Cambridge Half Chronicles: Your Survival Kit

Faculty: Science and Engineering
Category: Sport

28 November 2018

woman running in a race with people behind her

Hola fellow runner. If you are reading this, you have successfully overcome the initial hurdle of signing up for the 2019 Cambridge half, or you’re nosy about those of us that have.

Congrats on entering one of the most iconic, flat and fast halves in the UK. I too have committed myself to this fate.

In this series of blogs, I will give you an insight in to training and how I fit it into life as a student, along with some nuggets of wisdom that I have learnt the hard way, picked up from training with a group of kick-ass runners, or heard on the shop floor of the running store I work in.

Below I’ve condensed some useful bits of advice for all runners hoping to survive training and smash the race in March. From the first timer to the seasoned half marathoner, have a gander, and apply as you see fit:

  1. Make a plan. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t have a set training plan. You can request one I’ve written from Helmore gym.
  2. Download Strava. This was a game changer for me; I love how easy it is to keep a record of my miles, you can also log strength & conditioning and cross training on there too. Use your phone (I did the dodgy phone-in-bra for about a year before my work colleagues presented me with a GPS watch to use). This is my favourite social media feed, as it’s filled with routes run by friends and photos of the great outdoors. Follow me to have a look at my stats and see some questionable race face photos.
    A collage of pictures including a woman running, posing with friends after a race and muddy shoes after a wet run
  3. Learn to run without music. Headphones aren’t allowed in the race, unless they’re bone conduction Aftershokz (buy them at Up and Running, where I work!). It doesn’t have to be every run, we all know the motivating powers of music, but it’s something to bear in mind for when you’re practicing your race pace or on a Sunday long run.
  4. Keep your toenails trimmed, and wear shoes with a thumbs width at the end. Take my word for it on this one.
  5. Expect to be more tired and hungry (I believe rungry is the technical term) than ever before. Eat a mainly well rounded diet and drink at least 2l water a day. Have a treat when you fancy! My go to is a big bar of Galaxy.
  6. Don’t be afraid to rest. Half way through a run, cutting a session short, or taking a full day off. Overtraining is a runner’s worst enemy; most runners have traits which allow them to ignore extreme fatigue- being determined and gritty is one thing, thinking about longevity and injury prevention is another.
  7. High vis is cool, helmets are cool. Wear them. Be smart, don’t be that numpty riding to sessions or running in the dark all in black or without the relevant headgear.
    group of young people at a dinner table
  8. Find an accountability partner, join C&CAC, or come to one of our jogging groups at 5.15pm on a Wednesday (Helmore Gym Cambridge) and 5.15pm on a Tuesday (Mildmay, Chelmsford).
  9. Finally and most importantly, make sure you’re having a good time! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy- why not have fun while grinding out the winter miles. Have a meal with friends after training, have a tipple after the Sunday long run, whatever floats your boat!

Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll be sharing my trials and tribulation in training for this distance, and blacking out in the last kilometer in my first race over 13.1 miles.



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