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Runners Info

Runners Info

Tshirt Pick up

Saturday 18th from 140 Cranbrook Road, BS6 7DD

between 10am and 12pm.

Or 8.30am College Green on Race Day.

Paul's Coaching Tips

1 Day to Go

Congratulations. We’ve made it this far, and now comes the fun part. Race day!

The Night Before

Stick to your usual routine. Do try and get a good night’s sleep, but don’t stress too much if you sleep a little fitfully due to nerves and excitement.

Eat normally. Just eat what you’d normally have for dinner, although it may be wise to avoid anything too spicy in case it upsets your stomach. If you usually drink alcohol, then it’s probably OK to do so. On the other hand, it might be best to abstain the night before. Or maybe stick to vintage champagne as a compromise.

Cut your toenails, if you need to. Just to make sure no sharp edges dig into the other toes and cause discomfort.

Pack your bag the night before, or at the very least, write a check-list so you don’t forget anything.

This is NOT an exhaustive list, but here are some things you might not consider packing, but could be helpful.

  • Plasters. In the worst-case scenario that you need to stop and put a plaster over a blister. If you are prone to blisters, consider putting a small amount of talcum powder in your socks. And put preventative plasters over any parts of your foot where you have got blisters in the past.
  • If the forecast is for rain then the men might want to consider putting a protective plaster over each nipple. Sorry to be graphic, but they get very sore when rubbing against wet Lycra. Most runners tend to avoid training in the rain, so don’t realise this can be a major problem until they run on a rainy race day.
  • Stopwatch, or some form of fitness tracker, e.g. Garmin.
  • Spare pair of socks
  • Banana or snack of choice for after the race.

Morning of the Race

I would recommend you eat SOME breakfast, but possibly not your usual breakfast. Bacon and eggs may not be suitable, but a bit of yoghurt, granola and a banana could be ideal. I worry about stitches, and so will not anything at least three hours before a race. Others could eat a little something even an hour before they run and feel fine. Hopefully, you’ll know what works best for you.

Just before you leave the house, go to the toilet….erm, properly. You don’t just want to have an empty bladder before you run!

If you have never done the Bristol 10k before, then do allow plenty of time to get to the race start. If you drive, then you will need to think about where you park, and I would be concerned that the multi-storey carparks will get full.

However, use your walk to the Start as an opportunity to warm up. Indeed, if you walk/very light jog a mile or so to the start that could be ALL you need by way of warm up. If you are prone to stitches (see above) then you might want to do a bit of dynamic stretching, and a bit more of a warm up, including a handful of race pace strides. But otherwise, unless you’re taking the race very seriously, a bit of gentle jogging is all you need. I DO take it seriously (mid-life crisis and all that) but all I will do is jog a mile or so, stopping regularly to do some dynamic (not static) stretching, and will do 3-4 race-pace strides of 100m or so. That’s it.

Please don’t run half the race in the warm up! You will seriously regret it in the final mile of a 10k. This goes double for those entering the Half Marathon. Before a Half you’d honestly be better dozing like a kitten on the grass than doing a 30 minute warm up.

Once again, if you’ve never done the Bristol 10k before BEWARE the toilet situation. The organisers do a fantastic job in providing lots of porta-loos, but inevitably there are LONG queues.

Gentlemen, there will be some urinals provided. Please try and use those to allow the women to use the porta-loos. The pre-race hour is great fun, loads of atmosphere, and a chance to catch up with friends, and fellow Love Runners. The ONLY thing that makes it very stressful is needing the loo, and being at the back of a long queue when they’re telling everyone to assemble at the start. So please be considerate. If you didn’t go to the loo…erm, properly…before you left home, then this is your (essential) last chance.

A word on the Weather

As you know, it rained continuously between September and April, and the temperature didn’t get above 10 degrees in that time. OK, I’m exaggerating, but not much!

Now the sunshine has finally arrived – but we have not trained in the heat. We have not adapted to it.

Even if it is a glorious sunny day on the 19th May, those doing the 10k may be OK as it is relatively early in the morning. However, those doing the Half Marathon will be running when the sun is at its strongest.

