I have just six weeks to gather as many tips on how to conquer my first half marathon from the Write This Run team, and it's time to talk fine details. Katie, our resident Ironman who believes "there are no such things as bad races, just great stories", makes sure we don't overlook one vital piece of kit.
With six weeks to go until your first half marathon, there are miles being saved in the bank and anticipation about race day is starting to build. Many of the major matters of half marathon readiness have been expertly covered by our illustrious Team Write This Run colleagues, so I see my role here is to help you with the finer details of race preparation. You see, in all the excitement, it’s easy to overlook the small things on the way to race day. And by small things, I mean your small things. Your tummy is not the only thing that can build up an appetite during the course of a 13.1 mile run; for races over and above the 10K mark, a hungry bottom is a highly likely, yet wholly undesirable, physiological phenomenon, to be avoided at all costs. Consider, if you will, the progress of my undercrackers at the Brighton half marathon two years ago:
That lacy edging might have looked pretty on race morning but 9 miles later it felt like a pair of pinking sheers. It took 2 hours running along the Brighton seafront in a pair of frilly M&S knickers to finally make me understand that the half marathon is a distance to be respected when it comes to your choice of undergarment. Don’t be tempted to underestimate the importance of this matter: get it wrong and you can expect to leap from your hot post-race shower with a bottom as red as a radish. Trust me on this one. I make these mistakes so that you don’t have to.
Now, I’d like to be able to offer you some advice on precisely what to go for but one size definitely does not fit all. We all have different requirements in this department, in the same way that the subtleties of our running gaits need varying support in our choice of running shoes. Just as the neutral runner can manage with little support on their feet, there are a lucky few who can happily trot along with a tiny tanga perched perfectly in place. Personally, I prefer a comfy and generous short: something steadfast, reliable and highly unflattering. A serious pair of pants that, once hoisted up the flagpole the night before race day, sends a message about your running ambitions (and ensures you’re preparing like a professional boxer with a no-nonsense policy on the eve of your prize fight). If you’re wondering how I hide these passion killers under my running kit, rest assured that worries about a VPL are far from my priority when the right pair of pants are all that stand between my capri tights and 21 kilometre wedgie.
Whatever you decide to go for, be certain to try them out on a run of sizeable distance in plenty of time before race day. A well-placed dab of Vaseline around the seams never goes amiss too. As the old military adage goes, the “6 Ps” are key here: Proper Preparation Prevents Personal Pant Progression. There are plenty of things that are out of our control on race day but, whatever happens, there’ll be no need to get your knickers in a twist.
Good luck with the rest of your training and I’ll see you in Reading!
You can get knicker updates and more by following Katie on Twitter and on her blog here.