Category: Running

The 7 Podcasts That’ll Make You Love Long Runs


Your choice of listening material when running is a very personal thing. Some people prefer to leave the headphones at home and embrace the sounds of nature during their runs. Others need a good fast beat to help them keep their pace up. And some people look to podcasts to provide a distraction from the pain and hard work of running.

I fall somewhere between the first and third camps. On some days, particularly when it’s sunny outside and the birds are singing, I just feel like running in silence. But when the weather is a bit grim and I’ve got a long run ahead, I generally turn to podcasts to help keep my spirits up and make the miles go past faster.

I’ve got a half marathon coming up this weekend (the Northumberland Endurancelife if anyone’s interested) and my husband is already prepping his podcast list for his ultra run. If you’re looking for some new inspiration, here are some of my favourite podcasts to help make long runs fun. But a word of warning: you may find some of them so addictive that you won’t want to stop…

If You’ve Got an Ultra Coming Up: Limetown

I was struggling to find a podcast that was as gripping, well-produced and addictive as Serial. Then I found Limetown. Although it’s a fictional story, the investigative journalism style makes it feel more like a true-crime podcast.

The story itself – the disappearance of 300 people from a model town in Tennessee – is intriguing and each plot twist pulls you deeper into the story. Once you’ve started, you won’t want to stop listening so download all the episodes and plan a three-hour run.

For Binge Listening: Serial

If you haven’t listened to the award-winning podcast, Serial, then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock for the past few years. But if that’s the case then great! You’ve got all the fun to look forward to.

Serial is a non-fiction podcast that investigates the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999 and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. It’s easy to forget when you listen to the serialised narrative that this is a real story, with real people involved, and that there may not be a happy ending.

It’s a gripping show and the best news is, once you finished season one you can move onto season two which is a whole different story. Hours of entertainment to keep your legs moving.

To Get You Through Long Runs: The Tim Ferris Show

Tim Ferris interviews the great and good from all walks of life in a show that was seemingly devised for long runs. Episodes frequently exceed two hours in length making it a great choice for long workouts. Although it’s branded as a business podcast, the interviews are wide-ranging and cover many aspects of lifestyle, productivity and work.

For Inspiration: The Tough Girl Podcast

If your legs need some inspiration to keep running, then the Tough Girl Podcast will provide. Host Sarah Williams interviews women who are pushing the boundaries in their outdoor adventure challenges. From epic adventurers to Olympic athletes, this show will make you realise how many endurance challenges there are in the world and what it takes to complete them.

Be warned: if you listen to too many episodes then you may find yourself dreaming up your own challenge to escape the regularity of day-to-day life.

To Learn Something New: Crypto News Podcast

Okay, this is a bit of a cheeky entry as I co-host the podcast! (But hey, it’s my blog, so I can give it a shout-out, right?) If you’re bamboozled by bitcoin and confused about cryptocurrency, but feel like it’s something you should know more about, then join two crypto newbies as we navigate our way through the world of cryptocurrency.

Each week we talk through some of the top crypto news stories to find out what’s hot (or not) in the crypto world. Download the 12 boot camp episodes to get a simple overview of what Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and the blockchain are all about and finish your run better informed than when you started.

For a Quick Fix: The Other Stories

If you’re looking for a short fiction podcast with a nod to the dark side, then check out this podcast from the team at Hawk and Cleaver. The stories cover the genres of horror, sci-fi and thrillers, and will leave you with a definite chill down your spine. The episodes are generally between 10 and 20 minutes long so enjoy them on a quick lunchtime run or stack up a few for a longer session.

If You Enjoyed Limetown: Rabbits

Like Limetown, Rabbits is a fictional podcast presented in a true-crime style. And if you thought the events narrated in Limetown were weird, then Rabbits takes things to a whole new level.

Rabbits is the story of the search by the podcast host, Carly, for her missing friend, Yumiko, who she believes disappeared because of her participation in a mysterious alternate reality game known only as “Rabbits”.

The first couple of episodes are a little slow going, with a lot of backstory and information on video game culture and alternate reality. But after that, the story quickly picks up pace and the plot twists come thick and fast as the suspense builds. The ending is as weird as weird can be, and personally, I found it not quite satisfying, but don’t let me put you off. Rabbits will make you forget your tired legs and burning lungs while you listen to find out what happens next.

What are your favourite podcasts? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Twitter – I’m looking for some new shows to listen to!

