This year, a contingent from LeftLion will be running the half marathon for our first time in Nottingham, and while we do have a few runs under our belts, we’d like to do ourselves proud on our home turf. So we’ve been asking around for top tips on how drag ourselves over the finishing line in a fairly respectable time.
And who better to take advice from than last year’s overall winner, Emily Waugh? Amateur runner Emily was a surprise victor last September, and after her podium finish and a few deep breaths, she gave a few pointers for taking on the notoriously tough course…
Buddy up with a running partner
“To any amateur runners, I would say find yourself a friend or training partner to enter a race with. The event requires you to train for the distance and this is a whole lot more fun with company. Days when you don’t feel motivated to get your trainers on, having someone to meet up with and share your session really helps.”
Have a good recce around
“View the finish area before you start. I didn’t do this, so I actually sprinted to what I thought was the finish line and stopped, only to discover that I had reached the full marathon finish line instead of the half marathon one, which was another 600m away. Having said that I was wearing my GPS watch, so I didn’t really have any excuse for making this mistake, oops!”
Take hills in your stride
“Around the 5k mark, you hit the biggest hill of the race – 80m max elevation. Try to tactic this calmly, take it steady and don’t get too discouraged by the sudden burn in your legs and lungs this early on, as it’s followed by an equally steep downhill, which if taken easily gives you some chance to recover.
It’s important not to fully exert yourself on the hills because you can make up for lost time running down them and during the flatter sections. If you burn yourself out too early, you will suffer for the rest of the race. When running downhill I would aim to run relaxed, focusing on keeping your form strong to reduce the chances of any injuries, especially with tired legs.”
Get kitted out for the weather
"I would recommend to check the weather and make kit and hydration decisions based on this. With the race being in September, the weather is a little unpredictable and it could affect how you need to prepare for it. Being comfortable in what you race in has a lot to do with how well you will perform.”
Eat well before and after
“On the eve of the race I would have a meal that I’m used to having before a long-distance run and I would never eat anything new that I wasn’t familiar with. On the morning of the race I always have porridge, for a half marathon you need the extra fuel, so I would add a banana and lots of coffee. During the race it’s a good idea to take on a gel or some sports drink.
“Afterwards I like to think that I will stuff my face with unhealthy treats as a reward, but I often feel very nauseous so I quickly drank a recovery shake. I tend to crave fruit until the nausea passes and then you'll find me at the cake stand.”
“The atmosphere on the course was incredible, especially around Wollaton Park where the additional support gave me that extra boost to push me up the hill. The course loops back on itself a couple of times, meaning you get added support from the runners on the other side of the road.
“There's nothing more inspiring than being able to see other runners challenging and enjoying themselves. I received a lot of cheers from fellow runners showing great sportsmanship, which really highlights how fantastic and inclusive the whole event was.”
The Ikano Bank Robin Hood Marathon Events take place on Saturday 29 (Mile Challenge) and Sunday 30 September 2018 (Half Marathon, Mini Marathon and Corporate Challenge). Find more information and sign up at the website below.
Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon website