Personal Trainer Eddie Johnson is offering helpful weekly advice in the run up to the Pharmalink 2014 Maidenhead Half Marathon on Sunday, September 7.
The 40-year-old hopes to help beginner and inexperienced runners with the basics of fitness, nutrition and maintenance to keep them motivated and get them ready for the race.
Eddie was overweight - weighing 18 stone with a 40 inch waist - until he was 21, but shed the pounds and discovered a career in fitness when he realised he wanted to help other people do the same.
This week, he offers advice on how to prepare if you’re entering the race at the last minute.
So, the race is just over three weeks away and there has been a flurry of late entries.
Purple Patch received 141 last week alone and if it carries on at that rate it will be sold out.
Of course, you may have been training well and planning on doing a half marathon at this time of year without formally entering until recently.
However, a few people have asked me recently about how to best go about it if it is a last minute decision having not necessarily trained well or specifically for the race up until now.
So, I thought some help and advice on this might be welcome.
Probably the most common mistake made by people in this situation is to do too much training and keep doing this right up until the event.
I remember one person saying to me "As long as I can get up to doing 11 miles a couple of days before the event, I'm sure I will be ok".
Now that person wasn't a complete beginner, but it was their first half marathon.
Well, all this would have achieved would have been tiredness on race day. So, I advised against this.
Turning up on race morning tired because of a huge volume of training including long distances in the final week is only going to hamper chances of having a good race.
If performance in the race is poor because of this, that person might go away and think 'I should have done more!' and the next time they enter a half marathon, they do even more in the last week.
Their race is even worse than the first one and they lose motivation for running. Something is wrong here!
One of the best pieces of advice that I was given by a running coach - Arthur Abbott at Reading Joggers (he is excellent by the way) - was that the body will see the benefit of a piece of training no sooner than three weeks after doing the training.
So, any hard training done less than that amount of time before the big race, won't give any performance benefit on race day.
This advice goes along with a recommendation to make sure that you turn up fresh on race day.
Turning up fresh on the day means you don't do hill repetitions, circuit training classes, fast threshold runs or long runs of 10 or 11 miles in the last week.
In fact the last time you do a run of perhaps nine to 12miles might be two weeks before the race.
If you have entered late, then doing a long run of around 11 miles two weeks before the race might be a good idea.
It won't improve your fitness for race day and if you haven't trained perfectly it may tire you more than some who has trained well, but it may give you the confidence that you have it in you to run that distance.
Two weeks will give you time to recover from it before the big race.
But again, avoid the temptation to do too much hard or long training any closer to the race than this.
Shorter, slower runs in the last two weeks would be better.
Have a look at the last two weeks of the training plan that Chris Donald of Purple Patch has written.
If you have entered late and your training hasn't been ideal, then follow this and it will really help you.
Also, please feel free to contact me if you would like any further help or advice.
This week is the sixth of eight ahead of the race. Not long left!
This particular plan is for runners looking to finish the 13.1 mile course in less than two hours and 30 minutes.
Rest – Either have a complete rest from physical activity or do something non-weight bearing such as swimming or cycling
Easy – nice relaxed run at the pace indicated in the appropriate column. Could probably chat away if running with someone
Run/walk – short bursts of slow running mixed with walking – don’t run until you are exhausted and then have to walk the whole way home. Jog or walk the whole time or distance.
The sub-1:30 and sub 2:00 schedules can be found on the Pharmalink Maidenhead Half Marathon race page.
If you have any doubts about your level of fitness it is advisable to check with your doctor before you undertake any programme of physical activity.
Most importantly, enjoy your training and have a great race!
Download a Race entry form here.
Top Ten Articles
The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.