There is nothing we can do about the sun. So don’t stress before the race; just stay in the shade, sip tiny bits of water, and be thankful its not snowing. And don’t overdo the warm-up as the warmer it is, the less warming up YOU need.

So don’t stress, but equally, please factor this in. You may have to adjust your target time, especially if the temperature gets above 20 degrees. Obviously, if it is cold and drizzly then nothing to worry about – other than sore nipples.

Get to the Start – and Where to Start

Getting to the Start Line of a mass-participation race like the Bristol 10k is rather like getting to a party. You don’t want to arrive while the hosts are still doing the hoovering, but nor do you want to leave it until all the food has gone and the beer is room temperature.

I would suggest you get in place 10 minutes before the actual start. Find your ‘wave’ – your race number will have a colour, and that colour corresponds to a particular wave. The pens will probably seem full, but runners are lovely people and will squidge up, and let you in. Don’t stand there in the (potentially) strong sunlight for 30 minutes. Equally, don’t try and shove your way in 30 seconds before the gun goes off.

The race organisers provide pacers who carry large signs saying what pace they are running at. So use these as guides to find a good place to line up. If you line up with people who are much quicker than you all that will happen is you will get swamped at the start, and it’s not very pleasant to have people rushing past you with the risk of some bumping and barging.

Equally, don’t line up with those running much slower than you, or YOU will be the person trying to squeeze past them, which will take up a lot of energy you need for the end of the race.

Once the race starts – how to pace yourselves

Every runner has a chip device in their printed number. So your time for the race will be taken the moment you cross the line, not when the starting-gun is fired. Therefore, don’t worry if you’re taking 15 minutes to cross the line. Your race does not start until you do. Equally, go by your watch, not the official clocks the organisers put up, as that will be recording the time of the leading man, not when your wave crossed the start line.

Most people start too quickly. Excitement, adrenaline, a nice, gentle decline towards the harbourside – these are all factors. So if it is a bit crowded at the start, and you feel you’re not running as quickly as you’d to, just relax, and tell yourself you will be glad for the easier start as you approach the finish. You will almost certainly be running quicker than you think. Remember 98% of people (probably!) slow down as a long race progresses. So anything you can do to run even pace will help.

Treat the 10k like two lots of three miles, with a final 400m to the finish line. So you should be feeling comfortable at three miles (or 5k if you prefer). If you’re struggling at half-way that is not great news, and you may need to accept that you’re going to be in for a tough rest of the morning. So anything you can do to curb your enthusiasm, and run in a relaxed, controlled, even-pace at the start will pay dividends in that tough second half.

For half marathon runners, you could think of the race as four 5ks with a nice sprint at the end! Or two 10ks with that final downhill finish. The extra distance means that, in effect, 10 miles is the equivalent to half-way. Maybe not for people who have run lots of half marathons, but definitely for those who have not raced this distance before. So do all you can to remain relaxed and in control to 10 miles. Then you can try and eek out every last ounce of energy over the remaining 3 miles. I very rarely meet someone so ruthlessly disciplined that they run too slowly in a race of this size. But if you are that special person, then you will have the inexpressible joy of coming through the field like a bullet-train in the final miles and will overtake suffering runners by the dozen. That is a great feeling – (or rather, I imagine it is, but I always go too fast at the start so I wouldn’t know!)

Get on the Bus

The best way to run even-pace is to follow one of the wonderful volunteer pacers. These will be experienced athletes who offer to run a fixed time (which is easily within their capabilities) and pace other runners to that time. So, for example, the 1 hr pacers will be in great demand for the 10k. So too (for fast runners) are the 1 hr 30 mins for the half-marathon. But there should be lots of them, all advertising different target finish times.

If you have an idea of what you’d like to run, and it coincides with a pacer, then just follow him or her. Obviously, if you’re PB is 53:24 for the 10k then you’ll just want to beat that, but for many people they will find that there is a pacer going about their speed.

