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SportsAid alumnus Danny Crates shares some final words of wisdom in his latest marathon blog

Blog post   •   Mar 19, 2014 10:01 GMT

On Sunday 16th March I did my first ever half marathon. Not the best preparation after 6 weeks of being unable to run due to injury. I only started running on the Monday, six days prior to the half. So here is your 50/50 question. Did I, A) start at a stupid pace for the first 4 miles and die a horrible death. Or B) start steady and finish strong. Feel free to call a friend if you are struggling.

So just in case you need my help. Yes I took off much too quickly and really struggled from about 4-5miles. 12 years as an athlete, you would think I would have learnt pace judgment. And for all those who where able to attend the SportsAid marathon runners get together, you will remember me banging on about, do not get caught up in the excitement and start too quick. I wish someone would remind me. I also forgot to keep eating in the build up to the race, and did not take any gels. So lessons learnt for the marathon in 5 weeks. You would think so any way. I also did not look at the profile of the coarse. Colchester half is very hilly.

Going back to the get together. It was great to meet my fellow SportsAid runners. The first timers, and those that have completed marathons before. Some have had great build up and preparation, and some like me for whom it has not gone according to plan. But we all have one thing in common; we are running for a fantastic organisation.

So here are some top tips for your final preparation, none of which I will follow, so feel free to remind me as you go past me on the day.

  • Work out your travel plans and write them down
  • Make a list of everything you need to pack (see below for some tips)
  • Plan your morning, and try it out on a training run. What time you will get up and eat breakfast ect. (Unlike me)
  • Have plenty of food to graze on in the build up to the start, it could be 4hrs from breakfast to start. (Unlike me)
  • Make sure all kit has been used on a long run. Do not use any new shiny kit. (Unlike me)
  • Get your name on your vest.
  • Do not overdo training in these final weeks. You will not gain anything, only risk injury. (Unlike me)
  • Make sure you know your pace, and stick to it, especially at the start. Do not take off too quickly, or you will be walking with me.
  • Now is the time to push your fundraising.
  • Start practicing your finish line speech “I am never, never running a bloody marathon again” then sign up for 2015. (Like me)
  • Smile, you are about to join a very special group of people, marathon runners, and your blood sweat and tears will help build our Olympians and Paralympians of the future.

See you at the reception after for a cold drink and foot bath.

Here are a few things to remember to pack (Obviously this is not everything):

  • Your race vest.
  • Warm clothing to be discarded at the start
  • Vaseline, for those tender areas. You don’t want to share.
  • Snacks for pre race.
  • Wet wipes if you are not going for a shower at the reception
  • Clean warm clothes
  • Flip-flops. You may have put your trainers in the bin

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