If you are looking at running your first 5 k or marathon; read on. This is not
aimed at elite athletes, this is aimed at people wanting to start something new
in their lives.
1. Starting and stopping are always hard.
Starting a running/cross fit/swimming/cycling program is always going to be
difficult. Walking into a sport shop, or better still, making an appointment
with us, is always going to be daunting. Looking at a bike or a pair of shoes
for the first time ensures a squirt of adrenaline. Don’t stop, keep going, do
things properly. I live for those moments when someone calls and explains that
they want to take up a sport.
Stopping is also hard. Giving up cigarettes or excessive drinking is
difficult. However, you can do it.
You won’t know yourself in three months.
2. There will be highs and lows.
Getting up early is difficult, however the rewards are immense. The door will
become your biggest enemy. It will either trap you inside or will let you out
into a new life. Open it, take the step.
Some races go well, others, well, not so much. I have had some brilliant races, where for moments I have resembled Haile Gebrselassie (for 30 seconds or so) and others where people twice my age and size have passed me and encouraged me not to give up. Life is like that. The key is to keep moving.
3. You need a little bit of backup.
Hook up with some friends and tell your social media network what your plans are.
The more accountability you have the better. Knowing that you are meeting someone for a run at 5.30 in the morning is all that is needed to drag your sorry ass out of bed.
Tell your buds on social media that you have entered a race. I promise you, their encouragement will help you. Just don’t be ‘that guy’, who insists on posting all his workouts on Facebook.
4. Embrace loneliness.
I make sure that I do some rides and some runs on my own. I need space in a world that no longer switches off. If I wake up at 2 in the morning, I roll over and check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am addicted to info, movement, people, action. It is one of the reasons that I need to get out on my own to find myself. I have a 21k route that I call my ‘psychologist run.
Running it on my own gives me perspective and clarity. It never fails.
5. Consistency is king.
I know a number of people who burst onto the scene, go from zero to hero, train for a few weeks like animals and then fade. Don’t be like that. Keep going throughout the year. This needs to be a lifestyle. Zero to hero athletes
get injured. All hail, King Consistency.
6. Set goals.
I have a plan for the next two years. This plan consists of two to three long
distance events during that time. Once the goal is set, the rest will fall
7. Keep records.
We are all different. Some list everything about their workout. This is often
assisted by a gps watch. Others just write a short summary in a journal as to
what they did. Going over your record will bring back many happy memories as
well as moments of learning, as you realize what works for you.
8. Make peace with your limits.
Some reading this have it in them to get podium finishes. Others just keep
going until they get over the finish line. First or last means nothing.
Participation is everything.
9. Time to join the elite.
It is believed that less than 0.5 of a percent of people have ever completed a
marathon. A tiny percentage of people have ever swum a Midmar mile. You have it in you.
I hope to see you at SBR Sport, and even more importantly, on the road