10 Tips for Trail Running in the Dark

Running at night

Trail running in the dark can be an intimidating experience if you’re not used to it. The countryside landscape looks different at night, distances seem longer and it can sometimes feel as if there’s someone hiding behind every bush just waiting to jump out at you. But, with a bit of practice, trail running at night can be just as enjoyable as during the day. And it definitely beats an hour on the treadmill or pounding pavements.

What’s more, learning to run in the dark can improve your trail running technique. You learn to become a more instinctive runner and allow your feet to adapt to obstacles in your path, both of which can help improve your speed on different terrains when running in the daylight. If you’re new to running off-road at night, here are some tips to help you enjoy running in the dark.

1. Start on Easy Trails

It’s best to ease yourself into night-time running by starting off on easy trails, such as forest tracks or wide path without too many obstacles. Allow your body and mind to get used to the different experience of running in the dark without having to worry too much about where you’re placing your feet.

2. Get a Bright Head Torch

A head torch is the one essential piece of kit you need for running at night and the brighter it is, the better. Your old head torch you use for camping may look bright enough when you’re standing in the house, but out in the woods, it’s a different story. A bright head torch helps you pick out obstacles and the route ahead and makes you less likely to put a foot wrong. If you’ve been put off running in the dark by previous experiences with a dim torch, then invest in the brightest one you can find. It’ll transform your running experience.

3. Choose a Route You Know

Navigating in the dark is hard. I consider myself a relatively competent orienteer during the day, but I never fail to get lost at night. Small footpaths through woodlands are particularly easy to get lost on, especially when covered in leaf litter. Choose a route you’re very familiar with for your first runs in the dark so you don’t have to worry about losing your way.

4. Shine the Torch Ahead of You, Not at Your Feet

When running in the dark, you want to shine the torch a few metres ahead of you. This may seem slightly counterintuitive, but you need to be looking out for obstacles ahead and trust your feet to deal with what’s underfoot. If you look down at your feet, you’re bound to trip over.

5. Embrace All Your Senses

When you lose part of your sight, your other senses become amplified. You may notice things you don’t normally take in when running. The rustling of animals in the forest, the footfall of your running companion or your own breathing. Don’t be afraid of the strange noises, but embrace the sounds and smells of your environment and the touch of the ground underfoot.

6. Go Running with a Pal

Going running with a friend is more likely to get you out of the house and helps if you feel at all nervous about running on your own at night. If you can’t persuade anyone to go with you, then join a local running club.

7. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Running in the dark isn’t any more dangerous than running in the light, but when the weather is cold, you want to be prepared for any eventuality. It’s worth carrying a phone in case of emergency and consider packing an extra layer and a small first aid kit to be fully prepared.

8. Make Sure You Can be Seen

Your heavy breathing and bright torch may give your presence away to the odd dog walker you encounter, but it’s worth wearing reflective clothing, particularly if any part of your route is on roads.

9. Focus on the Run

Running at night requires greater concentration than running during the day. You’ll find you return home with your brain tired as well as your legs. This need to focus can make the run more exhilarating, but you may need to rethink some of your summer running habits. Leave your headphones and music at home and try not to let your mind wander too much or else you may find yourself tripping up.

10. If You Feel Unsafe, Carry a Personal Safety Device

just to reiterate, even though running in the dark may not feel as safe as running in daylight, often that’s more about perception than fact. But if you want an extra bit of security, then a device such as the Run Angel may boost your confidence. You wear it on your wrist and can set up ‘guardians’ who will receive a text message with your location if you activate the alarm. The alarm itself is ear-piercing – useful if you want to ward off any unwanted attention.

These tips should help you feel more confident about running in the dark. But if you’re still struggling with motivation to get out running this winter, then check out this article on 35 health benefits of running.

How to Start Orienteering and Learn to Love It

Female orienteer running from control

I’ve written before on why I believe orienteering is the best sport ever. But I will admit that it’s not necessarily the easiest sport to get into, particularly as an adult. It takes a bit of perseverance and a willingness to get lost (a lot). But as someone who has spent a good hundred or so hours of her life wandering lost around forests, moorlands and country parks, let me tell you this: it is worth it. So for those of you who are keen to try this awesome sport (and who wouldn’t be?), here are some practical tips on how to start orienteering and learn to love it.

Ditch Your Ego and Start Small

If you start orienteering as an adult, you’re likely to already be a runner. (You don’t have to be a runner, but most orienteers are.) Which means that orienteering can be frustrating because the best thing you can do to improve when you’re starting out is NOT RUN.

