Congratulations on choosing to run the Great South for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust! Every step you take on the day will in some way benefit a young person in recovery from cancer, and that will be the one thing that will stop you giving up….. even if it gets a bit hard towards the end and you have to walk a bit!
So where to start? If it is your first race, and the furthest you have ever run, it probably seems a bit daunting at the moment, but don’t be scared. The most important thing is to train sensibly and get your body used to doing longer and longer runs gently and steadily, and most of all ENJOYABLY!
By now, with just 8 weeks to go until the “big day”, I’m guessing you can do about 4 miles already. 10 must seem impossible, but the following guide will help to keep you on target:
- Run at least 3 times a week; 2 or 3 short runs EVERY week (sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes hilly, and they can be anything from 2-4 miles) plus one “Long Run” every week. For most of us long runs are on a Sunday due to work, but find a day that suits you.
- Your Long Run needs to increase to 5 miles right away. The key is to go slower than your usual speed and find a nice pace that you can maintain. If you have to keep stopping, or don’t have enough breath to hold a conversation, you are going too fast.
- For your next long run (if we use Sundays that would be 20th Aug) repeat 5 miles again (always keeping up those mid-week runs)
- Around 27th August aim to conquer 6 miles, and then suddenly the GSR won’t seem such a massive undertaking as you have done well over half!
- Around 3rd Sep go back to 5 miles – but try to do it a little quicker than the last time.
- Around 10th Sep aim for 7 miles
- Around 17th Sep go back to 5 miles
- Around 24th Sep do a 6 mile run
- On 1st or 8th Oct you need to hit 8 miles – I wouldn’t recommend leaving it any closer to the race as this will leave you too tired on race day. If you manage 8 by 1st Oct try for 6 the following week.
- Around 15th Oct you need to be “tapering”, so you shouldn’t do more miles than there are days leading up to the race, so ideally aim for 5 or 6 miles, with those short runs during the week leading up to the race.
- 22nd RACE DAY!!!!!!! Soak up the atmosphere (it is incredible!) and try to relax at the start (deep breaths and laughing with your friends will help). There are thousands of runners, so try not to get swept along quicker than your usual pace… which is unlikely for the first 2 miles actually as you’ll be stuck behind groups of runners!! Mile 8-10 are the hardest as you will be getting tired AND turning into the south-westerly winds – something the Great South is famous for! As you see that finish line in the far distance you’ll probably find yourself getting emotional with fatigue but also frustration that it still seems so far away, but this is where the jelly-babies and hard-core supporters are, so they will give you lots of encouragement! The final bit makes you feel like an Olympic athlete, and somehow your legs will want to sprint (even though you are exhausted) because of all the cheering, clapping and noise on the final straight. YOU’VE DONE IT!
With thanks to LOVE RUNNING for creating this plan for our Great South Run team.