Running marathons – half or full – can be seen by many as a sport for the elite and committed athletes among us. However, some may argue running half marathons is a great way to keep fit and active and doesn’t require any super powers or supreme athletic ability.
One such person is M2woman’s Digital Marketing and Sales Manager, Kate Clausen, an amateur half marathon runner with a strong belief that you don’t need to be a professional to enjoy the sport.
With the New Year well and truly here, and resolutions being made, we spoke to Kate about her love for running, how she keeps motivated mid-race and what tips she has for anyone training for their first half-marathon.
How did you first get into running half marathons?
I didn’t run my first one until I was 26 when I was spending hours cooped up inside studying outside of work hours. At the time, anything outdoors seemed like a good idea! Turns out running was the perfect physical activity to reset and regain focus with lots of freedom, given I could just get up and run when it suited and at no cost.
What do you love about running half marathons?
Travel with an active purpose is something I live for. So for me signing up to half marathons with good friends all over the place is a good excuse and is lots more fun. Plus the training keeps me fit for other sports, like tennis and is an activity I want to continue doing to a moderate level for a really long time.
What was the hardest part of starting training?
Accepting not to be too hard on yourself. Start out small and build up slowly. It goes without saying this prevents injuries too. I’ve never really been one to run to a plan, but I know many people who find this makes it easier.
How do you keep motivated when training?
By committing time to keen running friends. I can’t think of a better way to start the day than ticking off a good solid run with a friend as the sun rises. It’s a great chance to catch up and keep each other motivated. Locking in the next one as we say goodbye is key.
How do you push past any mental barriers you may experience mid-race?
I need an epic playlist. Having easy access to a couple of power songs in those times of pain is fundamental! Also, when I first started running, my perception of gels was that they were for the real athletes running full marathons. I soon learnt of the benefits they provide, just knowing I’ve got that there mid-race for a cheeky little boost.
What tips do you have for people starting out in the world of half marathons?
Work out what type of running you prefer with shorter distances. Maybe it’s flat road running, or perhaps it’s trail running with hills. Like anything in life, you’ll stick with it and do really well once you’ve found your passion.
Write down some goals, short and longer term. I try and run 2 or 3 half marathons a year, so to support this I’ve set a goal to run 1500km in 2020 and will tick it off each week.
What’s your favourite half marathon that you’ve run?
The scenes of the Queenstown Half Marathon are an absolute treasure!
Then there’s Paris. Not too romanticise half marathons or anything, but running past the Eiffel Tower with thousands of others was special and a memory I will never forget.
What gear do you recommend for novice runners?
Comfort, comfort, comfort. I’m not a fan of the arm bands to carry your phone so I’ve got to have zips or pockets in my leggings to carry my phone for playlists.
I’m loving the new Under Armour flagship store at the moment for something different. I have been stocking up on their running range – nothing like new active-wear to keep you motivated too!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received around running half marathons?
Half one, warm up and half two, turn it on. And plan for and enjoy the taper off period the week before the run, aka rest!