If you have difficulty keeping your motivation up to do exercise its good to set yourself a target such as booking in to do a run whether its a 5k,10k or Marathon.

Once you have booked to attend a run and told people that you are going to do it then your working towards a deadline that makes you have to keep up the exercise to enable you to complete the race that you’ve told everyone your doing.

These days your spoilt for choice with numerous runs happening in and around London or indeed across the globe for all different distances, many being organised as fund raisers for great causes. So it can be difficult to choose which race to book up for. Here are just some of the consideration you should take into account when choosing.

Training fro the great North RunMy first half marathon was ideal, I completed the Great North Run with two amazing friends. We stuck together throughout had a team of supporters that cheered us along the way some where friends and family, others where locals that made it their duty to welcome us through the streets of Newcastle, setting up sound systems, handing out oranges and ice-pop-sickles and generally cheering us on. The sheer number of runners meant that you couldn’t stop and it was easy to latch onto a runner in front if you needed help to pace yourself.

For my first marathon again I had roped in an amazing running buddy who had help keep me motivated throughout the winter months of early mornings, the extended 3-4hr weekend runs and the dreaded shin splints.

However, we chose to run the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso, Norway. It sounded really romantic and amazing to be running through the night as the sun was low in the sky and then to watch it rise straight back up without it ever getting dark. And we had never been to Norway.

Training for a Marathon

In reality we couldn’t see the sun through the cloud as it drizzled with rain the whole way round making it cold and wet. (In fact for the whole 5 days we where there we didn’t get to see the Midnight Sun).

Not many supporters could come along to cheer us on because we had chosen somewhere so far from home and that was so expensive, flights accommodation and £8 a pint! Big thanks to the support team that consisted of two, they managed to get drunk at those prices whilst we ran ;)

There was only a few hundred people taking part in the race mainly locals or serious hard core Marathon runners notching up another run in another country, no fancy dress to be seen! so not many additional supporters to borrow for motivation. I shouldn’t have been surprised it is a race through the night in the Arctic circle! Although I originally thought that was part of its charm, but as it turned out it made the race more difficult especially toward the end as I was running alone for long periods due to wide gap between runners and me having split from my running buddy.

So although it was definitely an experience and I’m glad I did it, I think I would choose differently for a first Marathon if I had my time again.

Here are the things I now consider when choosing a race-

Atmosphere- You’ll get a real buzz and feel energised to continue running if there is a good atmosphere on the run. So choosing a larger event can be a real motivator as you’ll have people around you to egg you on or to help pace yourself.

An other advantage is the crowd support, if there are a lot of runners then there are bound to be a lot of supporters along the way to help cheer you on.

A good tip is to wear your name on your t-shirt so supporters along the way that don’t know you can still cheer you on to the finish line.

One disadvantage of larger events can be the elbow room and if your looking to get a PB you might want to consider making sure your at the front to get some room to avoid any bottle necks!

Check out the difference in atmosphere between The Great North Run and The Midnight Sun Run

Venue- again think about the support of supporters to get you through the race, your own friends and family are going to provide you with the best support so choose a venue that is close so as many people as possible can come and watch you. This will also help you with start times as most runs will start in the morning you don’t want a rude awakening with a long commute to the start.

Cost- As mentioned a lot of runs are now organised as fund raisers for Charity therefore they have a registration fee and ask you to raise a minimum sponsorship. Choosing a charity that is close to your heart can help you find that extra motivation to continue with training and during the race as you won’t want to let the charity down. However it can add extra stress if your not great at asking people for money.

Distance- If you have never run before and your just starting out 5k is probably best

Running buddy- If you can rope someone into run with you even better, its great to have a training buddy as your more likely to keep to training and enjoy it. Then on the race day its good to have someone to share the experience with on the day, even be a little competitive with ;)


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