run. When you do this carry water and a telephone with you and make sure you know the route and have told someone what you are doing.
You should reach a stage about a month before the race where you are confident with your running ability. Note: What you consume will affect your running performance. Drinking alcohol a day before a big run or the race is not a good idea. Carbohydrates will give you a measured energy release - pasta parties are pretty standard the day before big races.
On the week before the race - early on - run a three mile distance and then relax. Give your body a much needed rest before the big event so the muscles are not overworked. Give yourself at least three days off before the race day.
On the big day - try and get some sleep the night before, eat three hours before the start and drink water. You will need saftey pins to attach your race number to your T shirt and you may need to fasten a race-timing chip to your shoe laces - but this should all be explained in the race-pack you should be provided after registration. Don't run too quickly at the start if it's your first race - and you will succeed. Good luck!
Running is the most convenient form of exercise to fit into a busy life - you don't need to join a club or worry about a time to be somewhere. You do need determination but nearly anyone can do it and the more you do the better you get. It makes you slimmer, healthier and they give you medals at most registered events!
Drink fluid on the day - sip during the race.
Get to the race with time to spare - it can be crowded and there are queues for the toilets.
Write any medical problems on the back of your race number.
Follow the advice of stewards at the race.
Cut your toenails the day before the race and vasoline your feet!
Do not run if you are ill on the day - even if this means letting a charity down
Most half marathons are very crowded...
Don't run on a 'full' stomach.
Don't take off your race chip until you have passed the finish line.


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