Today I (Nikki Rees, Event Director for the ABP Southampton Marathon) have bitten the bullet and decided to sign up for a half marathon!
Whilst I have done a couple of half marathons before, training has always been less than perfect (injuries, an everlasting bout of the flu, and lack of motivation) so I’ve never run to the best of my potential, and it’s still a really daunting distance for me. However, I am determined to make this one different for several reasons, and here is how I’m going to do it:
1. Practice what you preach
I run a leisure company specializing in swim schools and sporting events – including our flagship event, the ABP Southampton Marathon. I run for fun, but this is usually sporadic and largely, I will take part in the odd 10k here and there, but I’m not very good at training and preparing for a race. Not this year. In 2020 I’m going to practice what I preach and choose my race, sign up, build a training plan, and stick to it as closely as possible. Today I’ve done all the above (including my first run in ages!) It felt tough already – today was pretty windy with gusts of up to 50mph in some places and boy did I feel it! But I’m pleased to say that today I have officially started my half marathon training.
2. Run for a reason
I’m ashamed to say I’ve never run for charity before. I’ve always felt like if I failed, I would be letting people down and didn’t want to add extra pressure on. But this time, I’ve decided to run for Prostate Cancer UK. At the time of writing this, it’s exactly 5 years since my dad went in for his life saving operation to get rid of his prostate cancer, and I’m so pleased to say that he is still cancer free today. I got emotional thinking about it, and whilst also doing some good, I think this may be the extra drive to help me get out on those cold January mornings in training!
3. Be held accountable
I’m going to write a blog post every so often to update on my training, and, more importantly, I hope this will hold me accountable to it! I’ll post links out on my LinkedIn and other socials, so keep an eye out for ridiculous Nikki anecdotes – I’ll be as honest as possible. This may not ever be read, but if I know the results of my training that week are heading out into the electronic stratosphere, then I’d better have some training to write about!
4. Use it to encourage others
Anyone want to run a half marathon with me?! I’m no doubt going to be talking about my training and how great running is non-stop, now that it’s going to be even more a part of my life. I’m hoping that this will quietly encourage others to throw on their running shoes and go for their own challenge, or even join me for a training run!
5. Do it for yourself too
I enjoy running, I’ve just never spent the time to make it a proper, regular part of my life. It’s not until I’ve made myself go out for a run, that I remember why I love it. Even in the middle of big gusts of wind today and cold biting through my fingers, I still was breathless at some of the beautiful sights Southampton had to offer – I actually paused to take a photo down by Weston Shore with the sun dancing over the water and yachts taking full advantage of the winds. Beautiful. Running (and cycling), I find are great excuses for me to spend time in the outdoors, getting away from the day to day and just focusing on my body and breathing. It revitalizes your soul and physically makes you feel far more limber and energized. I already can’t wait for my next run (short one to and from my group training gym session tomorrow, hooray!)
I hope this blog post will inspire some of you out there to book your next challenge; keep an eye out for more news on how the training is going, and if you’re feeling generous, then please do donate on my justgiving page