Great North Runners sign in here - hints, tips and support.

(48 Posts)
feetheart Tue 03-Sep-13 22:34:29

I got a place through the main ballot thanks to a link from someone on here, I'm coming up from Bedfordshire on my own, running for Winston's Wish and it will be my 2nd half marathon.
I have veered between major excitement and major paanic but now accommodation and train tickets are sorted and training is going OK I am starting to really look forward to it.

Who else is out there and what hints and tips have you got to share?

sallysparrow157 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:43:51

I'm doing it, having only ever done a couple of 10 k runs before, am going to struggle I think, running 8 miles or so reasonably comfortably but very slowly. Really looking forward to the atmosphere though, can't wait!

feetheart Tue 03-Sep-13 22:58:55

Slow is fine, I'll be right there with you. After 10 miles it is all about bloody-mindedness anyway.
Getting very excited about the crowds now as the first one I ran was at Silverstone. There were people in a few places and I did spot Bernie Ecclestone and David Coultard having a chat but there were far more runners than spectators.

tonightsthekindofnight Tue 03-Sep-13 23:53:29

Hey! Ive just got a place to run for a fab local charity, two weeks ago, as someone dropped out. I have done a few halfs before so am not too scared by the lack of time to prepare but I only gave birth 3.5 months ago so a bit scared of peeing myself on the way round!! Generally really excited for the day though!

CaptainWentworth Wed 04-Sep-13 06:54:49

Hello, have popped over from the S&B running gear thread! Thanks for starting this one feetheart.

I'm a GNR (and half marathon) virgin, but have always wanted to do it living in the NE. Entered the ballot a few times with no success, but got a charity place with action medical research this year through my work. Have a lovely spotty vest from them to wear on the day!

I've only done a 10k race before a few years ago, but have been enjoying the training. I have a pink race number so right at the back! I wanted to do a 10 mile run before the big day but have been feeling a bit under the weather last week or so so only did 7 miles last weekend. May try for 9 this weekend (did 4.6 last night and will do another 5-6 miles or so on Thurs) but not sure if I should be 'tapering' then. Telling myself adrenaline will get me round!

I was chatting to DH's aunt for tips as she's done the GNr 3 times- it was mostly common sense really. She did say to practice runnin with a bottle (which I haven't yet) for when you pick up water along the route. She also said they ran out of water at one station one year when it was hot, but thinks the organisers have learned from this!

tonightsthekindofnight Wed 04-Sep-13 10:07:25

From my experience captain, with one week to go, running your longest training distance would do more harm than good. I have always been advised to keep the frequency of sessions as normal in the last two weeks but cut the distance. Im sure if you have managed 7 you will be fine!

CaptainWentworth Wed 04-Sep-13 10:51:35

Thanks tonightsthekindofnight, that's reassuring- I was planning to do as you suggest originally but then was getting a bit worried I hadn't done the 10 miles. I did do 8 without a problem a couple of weeks ago, that's been my longest training run. So I will stick to my first plan after all and do shorter distances for my last few runs.

feetheart Wed 04-Sep-13 10:55:19

Hello CaptainWentworth, glad you found us smile
I would echo tonightsthekindofnight and not do a big long run a week beforehand, you really don't want to tempt injury. Saying that I am going to do about 7 miles tomorrow but after that it will be a few 3-4 mile runs until the big day.

Huge respect tonightsthekindofnight for running so soon after giving birth, I know I would have struggled big time to run for a bus at that stage both times. Spotty vest sounds good too - mine is turquoise (as, by sheer chance, are my running shoes) and if it arrives on time and I have the nerve I may wear a turquoise tutu as well smile

annieshaf Wed 04-Sep-13 14:44:20

I'm running the GNR for the first time aswell. It will be my second half marathon tho so I know I can do it but I now want to improve on last time! Don't think that will be so easy cos of the crowds but I am determined to enjoy it anyway. I am travelling to Newcastle with 4 other ladies from my running club on the Saturday so we are planning to go to the pasta party and soak up the atmosphere the day before.

Training was going well until my longest run which was just before I went on holiday and which really knocked me out. I had sore calves for about three days afterwards so must have overdone it a bit. I did a few runs on holiday but it was so hot that I was running at 2 mins/mile slower than usual so ended up a bit demoralised.

