Staff profile: Lucy runs Paris half marathon for Treloar’s
Meet Lucy Powell, Health Care Support Worker. She splits her time between working at one of Treloar’s residential houses and supporting students at HSDC Alton College. On a typical day, Lucy comes to Evans House and assists students with their morning routines between 7am-9am. The rest of the day, Lucy accompanies college students to HSDC Alton College, where she attends lessons with them, supporting them throughout their day.
After Lucy moved out of London and moved to Four Marks, near Alton, she found out about Treloar’s through a family friend and applied for a job. She joined Treloar’s in October 2022. Soon after, she found out about Treloar’s Active Events , and being a keen athlete already, she decided to take part in one of them and run a half marathon in aid of Treloar’s, fundraising money that goes towards providing care, specialist equipment and education for children and young adults at Treloar’s.
At the start of March, Lucy packed her suitcase and flew to Paris to run in the Paris Half Marathon. She has kindly shared with us her account of the trip and given us some useful tips for those who are thinking of running a half marathon but don’t know where to start.
7 things that will help you prepare for a half marathon
1. Pace yourself
When starting to train for a half marathon, it is important that you pace yourself. Don’t push yourself too much too quickly. Start with small distances and gradually build up the resistance.
I think it’s really tempting, when you are training, to try to jump between distances and that’s when you can burn out or injure yourself.
Being patient and taking your time to build up the distance are key, says Lucy.
Work may sometimes hinder our sporting endeavours, but Lucy says it’s crucial to stick to your training plan and being disciplined. We all fall victim to this overwhelming feeling of tiredness when we get back home from work. Unfavourable weather conditions are often in our way to going out for a run.
Discipline is a huge thing. There were times when I felt absolutely exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run, but you always feel so much better after it.
3. No last minute half marathon training
Leaving yourself time to train and prepare for the run is also essential. Don’t leave training for a race until the last minute. Three months for a half marathon should be enough for someone with a good running background, says Lucy.
Give yourself at least six months if you are a beginner.
In order to prepare yourself and your body for a longer run like a half marathon, good nutrition is essential. Without a good diet, starting a running routine can be risky.
I never really paid much attention to what I was eating when I was running, and how long of a gap I was leaving between eating and going for my run.
Lucy has learnt that ensuring that your diet includes slow releasing carbohydrates, not overeating and leaving big enough gaps after your last meal and your running session will have a massive impact on your results.
I noticed a huge difference in terms of my performance during runs when I didn’t eat enough compared to when I had the right amount of food.
5. Mental resilience
Mental resilience develops over time, says Lucy.
You don’t go straight into training being able to run really long distances and not give up. It takes time to be able to build up that mental resilience. You have to be patient with that. It’s all about practice – practising that resilience is key. It is hard when you are running and you constantly have this battle in your head: ‘I want to stop, my legs hurt, I will stop now and walk for a bit.’ It’s about ignoring that voice and carrying on as much as you can.
6. Right gear, right choice
Another tip Lucy gave us was investing in the right trainers.
I recommend going to a sports shop or a running shop to get your shoes. It makes such a difference. Without the right gear, you can easily get injured.
7. Be smart
Lastly, while planning your training plan, be sensible with it. Do not overtrain – leave yourself time and space to rest and have a break from running. Remember the benefits of mixing in different types of exercise, such as yoga, or pilates, not just running.
8. Be realistic
It’s not always easy to train for a big run while working full time, especially, in Lucy’s case, when your shifts are long. Lucy’s approach was to start with online research:
With the hours that I do, it’s not possible to print off a generic running schedule from the internet and follow it every day. It’s just not possible. With a ten-hour shift, I can’t fit in a 20K run in.
Consequently, to fit her daily routine, Lucy took some tips off different websites and simply made them work for her, incorporating them into her schedule. It’s about being realistic by having a rough idea of the level you are at, but not beating yourself down if you can’t follow it exactly, says Lucy. On the days Lucy went to work she did 2-3 short runs and during her day offs and weekends longer ones, allowing herself time to recover.
Things to remember when planning a race abroad
If the race you are taking part is overseas, check in advance the guidelines that outline what the requirements are for you to be able to participate.
One of the biggest things that almost caught me out was not knowing that you need a medical certificate.
Lucy says to thoroughly check the paperwork for the country you are going to and their requirements from participants, before boarding your flight. Do not leave it until the last minute, as it’s not helpful when you try to prepare mentally for both the trip and the race – the last thing you want is to be frantically trying to organise a health check at the last minute, for instance!
Additionally, check all the participants information carefully before, as in Lucy’s case, she had to go to the other side of Paris the day before the race to register. Plan as much as you can and check where everything is in advance because being in a foreign country and not knowing where things are can cause a lot of unnecessary stress before the race.
Moreover, plan your trip so that you have time to enjoy the city/town you will be staying in.
You don’t want to fly there, do the race and go home.
Lucy says that the fact she had a few days to enjoy Paris (a couple of days before the race, and a day and a half after) allowed her to immerse herself in that experience.
Another recommendation from Lucy is not to go on a trip like this on your own.
If possible, go with friends or family; it makes it a more special experience when you’ve got people supporting you. I had my sister and my best friend there and it was really nice and they cheered me on till the finish line.
How to motive yourself to start running?
Many people struggle with the lack of motivation to start running. Lucy’s tip is to book a run as it will motivate you to get out for a run. It will give you a purpose, a goal you can work towards.
Running my first half marathon was one of the toughest, but most rewarding challenges I have ever set myself. Whilst the first 15km flew by, I hit the wall at 16km and every part of me wanted to stop and walk. I managed to keep pushing and told myself that as soon as I had finished I could reward myself with a massive cheese fondue, and that’s exactly what I did! I think it’s safe to say I now have the running bug, and have signed up for my second half marathon in June. It was so great to run on behalf of Treloar’s and to know that the money I raised was going to help the students I see every day. Ultimately, running for Treloar’s was what got me across the finish line!
Challenge yourself and take part in one of Treloar’s Active Events!
Find the perfect event for yourself and fundraise for Treloar’s: from the famous London Marathon, cycling events, overseas and UK treks to thrilling bungee jumps and skydiving, there’s something for everyone to get involved in!