Running is not something that came naturally to me. I always felt like the unfit, back-of-the-pack runner who looked at other people running effortlessly in complete awe and confusion about how they could run like that. But I am always up for a challenge and pushed myself to learn and improve! I can vividly remember how much I struggled to run my first 3 miles and the sense of achievement when I did it. This blog is sponsored by Special K.
My journey with getting fit and my passion for challenging myself began in 2008 when I decided this would be a great way to relieve myself of the boredom and limitations of my 9-5 graduate sales job. I was young, ambitious and full of energy. I wanted to build my confidence, discover something I felt passionate about and push my limits. I signed up for my first race and began getting fit.
Since then, my running has gone from strength to strength! I’ve completed two Ironman triathlons, which involve running a marathon after a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. I once ran 62 miles from London to Brighton on a Saturday with two friends and a backpack of snacks. I’ve completed 24 hours of Tough Mudder which involves running over 50 miles and doing 200 obstacles, I’ve done the London Marathon and completed a half marathon PB in 1hr 50 with Special K last year.
I love running; I think it’s a fantastic way to maintain good mental health and wellbeing and smash personal goals with a great sense of achievement. These are really important to me and I know are to you too!
As Special K’s #PoweringYou Ambassador, I am thrilled to share my top tips for running, motivation and nutrition as myself and the five people I’m mentoring prepare for The Great Manchester half marathon in May:
Set An Inspiring Challenge
Find a challenge that inspires you, and also scares you a little! A challenge like the Great Manchester Run will provide a focus for your training and motivation when you need a reason to get the miles in. It’s important you choose a level of challenge that feels right for you and your life commitments. Remember that it’s not always about how far or fast, just moving your body and getting some training in beats doing nothing!
Harness your why
Accept that there may be moments when you want to stop, that’s ok! To push through these you really need to harness your why and think about why you set yourself this challenge in the first place. When you break through the moments and experiences you find hard and find the motivation to keep going, a powerful transformation happens. Those moments build inner strength that will serve you for the rest of your life! Tap into the energy and support of the people around you on race day and don’t lose sight of why you are doing this. You wouldn’t be doing it if it was easy!
Build mental resilience
The most important element is the belief that you can do it. The only way you believe in yourself is to do things that challenge you and help you overcome your fears and limiting beliefs. Invest all your energy into doing the very best you can, rather than worrying that you are not good enough or won’t be able to complete it. Worrying is a huge waste of energy and you need all the energy you can to complete your race. Don’t let negative thoughts and self-doubt sabotage your experience on race day!
Find training buddies
I’m mentoring a team of 5 people to take part in the Great Manchester Run as part of my partnership with Special K and their #PoweringYou campaign. It’s amazing to have a close-knit group of people to motivate each other and share training tips and progress. Progress is not a linear line, it’s important to recognise there will be ups and downs but having people to share the journey with helps us push through and stay motivated.
Get your nutrition right
I train in the morning so I eat after I run. Special K Protein cereal is my go-to favourite breakfast as it’s a quick and simple way to refuel and get some protein and essential nutrients like vitamins, iron and zinc as part of a balanced diet before I continue with my day. I love a bowl with a nut based drink and mixed berries. Special K’s Powering You mission is to help you be the best version of yourself and find your inner strength and confidence through sport. I love championing this message!
Focus on your journey
It’s super important that you don’t worry about what other people are doing in training, or the result they achieve on race day. The medal and the feeling of achievement are fantastic, but the true glory comes from how you feel about yourself after. That’s a very exciting prospect as you have no idea what this newfound confidence might lead to next! Don’t let what other people are doing take anything away from your achievement.
Don’t forget to smell the roses
Make sure you have fun and enjoy the experience! Take a few moments to look up and absorb the moments on race day as they unfold. Remember how incredible and invincible you will feel when you cross the finish line and complete your challenge. This is your opportunity to do something for you that your future self will thank you for, grab it with both hands!
This blog is sponsored by Special K