Hoping to do a short tempo run tomorrow morning and a good long run at an easy pace on Sunday and then some short jogs during the week to save energy for the big day.

tonightsthekindofnight Wed 04-Sep-13 18:00:23

I had planned on running tonight but it was my little boys first day at school today and I am shattered. I have been backwards and forwards from the school four times with the baby in a sling, not to mention the sleepless night I had worrying and the emotional exhaustion endured from sobbing this morning and afternoon after leaving him!

Anyone got any advise on eating before the race. I usually run on an empty stomach in the morning but am guessing I will need some fuel!!?

feetheart Wed 04-Sep-13 20:43:48

tonightsthekindofnight - sometimes life gets in the way of running doesn't it? Bet you are more drained than he is?

I'm an early morning runner on an empty stomach too but last time the race started at 11am so I had a banana and an Innocent Smoothie at around 8am. Nice and gentle and worked for me but no idea if it was the right thing to do.

Tiredemma Wed 04-Sep-13 20:46:16

I did it last year. It was quite simply amazing. Last two miles were tough and I cried in the last 800 metres because they seemed never ending.

The locals cheering you on really keep your spirits up.

Worse part of the day was the traffic at the end, 2 hours to drive 3 miles really put a pisser on the day.

feetheart Wed 04-Sep-13 21:06:27

tiredemma - I'll definitely be crying, a combination of exhaustion and exhilaration/pride I hope.

Was the bad traffic in the car or in the buses getting back to Newcastle?

Tiredemma Thu 05-Sep-13 08:14:53

Im not sure about the buses back to Newcastle - The cars going out back towards the motorway was horrendous.

Are you staying actually in newcastle and leaving your car there?

feetheart Thu 05-Sep-13 12:38:54

tiredemma - staying in Newcastle and getting the train home as am coming up from Bedfordshire.

Just done my last long run on a beautifully hot, sunny morning. Only 7 miles rather than 10 or so miles I should be doing but it went well so I'm happy (and hungry now smile)
Had a Facebook message this morning from GNR organisers about Red Arrows fly-past - that will make me cry too smile

HormonalHousewife Thu 05-Sep-13 12:53:53

Oooh I 'll be watching you on the telly. I love this !

Living in the NE this is not something you can not do. I've done it three times , DH once and sister and friends every year in between ! sadly we dont live there any more so I'll be watching on the sofa.

Get there early, put your stuff on the bus and have a wee. If you have a running pouch put a couple of £ in for the fare. I did this just in case my bag was stolen.

I used to have a bowl of porridge about 7 am and some water. I still needed a wee though once just past the stadium. If uou've got to go... you've got to go...

Water : They wont run out of water you wont need to run with a bottle if you dont feel comfortable with it. sadly, they have learnt their lesson.

Wear something old you can throw away at the starting line like a jumper. Its cold waiting sometimes. You can be there a long time before you start. Charities come around and collect it all at the end.

Remember its not one for a PB. There are too many people. Just have fum and enjoy the atmosphere.

They hand out jelly babies around the 9m mark if this is for you.

St Johns ambulance hold out vaseline for any chafing. Dont eat it like someone I knew !!!!

buses are the best way forward. We've done all sorts over the years but taking the car to south shield is a nightmare.

The red arrows are fantastic. If your an average runner then they will fly over the bridge and then 2 hours later when you are running along the sea front they will start their display.

Good luck and let us know how you get on. I'm very envious !

Tiredemma Thu 05-Sep-13 13:22:36

Theres moments where your heart is in your throat-

I walked from the Metro station across to the start area with my two friends who were running also- we were upbeat, excited etc. There are obviously thousands of people all walking the same route- as we turned a corner we ended up walking behind a couple who both had Tshirts on with a picture of the most beautiful young girl on (about 7 years old).

the text on the t-shirt told us that the girl was their daughter who had passed away from cancer. I have to say that was the most poignant part of the day for me- I ran the GNR because it was a personal goal for me- they ran in the memory of their daughter- everyone has a reason for running and putting themselves through what is not an 'easy' race.

I then look round me and see that so many people have similar 'stories' emblazoned across them and then I 'get' why this is such an amazing event.

You stand in the holding pens waiting to start and 'abide with me' is played - you look around and people are crying - so much emotion oozing through those holding pens.

all the way along the route you see people who are struggling being urged on by other runners and strangers - the locals are amazing.