I know, it’s counter-intuitive, right? Orienteering is a race, which means you want to get around as fast as possible. My (now) husband made this mistake on one of his first events and ran 1 km past his control before he realized his error.

Think of it as an apprenticeship. If you take it slowly and learn some basic skills, your running ability will help you quickly improve. If you’re determined to run every step of the way, you’ll quickly get frustrated and probably quit.

Orienteering courses are typically colour-coded. If you’re a total beginner, I’d recommend starting with an orange course. Yes, you may be the only adult surrounded by kids, but swallow your pride, this is just your first small step into the world of orienteering. If you’re already confident with a map and compass then you may be fine starting with a light green course, particularly if it’s an ‘easy’ area (such as parkland or urban woods).

Try Urban Orienteering

Urban, or street, orienteering events are a great way to start orienteering. In fact, they’re becoming so popular that many orienteers are choosing to run at urban orienteering events instead of ‘proper’ events. Personally, one of the things I love about orienteering is the opportunity to get out of towns and cities and run on different terrains, but each to their own!

For newbies to orienteering, urban events are ideal because the navigation is straightforward and the map is usually simpler to understand. Although there won’t be any road names, roads and buildings are clearly marked, along with other distinctive features such as trees, hedges and walls. Street orienteering events used to be purely local training events run during winter evenings, but they’ve become so popular that there are urban events every weekend around the country. You can find a list of upcoming UK events on the British Orienteering Federation (BOF) website. (If you don’t live in the UK, check your own orienteering federation’s website.)

Get Free Training

I’ll let you in on a secret. Orienteers LOVE introducing other people to the sport. Which means there are tons of opportunities to get help with the basics, learn new skills and get tips from more experienced competitors.

One of the best ways to start is to go to a local event. Sometimes a club will put on an event specifically for people who are new to the sport and there will usually be someone around to show you the ropes. If you’re not sure whether an event is suitable for you, contact your local club in advance. You can also search for events near to you that are suitable for beginners using the BOF events search. (Tip: click the smiley-face icon to filter for events that are suitable for newcomers.)

If you join your local club, you may have access to more free training opportunities. Many clubs offer local coaching sessions or an annual club weekend away to test out your navigation on technical terrain.

Make Some Orienteering Friends

Orienteering is a deceptively social sport. Although you run around your course on your own, there is nothing a bunch of orienteers love more than analysing and comparing their experiences on the course, whether they were good or bad.

Joining your local club is the best way to make orienteering friends. Many clubs hold post-training socials (usually in a pub) where you can rehydrate (ahem) and get five different views on the optimum route choice to number eight. At the big events, each club has its own club tent where you can gather before or after your run, cheer on your fellow competitors and moan about the bramble patch you got caught in.

Another great way to make friends is to volunteer to help out. Orienteering events are all run by volunteers – you don’t need to be an experienced orienteer to help. Some jobs are more menial than others (I’ve done my fair share of marshalling in the rain and pushing cars out of muddy fields), but all are vital to delivering a successful event. It will also earn you a lot of brownie points (which you can trade in by asking for tips to improve your navigation) and often free entry to events.

Go to some of the bigger events

Once you’ve honed your skills and are reasonably confident about navigating in different types of terrain, it’s time to hit the big time. Unlike many sports, anyone of any ability can compete at regional and national events, including the British Championships. (Although for some of them you will need to join BOF – it costs a bargainous £10 a year and you can normally sign up when you join your local club.)

At larger competitions, courses are based on age classes. If you’re an adult, you’ll be competing at the highest technical difficulty possible in the terrain. If you’re not that confident about your abilities, then you may want to enter a colour-coded course instead. If your orienteering experience to date has been urban and local parks, then I’d suggest you may want to go for the light green rather than the green course as these events will be more technical than what you’re used to. You want to enjoy the experience after all!

There are two reasons why I love big orienteering events: the areas and the atmosphere. You get to run on some of the best orienteering areas in the country – places that you’d never normally be able to go. And the atmosphere of a big event, particularly where the finish is located in the main assembly area, is brilliant. Even when it rains.

Are you convinced? If you’re in the UK and are keen to find out more, the British Orienteering website has everything you need to know including a list of local clubs and events. If you live elsewhere, it’s likely your country will have its own orienteering federation with information on how you can get involved. And if you liked this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends and check out my article on 10 Reasons Why Orienteering is the Best Sport Ever.

