12 ways running a half marathon (or marathon!) will remind you of competing

  • If you're looking to include some extra exercise in your life, running is one of the easiest sports to take up. But it can become addictive, and if you do find yourself signing up for a race, be it 10k, a half marathon, or even a full marathon, you may find there are several aspects of the training regime that remind you of your other sporting love...

    1. You will become completely, inordinately, obsessed with kit. You know how you analyse different brands of brushing boot or girth, and the impact their finer details could have on your horse’s performance? You will now apply the same obsession to graduated compression tights, the drop to weight ratio of running shoes and the thread rating of your socks.

    2. You’ll spend a disproportionate amount of your time wearing high-vis — whether it’s during roadwork for your horse, or yourself.

    3. It’s sometimes hard to admit it, but it’s often the thought of the shining silverware on offer that keeps you pushing towards your goal. The difference here, though, is that most races award you a medal simply for completion — maybe all equestrian competitions that don’t do this should take note…

    4. You’re convinced your performance would have been transformed if it wasn’t for that infuriating person who ran across your path, or tripped you up on a turn. Much like those riders who trash your warm-up, or make unnecessary noise at the side of ring.

    5. Mud, or torrential rain, is highly likely to play a role in the big day, except when you’re the one running in it you have even less chance of keeping your feet dry.

    6. The intricacies of a fitness programme, heart-rate training and efficient recovery strategies will occupy large portions of your thoughts — even if you never quite get your head around all the jargon.

    7. No one else will get quite as excited about training milestones as you do. Just as your friends don’t fully share your glee when your horse finally gets the hang of a flying change, they probably won’t totally appreciate the magnitude of the day you finally run 10k in under an hour.

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    8. You think nothing of wandering around a supermarket wearing pretty questionable attire. Dirt-smeared breeches, fluorescent calf supports – they all receive similar stares, but you probably won’t even notice after a while.

    9. You find yourself eating things you would never even contemplate in everyday life, whether that’s a ketchup sandwich because it was all that was left in the lorry fridge, or some strange yellow gloop calling itself a run gel.

    10, The logistics and timings of race morning will be planned in advance with military precision, and will almost certainly involve getting out of bed at some ungodly hour.

    11. No matter how well-prepared you are, come competition day there will almost always be a moment when you wonder what on earth you were thinking.

    12. You refresh the event photography site approximately 4,000 times during the week following the race, only to find that when your photos do finally appear, you have your mouth wide open and your eyes closed in every single one.

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine out every Thursday

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