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Many of you will already be a couple of months into your Mercer Surrey Half Marathon training plan – which has been devised by our Injury and Performance Partners Synergy Physiotherapy. To make sure the that your race preparations go to plan check out their top tips, and don’t forget to download your free plan!

1. Shorter term goals

The end goal always seems a daunting task. It’s not always about the destination, but the journey along the way!
Break this journey into smaller steps. Start by concentrating on a 5k PB for a month, then build to 10k over a another month and so on. This helps break up the training with little measurable achievements. Use free events such as parkrun to gauge how you’re getting on.

2. Get fitted for trainers – at Fitstuff!

Always make sure you have the right kit from the beginning. Practise running in the clothes (and underwear!) that you plan to wear on race day so that you’re confident that the clothes don’t rub or become distracting over the 13.1 miles. It’s really important to find a pair of shoes that suit you early on. Go to a good running shop where they will fit your trainers for you. This will help prevent getting to a point where blisters or niggles become problematic, and overall will make your running far more enjoyable. Fitstuff in Guildford offer a professional trainer fitting service. Their trained staff use equipment to record how you run; to determine whether you need neutral trainers, or ones to support pronation / supination. There’s no need to book, just turn up.

3. Sociable runners

Run with people! Running with people will keep you motivated and stop you from skipping runs. Particularly in the dark evenings it can take a long time to get out the door, as your mind finds many other jobs that need to be done. Meeting with someone stops the inevitable pre-run ‘faffing’!

4. Set more than 1 goal

Set more than one goal for what you would like to achieve, for instance one goal might be just to complete, another to get under a certain time etc. Break these into:
– Main goal (eg, finishing the Mercer Surrey Half)
– Would like to achieve goal (eg, running the whole way)
– Everything going right on the day goal. (eg, completing it in sub 2 hours)

5. Do not ignore niggles

Niggles are inevitable, do not ignore them and listen to what your body is telling you. This might mean missing/shortening one of your runs but will help stop the niggles stopping you training. If niggles persist get them checked out, the money spent can make all the difference to how your training goes.

6. Get your technique checked

The habits you have when you run especially when tired can, at best, fatigue you early and, at worst, injure you. Get your running technique checked for free with us at Synergy Physiotherapy by booking a free running analysis.

7. Build a good strength base

Strength exercises help the body catch up with the relentless increase in mileage it will have to tolerate in the coming months.
This can be simple single leg strength such as single leg squats or pendulums when you put the kettle on, or find a class locally that covers basic strength work.

8. Don’t race your training

Your training runs should be performed at a controlled pace. Normally your plan will include 1 long run a week and 2+ other runs during the week. During the longer run you should aim to make these a comfortable pace and leave the other runs in the week to gain speed – trust your plan.

9. Follow a training plan

Whether you are a competent runner or a complete novice, following a plan will mean there is a structure to your training and a guide to what sessions would suit at what stages of your training. We’ve devised 6 month and 3 month training plans which are specifically designed to ensure that you train for the profile of the Mercer Surrey Half. There are 3 available for each duration – beginner, intermediate and advanced. So choose the one for you and download your free plan.

10. Think positively

It’s ok to have a “bad run” every now and then. The important thing is to identify what made it “bad” and learn from it. It’s easy to focus on the negative things whilst you’re running (eg, I’m breathing harder than normal to get up this hill) but try to focus on the positive aspects instead (eg, I’ve made it up the hill. I’ve overcome something that felt really hard).

11. Be mentally tough

Don’t give up. It can be difficult to fit training in around your work and social life, and be motivated to do it in the first place. If you miss a session, don’t beat yourself up about it. Let your body enjoy the rest and focus on completing your next session well.

12. Rest and recover

Ensure that you’re eating enough of the right food to allow your body to repair itself. Drink plenty of water, and ensure you get plenty of sleep. Learn to distinguish the difference between going running when your feeling lazy and when you’re feeling tired. Often you’ll perk up once you’re out if you were feeling lazy before, but if you feel tired you risk injuring yourself.

13. Enter a race

Even if you’re already training for it, if you haven’t entered the Mercer Surrey Half Marathon yet don’t put it off any longer. Commit to achieving your goal! Entering a practise race ahead of the big day on 11th March gives you the opportunity to learn from any mistakes that you might make and could give you the confidence boost that you need. Check out aat-events.com to find another race to enter.

.1 Have fun!

It’s important to enjoy your training! If you get bored, reverse your run route or find new ones to shake things up a bit. Trail running will give your body a break from the high-impact road-running and can offer more varied scenery. Any kind of physical activity can be considered a “bonus” alongside your running routine, so try a new class or go cycling.