Race Day 2020

23 February

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February 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Race news  |  The 2019 race

Who is The Welsh Runner?

Name: Matt Rees
Age: 31
Occupation: Online Running Coach
Running Club: Swansea Harriers
Favourite Distance: Marathon
PBs: Marathon: 2:29:55 / Half Marathon: 1:09:19
Goals: Run for my country

How long have you been running?

I started running as a new year’s resolution in 2015 aged 27, so just over 4 years now. I have always been fit through playing sports and going to the gym, but I hated running. Building muscle with heavy weights was more important to me.

Why did you start running?

I have suffered badly with anxiety for many years. One of the main reasons I started running was to try and deal with some of the symptoms of anxiety. Running has helped enormously. It is not a cure but it is a great technique to help overcome some of the challenges of life. I could go on about the anxiety and periods of depression I have faced in the past, but I try to be a much more positive person now and look forward. I still suffer, but I have much better ways of handling it now, and running is major part of that. For years I cared way too much about what people thought of me in every aspect of my life. It would drive me crazy with worry. Now I focus on my most loved ones. They are the ones that matter.

When you first started running what did your training look like?

I thought I had a fairly good knowledge of health and fitness when I started running but I soon realised that I didn’t. Despite spending many hours in the gym and playing football on the weekends my first run was hard. I went slow but it was tough. My first training plan didn’t have any intervals, tempo runs, hills, sessions, or long runs. I didn’t run easy, and I didn’t run hard. I just went out and ran at an uncomfortable pace 3 times a week. I was getting fitter but not making the gains that can be achieved through clever training.

Why didn’t this work?

It’s not that it didn’t work. I was improving, but there was so much more to running than I initially realised. The main reason my progress was restricted was because there was no variation in my plan. I was doing the same thing for every run. I had lots of enthusiasm but very little knowledge on how to train effectively.

How long did it take you to research your own regime?

I did lots of reading and asked lots of questions. I come from an academic background and love research.  I tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I didn’t get it right straight away. Lots of my training was through trial and error. I didn’t even realise the importance of long runs until 7 months after I had taken up running. I now see the long run as the most important run of my week. You can improve even when you don’t get it right. That’s what was happening with me. I was getting faster despite the flaws in my training. However, the more I learnt, the better I became. You can always learn something about training and your own body.

How was your training once you started to implement different types of runs?

Initially I found intervals and tempo runs difficult, but I started to improve much faster than I had been from just running the same pace every time. When I started to implement long runs in to my routine, my improvements grew even faster. My training plan started to incorporate hard sessions followed by easy days. It takes some getting used to but the rewards are worth the effort. Additionally, the variation keeps running fun. I think it is important to build these sessions on a strong foundation though. That’s where lots of runners go wrong. They neglect the base training.

Have you received much support from your clubs and family?

I joined Swansea Harriers after a few months of training on my own. I was initially apprehensive and unsure if I was good enough to join a club. However, I soon realised that the club included runners of all different abilities and ages. The club were massively supportive and I had finally found a group of people who weren’t bored by my desire to chat about running. Joining a club really helped my running education and gave me lots of opportunities that I was unaware of.

My family have been supportive, but initially they didn’t really understand my desire to run. I wasn’t a runner and a few months later I was racing and a member of a club. It took people a while to realise that running was not a fad, it was a part of my life that was there to stay. They are much more supportive now but I think they still struggle to come to terms with my commitment to running and the ambitious goals I have set myself.

Tell us about your London Marathon experience which lead to you receiving a Spirit of London Award?

I believe that helping David was the natural thing to do. When you see someone in distress, you don’t really think, you just act. I wanted to help him and make sure he finished the race which starts months before, when you start training. I was astonished by the public reaction and attention the moment received. It’s fantastic to have a positive running story and hopefully it highlights that within the running community there is so much camaraderie.

Matthew Rees (L) of Swansea Harriers helps David Wyeth (C) of Chorlton Runners reach the finish line during the London marathon on April 23, 2017 in London. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS

What are your biggest running achievements?

I have won a number of races now. It seems crazy saying that. When I first started running I never thought I would be winning races, and yet 7 months later I won my first event, The Wales 10K in Tenby, on my birthday. That was a special day.