At mile 10 I really felt like I could not go any further, my knee was killing me- I battled on for another mile and came across a St Johns Ambulance worker and asked if they had anything for my knee- she said no and suggested that i call it a day and quit. I started crying and just sat on the kerb for about a minute getting my breath and trying to get myself back 'together' - I was adamant that i was not going to give up.

I was in front of someones house and was trying to lift myself up to start running again but just literally couldn't get up, I felt these two arms on either side of me hoist me up. It was a middle aged lady and what I am assuming was her teenage son. They were merely spectating outside their house and came to my aid- they 'jogged/walked' alongside me for a few metres and pushed me back on my way.

Then ELVIS (who was in the back of a white transit van!) started shouting 'come on Emma" (name was on my top) and just gave me this burst of desire to get to the finish line (I could have really given up at this point)

Just after elvis you turn out onto the coastal road- you can see the finish (but it feels as if its taking forever to get to it)- all along this road people are screaming your name and urging you on. The most amazing feeling ever- when I crossed the line I was euphoric.

Im gutted that i can't do it this year ( I'm 38 weeks PG) but plan to do it next year. For me it was one of my biggest achievements in life. Don't under-estimate how this will make you feel.

please let us know how it goes! I will be watching the race (with newborn in arms) and no doubt lots of happy tears.


feetheart Thu 05-Sep-13 13:37:01

Brilliant posts HormonalHousewife and tiredemma - I have tears in my eyes even now smile
Know what you mean about people with pictures and messages - my first 'real' run was The Race for Life and I had tears in my eyes most of the way round as I read what people had written. I ran that one for my MiL and had got DD (then about 5) to write 'Granny Neale' on the back of my vest.

This one is for Winston's Wish - the brilliant childhood bereavement charity - and, indirectly, my Dad who died when I was DS's age (7)
I expect to be a sobbing wreck smile

CatsInCustard Thu 05-Sep-13 17:01:22

Don't worry about drinks. There are many feeding stands with various drinks and sponges of water if you're too hot. Bottles tend to get thrown on the floor afterwards but they get cleared at the end. I'll look out for you from the powerade stand

CaptainWentworth Fri 06-Sep-13 06:46:28

Well I went out and did 4.5 miles last night- didn't really enjoy it as much as usual as I'm still feeling slightly under the weather. I always get such a runny nose when I run anyway which I hate! Keep reading stuff about how I should be breathing through my nose but I think it would actually be impossible. Anyway planning to take it easy on my last few runs and not tempt fate. I feel like I peaked a couple of weeks ago with the training and just finding it hard now.

It's lovely to hear all the descriptions of the day- I'm really looking forward to experiencing it for myself. We live a couple of miles north of the start area (I go along Claremont Road on my longer runs) so I normally just avoid the city completely on GNR day because of traffic, road closures etc. My parents are coming down to spectate; they and DH are planning to meet me at the finish with my bag and then we'll all get the Metro back- prepared for it to be really crowded!

Hi, I'm doing it too, what distance would you say your last long run should be, I've done 18.5 k a few weeks back but not actually run the full half yet. Would 19 k be ok?
Thanks for any advice

feetheart Sun 08-Sep-13 08:14:23

My training has been curtailed whilst I got a knee injury sorted out so the longest I have run is 7 miles (not sure what that is in km!).
When I ran my first half-marathon the most I did was 10 miles - that was as far as the training programme got you to run, the excitement on the day gets you through the rest smile
I wouldn't do a long run at this stage - I did mine on Thursday and was a bit unsure if it was too close to the event but I seem to be OK. Have a few more 3-4 mile runs planned and excitement is building.

Off to Hyde Park concert today to dance A LOT - that counts as training to me smile

feetheart Mon 09-Sep-13 21:57:00

How is everyone doing?

Keep getting FB messages from the organisers which is building the excitement here smile

I have two gentle runs to do (tomorrow and Thursday), my bag to pack, a carrot cake to make and wine to buy for the friends I am staying with.
Better read all the race blurb I suppose.

feetheart Thu 12-Sep-13 09:14:32

Just done last run so that's me until Sunday.
Had a look at the weather - my sister works for the Met Office and sent me the link to their forecast here. Looks wet and windy at the moment - poo. Adds hat to packing list.

annieshaf Thu 12-Sep-13 13:33:33

Just done my last run aswell. Was trying to keep it steady but my running partner had other ideas! Not happy about the forecast and am off to get a bin bag to try to shape into some sort of rain cover to wear before the start. Don't think I'll change my plan on what to wear though as I always get too hot eventually.

