10 important things to think about before you take part in Parallel London
1) Preparation! Don’t rock up to the event thinking it’ll be a breeze. Ideally, you should try and cover similar distances in preparation beforehand. At the bare minimum, try and do one long walk/run (allowing several days for recovery) in order to dust off the cobwebs. This will help in many ways and make it the fun and enjoyable day it should be.
2) Break in your shoes! If you’re tackling the event on foot, make sure you have suitable footwear and have broken them in sufficiently. The last thing you need is blistered feet. By wearing in your shoes for a few weeks prior to the walk, you’ll stand a much better chance of a successful enjoyable day.
3) Bring gloves! This applies to people using wheelchairs or any hand operated mode of locomotion. As with feet, hands can get blistered and you don’t want that during the run, or after the event so pick a suitable pair of gloves, ideally something with grip like a gym glove or sailing glove and break them before the event.
4) Set yourself a goal. This is easier if you’ve done the event before because you’ll already have last year’s time as a bench mark to beat. If you haven’t, use some of your practice runs to determine a target time which will give you something to aim for. At Parallel London, you get a timing chip which accurately records your run time. This helps in two ways: (i) It helps keep you motivated throughout the run, and; (ii) People love challenges. We love having a purpose and a target time makes the task more fulfilling if we can achieve the goal.
5) Get some support! Nothing encourages you more than seeing some familiar faces on the side-line cheering you on. Tell as many friends and family as you can about the event and invite them down to cheer you on. Try and make sure you know where they will be as this can be an additional motivator especially when you’re feeling a little tired, but you know they’re just around the corner.
6) Put your name on it! Why not get personalised motivation from people you don’t know? Get your name displayed clearly somewhere on your shirt or wheelchair so that willing supporters can cheer you on ALL THE WAY THROUGH! It really does make a difference when you hear someone shouting out your name.
7) Arrive fuelled up! Although there will be refreshments along the way, making sure you have an energy packed meal the night before and on the morning of the run will ensure you have the fuel to easily whizz your way around the course. High energy foods such as rice, pasta, oats and potato should do the trick.
8) Pump it up! If you’re using a wheeled method of locomotion be sure to check the tyres beforehand. Check the pressure and have a look through the surface of the tyres for foreign objects. The last thing you need is a puncture and small fragments of glass which have been sitting there for some time have a tendency to penetrate through and cause a puncture at the most inconvenient of times. I use a pin or needle to carefully prize out any shards of glass.
9) Plan your journey! As with most London events, travelling can take longer than planned so ensure to check your route on the day and leave with plenty of time. That way, you’re more likely to have a stress-free journey and will arrive relaxed and ready to go.
10) Look forward to it! Lastly, and most importantly – DONT WORRY! This is a fun event designed to get anybody and everybody into physical activity. All you need to do is make it to the start line on time.
So, look, make sure you implement the above guidelines, get a bit of practice and HAVE FUN!
Good luck! You’ll be awesome 🙂
Founder of Disability Training