Festive music, mulled wine, sparkling lights - Christmas Markets and Winter Wonderlands are one of England's best traditions. An excuse to have a lovely day out with friends and families, take in the country's most picturesque cities, and do a little retail therapy whilst you're at it. We have listed some of the most popular Christmas markets for you to visit this festive season. Start planning your ultimate winter trip for 2023 today.
6 reasons to run a marathon
Guest Blog – Laura Bailey, Marketing Executive @ Host.
Two days into the New Year, most people were recovering from overindulging at Christmas, and facing the dreaded return to work or study. But no, not me. I was busy booking my next – and biggest, challenge yet; I was signing myself up to run 26.2 miles in the Edinburgh Marathon 2020.
When I tell people I’m running a marathon, the first question I’m often asked is “am I running for charity?” – but my answer to that question is no.
So, if I’m not running for charity, why voluntarily put myself through weeks of gruelling training and the pain of running a marathon? Well, below are just some of the reasons why I’ve decided to run a marathon.
1. Me time
Whether it’s at work or at home, I spend a lot of my time doing things for other people; checking in, helping out and making sure everyone is ok. But running is all about me; it’s my time. It’s something that only I as an individual can do – I can’t cheat at it or get someone else to do it for me. And knowing that I am working towards completing a marathon already gives me self-fulfilment and satisfaction.
2. Who doesn’t love a challenge?
After completing my third half marathon in October, I said I was done with running races. But for those who know me well, they probably didn’t believe me. Why? Because I’m too competitive. Not with others, but with myself. If I’m not beating myself up and pushing myself to do better, then I’m not happy. I wanted to challenge myself and do something that would push me out of my comfort zone. I wanted to achieve something I’ve never done before. So, with a few half marathons already under my belt, a full marathon had to be my next challenge.
3. A new focus
Signing up for this marathon has given me something new to focus on. Getting good times and beating PB’s was always my aim when running – to the point where I became obsessed with speed! But now my main focus is distance. I’m upping the mileage week-by-week and trying not to beat myself up if my pace is slower than the shorter-faster runs I’m used to.
Being in training has also helped me become more focused with other aspects of my life such as my diet. I used to skip breakfast but now after a long run, I make sure I’m eating breakfast to ensure my body is well fueled. I try to avoid certain foods and drinks that are likely to make me feel groggy or lethargic if I know I have a long run later that day or the following morning.
4. To keep fit
We all know that running has many physical health benefits and is a great way to keep fit. So, it goes without saying that I’m doing this to help maintain my fitness. Not only am I training my body to the cardiovascular levels of fitness I need to run a marathon, but I’m increasing my strength training too. Having stronger muscles can help give extra power when running, improve balance and posture whilst running, but most importantly, help prevent injury.
5. To keep calm and carry on
Exercising isn’t just important for physical health, but for mental health too. And for me, I’ve always found running to be a great stress reliever and the perfect way to clear my mind. I find that running first thing in the morning sets me up for the day and gives me the confidence to take on the day and achieve more!
6. The bling
Whether you run, swim or cycle, one reason many people sign up to these events is for the bling and freebies at the end of the race. There’s really no better feeling than crossing the finish line and showing off your sparkly new medal to all those that you pass. Not forgetting to parade around in your finisher’s t-shirt. I mean it’s a great achievement so why not be proud of it?!
Those are just some of the reasons why I’m running the Edinburgh marathon this year and why you might think about doing something too. Of course, I’m not expecting you all to start running marathons, but why not take yourself out your comfort zone, try something new and set yourself a challenge?
The Edinburgh Marathon takes place on Sunday 24th May 2020. Keep an eye out for further updates and insight from me over the coming months.
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