Since then I have gone on to win events including the Great Welsh Marathon, RnR Liverpool Half, and gold at the Welsh 10,000m Championships.

However, my favourite races are usually the races I don’t win. Don’t get me wrong I love winning, but I push myself more when there are faster competitors in the race. I get more satisfaction from really pushing my limits than winning a race. So, I really love the big events. Thousands of runners, a big build up and lots of the best runners. That’s normally when I PB.

What’s your most memorable running moment?

I have already mentioned the iconic moment with David so I will choose something different. I think in running it has to be crossing the finish line in my debut marathon in London. It was just such a huge moment of relief and satisfaction as I knew the suffering was over and all my hard work had come to fruition. I was really proud when I looked down at my watch and saw that I had run 2:29 on my first attempt. Not many people believed I would get near that time, but I knew how much preparation I had put in during the months before. I had huge amounts of self-belief going in to that race. It was an emotional moment.

 What’s your favourite sayings?

I use lots of motivational sayings that I have heard but my favourite quote is from Bart Yasso of Runner’s World:

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We’re all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner”– Bart Yasso.

For me this encapsulates running. Lots of people think they are not fast enough, but I think we are a community. We all go through the same things, no matter what pace you are running.

Another one I like is:

“I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t”

This one is a great mantra in a race when it hurts and your head is pleading with you to slow down.

Tell us how you use @thewelshrunner to inspire others?

I try to motivate others by sharing the ups and downs of my training on Instagram and YouTube. Most runners are going through the same things no matter what level you are, so I try to open up my training so others can learn and relate. I share tips and sessions that I use in my own training. I love the running community on social media and am inspired by all of the posts I see on a daily basis.

 


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February 14, 2019 at 1:47 pm

Race news  |  The 2019 race

Brighton Half Marathon: 1 Week To Go

Avoid injury with Runners Need

Brighton Half Marathon: Your Essential Kit List

You’re worked hard mentally and physically to prepare for race day, and now it’s only a week away! With your training all but done, all that remains is to make sure you have everything you need on the day. Runners Need have put together a handy list of the essential kit for a successful half marathon:

 

Rain Jacket

We all know there’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a great run, and getting soaked by the faithful British rain! Coming prepared for the worst weather will make sure nothing can stop you smashing your goal. A lightweight, breathable rain jacket will make sure you stay dry by protecting you from the elements and ensuring sweat can still escape.

Shop all running jackets: https://www.runnersneed.com/c/clothing/jackets-gilets.html

 

Phone Holder Armband

An armband means you can keep your prized possession – and motivational tunes – close by during the race. Look for one which is convenient to access (so you don’t waste energy), comfortable and lightweight. Some are also washable, which may be welcome after running 13 miles!

Shop armbands and wallets: https://www.runnersneed.com/c/accessories/arm-wallets.html

 

Spare Socks and Shoes

Once you’ve crossed that finish line, you’ll probably want to get out of your sweaty running shoes and socks as soon as possible! Making sure you have something to change into allows your feet to begin recovering and keeps you comfortable for the rest of the day. OOFOS flip flops make great recovery shoes, as they allow your feet to air and are built to allow natural motion, so you don’t put extra strain on your feet or legs.

Shop OOFOS flip-flops: https://www.runnersneed.com/p/oofos-unisex-ooriginal-L1114200.html?colour=124

Shop running socks: https://www.runnersneed.com/c/clothing/socks.html

 

Running Cap

A cap is necessary to protect your head and eyes from the sun. Look for a breathable and vented cap to ensure your head stays cool, and you may want to choose one with built-in sweat bands to prevent the dreaded eye sting!