10 Tips For Your First Mountain Marathon

Mountain marathon

I had originally planned for this week’s post to be my lessons learned from trying to plan a sustainable wedding. And that will be coming up, but it’s going to be a big post and I’ve been struggling with RSI in my wrists and forearms this week, so it was really a no-go.

As the rain lashed across my window this morning it struck me that we’re really into autumn now. And I always associate autumn and winter with mountain marathon season. That’s not to say all mountain marathons take place in the winter – there are many summer events, which I would definitely recommend to mountain marathon newbies. But I seem to be a glutton for punishment, so have always chosen events which, based on the time of year, are almost guaranteed to bring you the worst of British weather.

The ‘big one’ is the OMM. Now in its 50th year, it’s always held the weekend the clocks go back, ostensibly because it gives you an extra hour of daylight on the Sunday, but really because it always rains. Always. (At least, every time I did it.) If this year’s OMM is your first foray into mountain marathons, congratulations! You’ve jumped in with both feet to the waist-deep bog. But to make your experience a little more pleasant, here are a few tips from the wise…

Tip 1: Prepare for the worst

This is both a general comment and a weather-specific one. Lightweight is all and good but the number one priority is survival. If this is your first mountain marathon and you haven’t yet tested your comfort vs safety limits when it comes to warmth, then don’t strip your pack right back. Besides, you want to enjoy this right? And there’s nothing like a dry change of clothes and a hot chocolate at the overnight camp to instantly make you feel a hundred times better.

Tip 2: Bubble wrap does not a good night’s sleep make

You may hear it said that you can skip carrying a heavy blow-up mat by shoving a square of bubble wrap into your pack and sleeping on that. After all, nowhere on the mandatory OMM kit list does it say ‘sleeping mat’. Now you could do this, and you would probably survive the night (presuming you have a decent sleeping bag), but you’re not going to get any sleep.

Do yourself and your tent mate a favour. If you can’t afford a super-light blow-up mat then at least get a length of lightweight roll mat or a balloon bed. Of course, these come with their own set of problems …

Tip 3: Don’t leave your balloon bed pump behind

“What’s a balloon bed?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s very simple. It’s a bed made from balloons. Not the big round ones you blow up for your kid’s birthday party, but the strong, long, thin ones magicians use to make giraffes and dogs. The ‘bed’ is a thin piece of fabric with sewn ‘tubes’ down which you stuff your blow-up balloons to make an airbed.

If you think this all sounds like a big faff, then you would be right. But do you really have anything better to do with your sixteen-odd hours at the overnight camp? And packed down, the balloon bed is about the size of your fist and weighs 100g. Perfect for mountain marathons.

There is one potential downside. You have to be one of those people who can tie balloon ends. I have never mastered this feat, but fortunately, my past tent mates have all been experts. You may be tempted to save five grams and leave behind the little pump that comes with the balloon bed. Many people have been stupid cunning enough to do this in the past and only realised too late that the balloons are impossible bloomin’ tough to blow up without it. Oh, and take a couple of spares in case of popping (and to make giraffes).

Tip 4: Take plastic bags to put your feet in

You can spot the mountain marathon newbies at the overnight camp as they’re the only ones walking around without plastic bags sticking out of the top of their shoes. This tip is tried and tested.

However much you try and bog-hop, by the time you get to the overnight camp your feet will be sopping wet. And it’s not great for your feet to sit stewing all night in wet socks. So, once you’ve got your tent up, get changed into your spare layers and put on your nice dry socks (you have got dry socks, haven’t you?).

Presuming you’re rehydrating like a pro, at some point you’re going to need to visit the portaloos. (Guys, just opening the tent flap and pissing out is really not on.) That’s where you have the wet shoe dilemma. And where the plastic bags come in. One for each foot. Just don’t bring cheap supermarket ones with holes in, as they’re kind of pointless.

Tip 5: You don’t need a toothbrush

Really. It’s ONE night. Your teeth will survive. Acceptable alternatives are a piece of chewing gum (mmmm, minty) or those little chewable toothbrush things you get in capsules in service stations (which do no good but may make you feel better).

Tip 6:… Or a hairbrush

All you people out there with no hair, SHUT IT. Have you ever tried to get a brush through a tangled head of long hair? No? My point exactly. It’s hell. Worse than tangled climbing ropes. Anyway, despite all this, there is still no need to take a hairbrush on your mountain marathons. If you have long hair, plaits/braids are the way forward. And buy a Tangle Teezer – you’ll never look back.

