1) Pacing is so important. Too many times I have gone out too fast and paid for it in the end. It happened on my long run this weekend just gone. It CANNOT happen at Gold Coast in 2 weeks! Start (relatively) slow, finish fast. Start (too) fast, finish DYING!
2) You have to pick the right people to run with. If you want to get faster, run with people who are faster than you.
3) Doing long runs alone is actually OK! It really shows you what you are capable of – and if you’re going to be running a marathon essentially on your own, it’s good practice getting used to your own company!
4) Speed training really works! It hurts, but it works! I wish I’d started sooner but I have got in 4 weekly sessions. I did 4 x 1000m twice, 3 weeks apart. My average pace improved by 6 seconds per km. And hopefully that’s only just the beginning!
5) Doing long runs on Saturday rather than Sunday is great, and I don’t have to sacrifice my parkrun to do it! Consider parkrun a warmup, then get out there and do the long run, and get a bonus recovery day! Plus, in winter, you don’t have to deal with the chilly arse o’clock starts!
6) It is impossible to go for a long run on a weekend in Adelaide without seeing at least one person you know!
7) Sorry to the anti-sugar people but a post-run Coke is the absolute BEST!
8) If you can’t run, volunteer. It is SO much fun! Even more fun if you dress up! I volunteered at a trail race this weekend – running it would have been a recipe for disaster and I was more than happy to see everyone’s faces (smiling or otherwise) at the finish line!
9) I am a little dubious about the effect of compression garments on performance, but I am a recent convert to using them for recovery. After a long run or race I sleep in them – it definitely helps!
10) Other than setting your own pace, another advantage of solo long runs is that you can pick your own route. Lately I have been favouring the coast – not only is it pretty, but you can run continuously without those pesky traffic stops that ruin your rhythm. It gives me great confidence to know I can run 36-38km nonstop – up until 2 weeks ago I had never done that outside of an actual marathon!
11) Finishing a long run at the beach is the BEST. If it’s warm enough a post-run recovery dip is only a few steps away – just make sure you keep a pair of thongs (jandals or flip flops if you’re not from Australia!) and a towel in your car!
12) One downside of coastal runs is the possibility of a headwind. Conversely, you might get a tailwind and that makes you feel amazing! (Frequently, on an out-and-back run, you get a bit of both.)
13) Even if you’re in Dyingsville, you can ALWAYS find a few extra legs when you can see or hear the finish line. I experienced this in the last km of UTA100 while ascending the 951 steps. I experienced it again on my last long run – I had gone out a bit too fast and paid for it at the end, but the sight of the surf club and the thought of that icy cold Coke gave me the boost I needed!
14) Long runs make you hungry for DAYS afterwards! Eat ALL OF THE FOOD!
15) I find it feels easier, towards the end of a long run or a race, to think about how much further I have to go in terms of time rather than distance. For example, even 4km sometimes can feel like it will take an eternity. At 5 min/km pace, I can tell myself “I’ll be knocking back a Coke within 20 minutes” and somehow that is MUCH less daunting!
16) High fiving kids on the sidelines during a race gives you a huge boost. I don’t feel like I’ve earned my race bling if I haven’t high fived at least one kid!
17) While I loved playing soccer for 5 seasons, the year I decided to put my boots on ice indefinitely was the year my running really started to improve. I loved the social side of team sport but I’ve found that running is just as, if not more social!
18) Further to #17, the post-run ritual of coffee is a lot healthier than the post-soccer ritual of a few cheeky ciders!
19) If you hang out with runners for long enough you will end up doing things you never thought you would! Like marathons and ultramarathons! And you’ll hear about all these other events that you just have to do – who said running was a cheap sport? THEY LIED!
20) The running community is just awesome. That includes people I’ve met through road running, trail running and parkrun, as well as people I’ve connected with via social media (some of whom I have met in person, and others I hope to meet in future) and via this very blog. People are so supportive of each other – even running friends who are legit elite athletes always have time to support the ‘little guys’. It is an incredible community to be part of!