Shop all running headgear: https://www.runnersneed.com/c/accessories/hats.html

 

 

 

Water Bottle

A no-brainer – staying hydrated is everything during the half marathon! An ergonomically designed bottle will allow you to handle it with ease, ensuring you can hydrate without slowing down. You may opt for a handheld bottle so you can access your hydration quickly, or one which attaches to your kit.

https://www.runnersneed.com/c/nutrition-hydration/water-bottles.html

 

Gels

Fast-acting gels offer energy and hydration without the bulk of carrying snacks or excess water. Runners Need offer a variety of formulations with different benefits to recharge you during the half marathon.

https://www.runnersneed.com/c/nutrition-hydration/energy-recovery-gels.html

 

Hydration Powder

Adding an electrolyte hydration powder to your drink will boost your body’s water absorption and keep you performing at your peak.

https://www.runnersneed.com/c/nutrition-hydration/energy-recovery-drinks.html

 

Safety Pins

Make sure you have a few safety pins with you, so you can wear your race number with pride!

 

Still not sure what to go for, or need to grab some last-minute essentials? Visit Runners Need in-store to find all the kit, nutrition and expert advice you’ll need to smash the Brighton Half Marathon.


Brighton Half Marathon: 2 Weeks To Go

Tapering Your Training

It’s time to start the all-important final aspect of your training: tapering.

Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive, tapering is essential to preventing injury before the big day, and ensuring you perform at your very best. So, try to keep your excitement under control, and resist the urge to train like mad, as the countdown begins!

What is tapering?

The taper period is when you reduce the intensity of your training as the half marathon approaches, to allow your body to properly recover and adjust. Each runner’s requirements will differ, and the person with whom you develop your training plan will help you plan the most effective taper period for your body.

Why is tapering important?

Tapering can dramatically reduce your risk of sustaining an injury during the race and prevent problems during your recovery period too.

During your taper period, your muscle glycogen levels return to their optimal level. Various enzymes, hormones and antioxidants, which are depleted during training, also return to their peak levels, and muscle and connective tissue is given chance to repair and strengthen in time for race day. Tapering also allows your immune system to improve dramatically after the strain of training.

The tapering period is also when your body will reap the benefits of training. The ways in which your performance improves through training are called ‘training adaptations’ and require a certain amount of rest to take place. This means that while you may not be working as hard during your taper, it’s an essential step towards being at your fittest and fastest by the time race day comes around.

Science for maximum performance

With your hard training done and your tapering period about to begin, there’s every chance you’re already keeping to a strict diet to ensure maximum performance – but have you considered how you’ll stay hydrated and energized during the race? Runners Need has a wide range of nutrition and hydration foods and supplements to keep your blood sugar levels at peak and prevent the dreaded flagging. Visit our in-store experts to find the on-the-go products guaranteed to help you power through!


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January 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Charity news  |  Race news  |  The 2019 race

Run for Team RISE and help people live free from domestic abuse and violence

Our vision is a world free from domestic abuse – where each and every person has the right to be in a safe, supportive, and equal relationship, and nobody is afraid of what will happen to them when they go home. If you agree with us, why not run the Brighton Half Marathon for RISE in 2019, the year we celebrate our 25th anniversary!

For 25 years we’ve provided comfort, advice, solace and safety to people living in Brighton & Hove and beyond, but without important fundraising events like the Brighton Half Marathon we simply wouldn’t be able to continue our vital work.

We don’t for a minute under-estimate the hard work, sacrifice, chafing and blisters it takes to complete a 13 mile run… and are so grateful to each and every amazing person who chooses to run for us! We will do our utmost to look after you and support you every step of the way, whether this is your first Half Marathon or you are a seasoned distance runner.

Run For Rise >>

It’s important to us to give you the best experience possible, and will provide:

  • A fabulous goody-bag overflowing with treats (all kindly donated from an array of awesome local companies)
  • Access to the RISE tent in the athlete’s village on race day for you, your friends and family. Our tent promises to be awash with all the cake you can eat, and plenty of hugs.
  • A fetching hot pink running vest to make you stand out to our teams of cheer squads
  • A warm feeling from knowing you’re helping RISE support people affected by domestic abuse in the city

But don’t just take our word for it, one of last year’s RISE runners said: “I was proud to support a local, Brighton charity that is so important. The charity tent was lovely. The staff were supportive and friendly before and after the event. The range of refreshments was very welcome – as well as spare safety pins!”