Tip 7: Tie your compass to your wrist

Loose compasses are another newbie error. You do not want to lose your compass. Particularly if you have ten-metre visibility on a mountain plateau surrounded by big cliffs. A simple piece of string and a wrist loop mean you never have to worry about losing your compass to a man-eating bog or forgetting to pick it up when you stop to tie your shoelace.

Incidentally the same goes for your dibber. Especially when it comes to man-eating bogs. (I nearly lost my husband to one, but that’s another story. He survived. The dibber didn’t.)

Tip 8: Look at the map before you set off

This is perhaps more pertinent to those competing in the score classes than the linear classes. When it comes to score events, tactics are key and spending five minutes planning your route is time well spent.

And make sure you look very carefully at the final section up to the finish. That way you won’t miss the four miles of dead running between the last control and the finish. And you won’t forget to take that into account in your timing assessment. Which means you’ll get in on time and won’t lose out on a prize as a result of misinterpreting a load of red squiggles. (I’m still bitter, alright?!)

Tip 9: Look after your partner

There are solo mountain marathon events, but for most classes, you’ll be in a team. Which means you need to look after you buddy as much as yourself, particularly if it’s their first time and they’re starting to wonder exactly what you talked them into after five pints in the pub that night.

Use each other’s strengths. If your partner ends up doing most of the navigating, why not offer to take the lion’s share of the tent? Or blow up their balloon bed. But remember this, there are times to be kind and sympathetic and times when you have to be tough. And you will each have your ups and downs.

The last OMM I did, I ran with my sister. On the first day, she was striding out ahead of me and I struggled to keep up. But nearing the end of day two, just after we’d spotted those soddin’ red squiggles mentioned above, she was starting to feel it. At one point she tripped over a tussock and refused to get up. Fortunately, by that point, the quickest way back was to follow the rest of the (over-long) trudge to the finish. So I gave her a hug and told her that she’d forget the pain in a couple of years. Tough love is sometimes necessary.

Tip 10: If it’s windy, stash one of the maps

What’s worse than losing a map? Losing BOTH your maps. Without them, you’re screwed (unless you have exceptional map memory skills). It can get pretty windy in the hills, and it’s surprisingly easy for a map to be whisked out of your hand and blown over a cliff. When the winds pick up, have one person stash their map safely in a jacket pocket or rucksack and navigate using the other one.

If the wind takes both of them? Well, that’s just careless …

And, there you go! I have many more tips whizzing around my head, so perhaps they’ll be a follow-up, ‘Part 2’ post. Feel free to share your best mountain marathon tips in the comments below! And best of luck to everyone competing in the OMM or other mountain marathons this winter. May the (navigational) force be with you.

The 10 Best Tips to Smash Your First 10K Race


There’s a reason ten kilometres is the most popular race distance. For new runners, it’s achievable but challenging and for more experienced runners, it’s a chance to show off speed and strength.

But if you’ve just completed your first 5K run, then a 10K race may feel like a long way off. You may be thinking that the 5K run felt hard enough; that there’s no way you could have done two loops of that course – it was tough enough just walking back to the car afterwards.

But, let me let you in on a secret. Everyone feels like that at the end of a tough race, whatever the distance. I swore after doing my first half-marathon, that I could never run further than that. And admittedly, I still haven’t got round to running a ‘proper’ marathon, but last year I did run an ultra-marathon. And yes, I was adamant at the end of THAT that I couldn’t run another step. But I know that if that half-marathon had been 15 miles rather than 13.1, or the ultra 45 miles rather than 41, I would still have made it to the finish line.

This is the secret to the mental game of running. Whatever distance you are there to do, you can do. If you’ve done the right preparation, you just need to keep that distance and the finish line in mind, and with a bit of grit and determination, you will get there. So if, as you’re proudly clutch your 5K medal and hug your supporters, there’s a tiny little voice inside of you saying ‘but what if I could run 10k?’, I am here to tell you that you can. However much it feels an impossible challenge at this moment in time.

Mental toughness aside, as with any race, the right preparation is key. I’ve pulled together ten top tips to give you the best chance of achieving the result you deserve on race day.

1. Give yourself enough time to prepare

Doubling your distance doesn’t happen overnight. Leave yourself plenty of time to build up your training gradually before race day. This ten-week training plan may provide a useful guide to the rate at which you may want to increase your training. Remember – you can adapt it to suit your target time.

