Q&A with SportsShoes x adidas ambassador Coach Saima
Written By: SportsShoes
How long have you been running for and are you excited for your half-marathon?
I started running after my son was born, 11-ish years ago and ran my first half-marathon 7 years back. I had a long break after due to my mental health, then picked it up again during Covid. I am excited and nervous about completing my half marathon as it’s been 7 years since my last one and I was a lot fitter back then as I was running and training 4/5 times a week. my endurance was also much better! Having this thought at the back of my mind made me nervous running this time round as I’m older, heavier, and not the same as I was 7 years ago. I also picked up am injury during training recently, so I guess my anxiety was also high which was another factor to consider.
How do you feel physically and mentally in the run up to your half marathon? Has there been anything that has changed your attitude towards it?
My training was stop start due to picking up shin splints which added to my worry of not being able to complete the half marathon. Positively, this has allowed me to become more focused, maintain my rehab and change my way of thinking whilst running. Before I would be worrying about pacing and not enjoying my runs, and the music I was listening to just didn’t align with me. With this in mind, I decided to switch from up beat fast pace songs to acoustic Latino/Arab music which decreased my anxiety, breathing and allowed me to check in with myself whilst running.
I remember one particular 15km run where throughout the distance I kept checking in and asking myself “How are feeling Saima? You good? I feel good. Ok, so keep this pace.” This was a game changer; my mood and confidence grew significantly which then improved my runs. This change allowed me to see the improvements I was achieving through my training.
What made you want to complete a half marathon?
As a PT, I know it’s always beneficial to train towards something and have an end goal in sight. Running was something I always wanted to improve on, fall in love with and have another tool for my mental health so it seemed like a no brainer to accept this challenge.
Is it more mind over matter? How important is it to have a strong mentality when performing a long-distance run?
I would definitely agree that it is more mind over matter. Whether you need to push through to get the distance, maintain your pace, or accomplish your desired time, our bodies are amazing at achieving anything we need it to but only when it’s powered by our mind. Our mind is our control centre.
I admit the first 3 km of my half marathon was the hardest, I found that being surrounded by others was an intimidating experience, especially when they were running past me! I kept debating and battling with my mind which was telling me I couldn’t run the 21km. I kept reassuring myself that I had previously ran 17km and knew how much this helped my mental health – This kept me going.
I switched my focus to certain distances of the course which allowed me to break the distance down into sections in my mind, before I knew it I was half way there, then 3km away from the finishing line! The feeling of being free, at peace and the challenge to see what my body mentally and physically can achieve motivated me to complete this.
What top tips would you give someone who is training for their first half marathon?
· At least 5-6 months to prepare for the run, with a well-structured training plan which includes strength and conditioning.
· Invest in a good pair of running shoes and comfortable clothing – this is essential!
· Plan and organise all running routes in advanced.
· Running with friends or family to keep you company.
· Keep the runs EASY!
· A good balanced nutritional breakfast to start every morning off with – stick to this for 2 months prior.
What are you wearing for your half marathon?
I am wearing adidas Boston 11, they’re a perfect in between trainer for those that are aiming for their PB’s but still want to run well. They have a good grip for trail surface, a sturdy base that doesn’t impact your shins and they’re also fast.
Pictured: Saima wearing the adidas Boston 11,
How did you feel after completing the run?
A lot better than I expected, I had no aches or pains and that felt amazing! I almost couldn’t quite believe I managed to complete the half marathon. With it being 7 years since my last half marathon I was relieved I successfully finished it and can now fully focus on improving my running for the next big run!
Is there anything in hindsight that you’d have changed in the build up?
No, I was meant to experience everything that I did and I wouldn’t change that. I learnt many lessons from my training which can take me forward. My experience has helped me love running more than ever before! The half marathon has massively improved my confidence levels and I am excited for the next stages in my running journey.
What would you say to other female runners who are wanting to complete their first half marathon?
It’s challenging but very rewarding. You’ll learn so much about yourself, your commitment towards your health and wellbeing and what you’re made of. You can reach out to other communities and connect with like-minded people who want the same as you through running. Running is an outlet that helps you mentally, improves your routine, habits and mental health. If you need a new focus in life that leaves you feeling a weight has been lifted, then give it ago!
Love Saima x