Good luck to every one running on Sunday!

feetheart Thu 12-Sep-13 14:09:38

Hmm, bin bag, might have to consider!

CaptainWentworth Thu 12-Sep-13 15:16:15

Hello everyone- not long to go now, eek! What are you all planning to wear in the rain? I'm thinking bin bag while waiting (but not convinced anyone else will actually do this!) and just run in vest and get wet, but wear a cap to protect my eyes. Or perhaps I should put another layer on to avoid getting chilled?

I've ordered a waterproof cap from Wiggle but not sure it will arrive in time. If its raining I usually use an old cotton cap but it soaks up the water loads.

Not sure whether to give my stuff to my parents/DH and meet them at the end or put on baggage bus- what do you think? War to minimise the amount of time hangin about all wet and cold.

Getting really nervous now, sure I have forgotten something vital!

annieshaf Thu 12-Sep-13 16:25:24

There will be lots of bin bags walking around so don't worry you won't be the only one. My plan is to wear skort and vest as I get very hot running. I will wear tracky bottoms jumper and rain coat to the baggage bus. Then strip to old jumper and bin bag when I leave my bag which I can throw away at the start. I will have a full set of dry clothes in the bag on the bus to get changed into ASAP afterwards including dry shoes. Have done a wet half marathon before and had an annoying jacket round my waist for 12 miles despite the rain.

feetheart Thu 12-Sep-13 22:19:18

Very glad to have your input annie - hadn't thought about after the race!
Will be raiding DH's clothes for trackie bottoms etc as I am sadly lacking in such things (have already snaffled one of his old jumpers to wear at the start)

Danceasifnooneswatching Fri 13-Sep-13 09:29:35

I am driving up to Newcastle today and I am feeling very nervous for Sunday!! Good luck everyone smile

feetheart Sat 14-Sep-13 08:12:41

Good luck everyone, have a fantastic run and come back and tell us all about it.

K (No. 41,663 and running for Winston's Wish somewhere near the back smile)

Alreethinny Sat 14-Sep-13 11:45:58

Good luck everyone who is runningsmile Weather forecast for tomorrow is horrid, but as today is beautiful I'm hoping they have got it wrong.
Plenty of feeding stations on route, my offspring help out every year giving out drinks (Scouts), so you don't need to worry about carrying drinks. I've done it 3 times before, it's a fantastic run, so enjoy. As a local I'll be there to cheer you on, clapping and cheering till my hands are sore. I'll be huddled on a chair with an umbrella and flask of coffee, I'm thinking of adding a granny lap blanket for my knees if the weather forecast is right.grin
Have a great day!

annieshaf Sat 14-Sep-13 21:31:22

Ive driven up to Newcastle with a fab group of friends from my running club, been to the pasta party and watched some of the city games. I'm now in my hotel near Newcastle trying to have an early night. Too many butterflies in my stomach to allow that to happen at the moment. I really can't believe that I am here and that tomorrow I am going to join so many people running 13.1m.

Good luck to everyone else who is running, I hope that we can all realise our dreams without letting the weather get in the way!

sallysparrow157 Sun 15-Sep-13 19:18:48

How did everyone do?? And how wet did you get? I did 2 hrs 38, not fast but I did run all the way which I wasn't sure i would manage. Got absolutely drenched queuing for the metro, so so cold when I got back! It was bloody great though and I've already signed up for my reminder to apply next year!

annieshaf Sun 15-Sep-13 19:35:03

I did it in 1:59:24 which I was very very pleased with as I was hoping for under 2 hours. Was very tired in the last three miles and slowed significantly. However I loved every minute of it! The atmosphere was brill and the weather not as bad as expected although I also got wet afterwards in the queue for the metro out of South Shields.

Fantastic day and will def apply again.

sallysparrow157 Sun 15-Sep-13 19:44:51

Annie, that's a great time, well done! I struggled between mile 10 and 12 but sped up a little for the last mile as I knew I could get under 2 40 and it was nice and flat! The atmosphere was amazing, all the people who had braved the weather to cheer us on, the kids with their hands out for high fives, the red arrows and the jelly babies! Loved it!

tonightsthekindofnight Sun 15-Sep-13 20:01:30

I got round in 2 hrs 10 which I was a little disappointed in rewlly. My sister and I were given numbers from other people who had pulled out and they were in the pink zone k so we were stuck right at the back. Never got up to our normal running pace. Proud of my sis getting round for her first time though!