2. Don’t over train

Aside from doing no training at all, probably the worst thing you can do is over train. If you’re pushing your body hard, it needs recovery time. This is as true if you’re a beginner runner as it is for an Olympic athlete, though your tolerance for training will be quite different.

Make sure you schedule in rest days each week and prioritise rest time as much as you prioritise training. Rest activities may involve going to bed earlier, having a hot, relaxing soak in the bath or spending an evening watching Netflix (yes, you can quote me on that).

3. Include some strength and flexibility training

As you’re pushing up the distance, strength and flexibility training becomes more important to keep yourself supple and avoid injury. This set of basic strength exercises don’t require any special equipment and at least one can be done in front of the telly. 🙂

Evidence shows that increasing your flexibility can improve your running performance without adding extra miles. Incorporate these exercises designed to improve your range of motion, into your running routine and you should soon notice a difference.

4. Add in speed work

You may be thinking this is starting to sound a bit too hard-core, but remember – everything is relative. Your speed work is not going to be the same as Mo Farrah’s speed work. It just means having a session a week where you run or jog faster for shorter periods of time.

Speed work gets your body used to running at different speeds. Over time, it will make you faster and fitter – whatever pace you run at. Have a look at this post on speedwork for beginners for some suggested sessions (hint: if you’ve never done any speedwork before, I’d start with the 5K sessions and build up to the 10K).

5. Invest in a foam roller

It may not look like much, but this humble piece of kit can help prevent injury and improve recovery. I’m not going to lie, it’s not always the most comfortable exercise, but stick with it. If you’ve no idea where to start, there’s a good article here with some basic exercises.

6. Get to the race in plenty of time

Last weekend, I turned up at a race with just enough time to nip to the toilet and get ready before heading to the start. I wasn’t anticipating a half-hour queue for the loo. After that, getting ready was a bit of a rush and needless to say, I wasn’t in a very relaxed frame of mind when I got to the start!

Don’t make my mistake: leave yourself plenty of time to get to the race (taking account of traffic) and get ready. There are often long queues for the toilets so take this into account! That way you’ll get to the start physically and mentally prepared for the race ahead.

7. Stay relaxed and positive

Stay relaxed. Easier said than done, right? But remember, you’ve done all the hard work in preparing for the race – all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the finish line.

For some people, listening to music helps them relax and focus ahead of a race. (Though be aware that many races now ban headphones during the race itself.) For others, having a friend along to keep them company is a better way to keep their spirits up.

8. Warm up properly

I know, warming up is the number one rule of running without injury. You don’t need me to tell you that. If you’ve got all the way to race day injury-free, then I imagine you’ve been doing a good job of warming up for your training runs. So don’t go and blow it on race day. Yes, it’s hard to warm up when you’re outside the comfort of your own home. And yes, it’s even harder to stay warm when packing into a pen with a hundred of other runners, all impatiently waiting for the start of the race.

But even a short warm up will help prepare your body physically for the race ahead. A gentle jog from the car park (or the train station) to the start of the race will help warm you up. Once you’re in the designated start area, keep your arms and legs moving, even if you have to do a bit of jogging on the spot to stay warm!

9. Set off steadily

If you’re in a big race, you may not get much choice about this! The crowd-shuffle at the beginning can continue well past the official start line. But even so, resist the temptation to start off fast. It’s hard when you’re feeling excited and raring to go, but you’ll feel the benefit of a slow start later on in the race.

Practice this in training. Time yourself for the first half of your run, then reset the clock for the second half. Your aim is to complete the second half in a faster time.

10. Give it your all

By the time you get to the nine-kilometer mark, you’re going to be feeling pretty tired. Your legs are screaming at you to give them a break, and getting oxygen into your body feels much harder than it did eight kilometers ago.

But you’re nearly there! Nothing can stop you now. So if you’ve been going slow and steady up to this point, now is the time to give it your all. Hear the cheers of the crowds lining the approach to the finish? They’re cheering for you. See the banner up ahead with that beautiful six-letter word emblazoned across it? That is your finish line. Run for it with everything you have left. Then congratulate yourself on having smashed your first 10K race.

And as you hang your 10K medal proudly alongside your 5K medal, you may think that was as far as you could possibly go. And for that run, it was. As for the next race? Well, that’s for another day.

Enjoyed this article? You may like my other posts on How to Start Running, Stick With It and Enjoy It and How to Train for Your First Ultramarathon.