So ‘get on the bus’ – which is runners’ parlance for slot into the big group following the pacer, and let the pacer do all the complicated maths in their head. You just follow them, and soak in the atmosphere, before sprinting past them at the end!

One word of warning – these ‘buses’ can often comprise hundreds of people, and they will fill the road with runners. So don’t get behind a ‘bus’ if you aspire to run much quicker. It can take ages, and lots of dodging and darting through gaps, to get past one.

Drinks Stations

There are loads of drinks stations on the course. So I would really recommend you don’t carry your own water bottle. Just grab one as you run past, sip at it for a bit, and then drop it off at the recycling bins a 100m or so further down the road.

Don’t drink too much. There is a greater danger of drinking too much rather than too little. I may not drink anything at all during a 10k race (but will have at least one bottle at the finish). Or if it is a warm day I might have a few sips, but that is it. I would drink during a Half Marathon, but again, not very much. Far better to be hydrated at the start of the race, and then drink properly at the end.

If you’re struggling with the heat, a good tip is to pour the water over the back of your head and neck to help cool down. But not down your front. (See the nipple section, above).

At the Finish

Just enjoy it! No matter when you finish, it will be an extraordinary experience to run through the centre of Bristol, on closed roads, and have hundreds of people cheering you.

Do try and grab a bottle of water at the finish, and the goody-bags for runners may contain a snack too I think. If you’re meeting with friends of family, then agree a fixed rendezvous point in advance, because if you’ve left your phones at home, or in your bag, then there will be no chance of spotting them otherwise. “See you at the finish” won’t work. Especially as the organisers will keep you moving away to allow space for all the remaining runners . “See you next to these traffic lights” will mean you’ll meet up easily.

Some people like to stretch. Personally I just like to walk about a bit, chatting to people, and by keeping moving I start to recover and avoid getting too stiff. The walk back to your car, or the bus-stop will help too.

The Day After – and Beyond

If you’re still reading this (and I am very grateful to you both) then you’re probably keen to use Love Running as a launchpad to future running enjoyment. So don’t just sit on your sofa drinking beer for the next fortnight. By all means, drink beer for a fortnight, but combine it with some gently jogging!

You’re very likely to feel stiff and sore the next day. But the best cure for this (I promise) is a really easy jog, hopefully during the late sunshine of Monday evening. Getting the blood flowing, breaking down that lactate in the muscles, reminiscing about how much fun the race was…maybe planning for your next race? It could be a parkrun, or another 10k, or even a full marathon. Whatever it is, I hope this might just be the start of your running (and racing) journey.

1 Week to Go

We’re about one week away from the Bristol 10k and Half Marathon.

Therefore, I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that there isn’t much you can do between now and the race to improve your performance.

The good news is that there isn’t much you can do between now and the race to improve your performance – so you can rest and relax and not worry about it!

OK, when I say rest and relax, I mean taper. That’s the technical term for dialling down the training you do in the run up to the race, so you’re climbing the walls like a caged tiger by the morning of Sunday 19th May, and will be ready to run your very best effort.

I usually run 6 days a week – (yes, I am a bit weird like that) – and I will probably jog most days in the run up to the race. But I will run a little slower, and for a little less distance. Two days before the race I will do a 20 min, very easy jog, and I will completely rest the day before. If you only run twice a week normally, then still run twice, next week. However, jog at a very easy pace, and give yourself, perhaps, two full days rest before the 10k. You can probably work out what to do if you usually run three or four times a week.

For those who are taking it a little bit more seriously than others, you might want to throw in a few ‘race-pace strides’ alongside your easy jogging. I will do 4 x 200m at race pace, with at least 3 mins rest in between each repetition. That way it is not an intensive workout, but I am still getting my body ready to run at race pace.

Why not try that at least once, (but no more than twice) during this final week? Maybe even visualise yourself starting the race, and relaxing, and looking good, and feeling excited…

Other than that, the only thing you need to do this week is REST. Nothing else needs to be on the agenda. (Except, possibly working for a living, studying for a degree, nurturing small children, doing the washing up etc etc….but you get what I am saying!)