A staggering 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime. With the help of our supporters RISE is able to offer the following support to people living in Brighton & Hove:

  • The only local domestic abuse helpline
  • A refuge with room for 15 families in urgent need
  • An LGBTQ+ service for survivors of domestic abuse which was the first in England
  • Support with housing, finance, criminal and civil proceedings
  • Counselling and support groups
  • Drop-ins and case-work

Enter here >>


Brighton Half Marathon: 6 Weeks to Go

Avoid injury with Runners Need

With the big day just six weeks away, nailing your half marathon training is essential to achieve your best performance effectively and painlessly! Scheduling in the right amount of hard training, easier runs and rest will ensure that your body is well prepared to power through the 13 miles. Our friends at Runners Need have put together a training guide to help you get the most from your last six weeks of training. Remember, though, this is only a guide, and you should always seek personalised training advice where possible.

Let’s start with the easy bit: every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for the last six weeks are rest days. It’s really important that you schedule in enough time for your body to recover, to ensure you don’t sustain any injuries and you are rested enough to perform at your best on race day.

Every Tuesday, you should do 40 minutes of easy running. This light exercise is intended to maintain your great results so far and keep your muscles moving, for an easy transition between hard training and rest days.

The first four Wednesdays of the six weeks leading up to the Brighton Half Marathon, you should do a 30-minute tempo run. A tempo run is one which is 25 to 30 seconds per mile quicker than your current race pace and improves speed and endurance in longer races like a half marathon. The last two Wednesdays (in our case, 13th and 20th February) should be rest days – this is your taper period.

Fridays and Sundays are where we alter the run types and lengths for maximum gain as the half marathon draws closer:

Fridays:

Week 1 (w/c 14th Jan) – 40 minutes interval running

Week 2 – 50 minutes interval running or cross training

Week 3 – 50 minutes interval running

Week 4 – 40 minutes interval running or cross training

Week 5 – 40 minutes interval running

Week 6 – 50 minutes easy running

Sundays:

Week 1 – Run 5 miles (8km)

Week 2 –Run 10 miles (16km)

Week 3 – Run 5 miles (8km)

Week 4 – Run 12 miles (19km)

Week 5 – Run 6 miles (10km) at race pace

Week 6 – Run the Brighton Half Marathon!

Following this training plan, or a similar one recommended for you, will ensure that your body is in the best possible condition for the race. From Runners Need, the very best of luck to everyone participating in the Brighton Half Marathon!


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January 7, 2019 at 11:21 am

Charity news  |  Race news  |  The 2019 race

Tags: ,

Charity of the Week: Macmillan

Being told ‘you have cancer’ can affect so much more than your health – it can also affect your familyyour job, even your ability to pay the bills. But you’re still you. Macmillan get that. And, after over 100 years of helping people through cancer, we get what’s most important: that you’re treated as a person, not just a patient. We’re here to help you find your best way through from the moment of diagnosis, so you’re able to live life as fully as you can.

Life with Cancer

Life doesn’t stop just because you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Seeing friends, supporting family, and finding a way to pay the bills are still important, even if you’re living with a terminal diagnosis.

You may have cancer, but you are still you, with a life to lead, friends to see, family who need you and people to love. Because life with cancer is still life, and we will help you live it.

How you can help

With 2.5 million people currently living with cancer we need your support more than ever. By running and fundraising for Team Macmillan in the Brighton Half you will help us support even more people affected by cancer. JOIN US NOW!

In return we’ll support you every step of the way – our amazing runners receive:

  • A fundraising pack full of all the resources you need to smash your fundraising target
  • A free Team Macmillan technical running vest or t-shirt, plus iron on letters to customise your kit
  • Access to the Macmillan training zone to make sure you are fighting fit on race day
  • Newsletters to keep you up to date with Macmillan news and activities
  • The best support on race day from our world-famous cheer-points
  • Exclusive access to our hospitality marquee on race day with much needed refreshments and high fives a plenty.

So help us make history and smash our £130,000 fundraising target which could:

  • help run a large Macmillan information and support centre for a year
  • support our cancer support specialists run our Macmillan Support Line phone service for a week, answering 2,807 calls and emails from people who want questions answered, need practical or financial support, or just want to chat.
  • pay for a Macmillan nurse for three years, helping people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.