We too got stuck in the rain ans the queues, didnt get back to the car until 6.00. Never felt so cold and wet, had a little cry at one point. Didnt really expext to be out so long, 12 hours away from my 4 month old ebf baby and my boobs are ridiculous. Good job the rain hid the leaky patches!

All the moaning aside it was an amazing experience, wonderful atmosphere and I will be signing up for next year. Well done to all the finishers!

sallysparrow157 Sun 15-Sep-13 20:17:12

Tonight's, I was in pink k too, I know what you mean, took sooo long to get to the starting line and spent a lot of time weaving through walking people! Even the organisers say it isn't a run to get a pb on, more one to enjoy the atmosphere and just running with that many people!
Poor your boobs! Sports bra, ebf baby and 12 hours between feeds can not be a fun combination!!

CaptainWentworth Mon 16-Sep-13 07:57:59

Well done everyone! I finished in 2h 30- also a bit disappointed with my time. I was in pink zone j and we were waiting so long to start that I needed a wee again so had to make a portal ok stop after Heworth metro- that lost me 3 mins according to my Garmin. I deliberately went wry slow to start with but once I wanted to speed up after about halfway, I couldn't really as the road had narrowed and lots of people were walking. My average pace was 11 minutes something per mile, but I normally run about 10.15 ish.

I need to find a quieter half next time I think! Would do the GNR again as well though. Would prefer to start a bit closer to the front (with actual runners!) but not sure if they would let me as I didn't do a very good time this time.

Pleased I did it though! Worst bit was getting soaked straight after I'd put my dry clothes on off the baggage bus- I was really cold after that waiting for the metro and so were my parents and DH after hanging around in the wet all day- felt really bad for them too.

CaptainWentworth Mon 16-Sep-13 07:59:09

Sorry portaloo not portal ok!

Danceasifnooneswatching Mon 16-Sep-13 09:41:53

Well done everyone!! I knocked 12 minutes off last years time which I am pleased withsmile
I ache everywhere today though, the weather was awful i felt sorry for DH and DC hope everyone is feeling oktoday smile

feetheart Mon 16-Sep-13 10:09:20

Well done everyone smile

I got round in 2hrs28 which I was pleased with as I beat the 2.30 (and 7 secsangry) from my first half marathon last year. I was in Green Zone so shouldn't be a problem next year CaptainWentworth
Loved the atmosphere, the amazing supporters who were out in that weather, the music, the fact that I completely missed the 9mile marker so the Bupa Boost Zone was a pleasant shock, that I had enough left to speed up at the end and the Red Arrows flying overhead to start their display just as I turned onto the seafront at South Shields and doing the love-heart shape just as I crossed the finish line smile

Got cold and wet after I finished (though met some very funny local runners as we tried to shelter between the baggage buses whilst the rain ran down our necks!)
Wore my medal with pride on the train home last night and on the school run this morning smile

When do we sign up for next year?

feetheart Mon 16-Sep-13 10:21:07

tonights - I've just reread your post and am wincing at the thought of running AT ALL whilst EBF, to do it in 2hr 10 is mind-blowing.
Hope your boobs have calmed down and forgiven you today smile

Danceasifnooneswatching Mon 16-Sep-13 12:10:10

Already registered to receive email for next year which is on the 7thseptsmile

feetheart Mon 16-Sep-13 12:52:43

Dances - how?

tonightsthekindofnight Mon 16-Sep-13 13:11:51

Aww feetheart thank you so much for your last message, just had a little cry!! I have taken a bit of stick for my 'slow' time yesterday because my family and friends had high expectations! It has been really hard finding the time to train with a new baby and my body is still not back to pre-pregnancy shape. My friends don't have kids so not sure they appreciate how breastfeeding impacts! I was up most of Saturday night worrying if I had expressed enough milk, if she would take a bottle etc!

My boobs have just about calmed down but I think my little princess missed them as she has not stopped feeding since I got home!

Danceasifnooneswatching Mon 16-Sep-13 13:30:39

Wow tonights I think you did really well and should be very proud of yourself.

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