YOU DECIDE THE PACE
Need a few good reasons to dig out the trainers and start running? From keeping you happy and healthy to helping us save lives, here are 10 great reasons to start pounding the pavements!
READ THEIR STORY
This May, we want you to cover 26.2 miles in a way that challenges you. You can choose to clock up the miles over a few days, a couple of weeks or spread them throughout the whole month. Whether you do it at the park, in the gym or on the pavements, walk it with a group of friends, run with your canine companion, or sprint it alone, you decide the pace and you decide the place. Sign up now or find out more.
SIGN UP FOR MYMARATHON
Want to look extra swish whilst on your MyMarathon adventures or just fancy a souvenir to wear with pride? Get your MyMarathon t-shirt, wrist band or BHF running top today!
Find out more about MyMarathon
GET THE GEAR
Get inspired to run
10 Reasons to Run
total miles run
Get your My Marathon gear to show your friends and family you're raising money for the life saving research of the British Heart Foundation.
YOU DECIDE THE PLACE
Run in style
I loved that MyMarathon gave me the freedom to run in my own time, so there was no pressure to be at a specific start point at a certain time, something that's often impossible as a mum!
Now anyone can do a marathon
Where your money goes
For more information and answers to your questions, check out our FAQ page
MyMarathon is a marathon you can complete in a way that suits you! Whether these are the first miles you've ever run, you're a pro who makes running look easy, or you decide you'd rather walk it, you can complete MyMarathon this May in any way that challenges you - as long as you cover 26.2 miles in 31 days. All of the funds raised by MyMarathon participants will be used to fund our life saving research.
SIGN UP NOW
SEE HOW FUNDRAISING SAVES LIVES
When you sign up we'll automatically create an everydayhero online fundraising page for you, where you can track your fundraising, and your miles in one place. You can connect your everydayhero page to a fitness app or manually add your miles to your page, so you know how far you're running and can tell us when you've completed the full 26.2 miles. You'll get a link to your everydayhero page in your confirmation email after you register, so keep an eye out for this. Your everydayhero page works just like any other online fundraising page, it's an online fundraising platform where you can collect your donations, but also shows how many miles you've covered!
Get your My Marathon gear to show your friends and family you're raising money for the life saving research of the British Heart Foundation.
All you need to do it sign up using our simple online form! It's free to enter but you'll need to ask friends and family to sponsor you for taking on the challenge. We'll send you a few motivational emails to help you get fundraising and inspire you to run, then when 1 May comes round it's down to you to clock up those 26.2 miles.
READ THEIR STORY
WHAT IS MYMARATHON?
How does it work?
When you support MyMarathon, you'll be helping us save more lives. For every pound you raise or donate, we aim to spend at least 76p on funding life saving research, prevention and care, and we invest the remaining 24p to help us grow our income. Find out what you could help us buy when you take part.
MyMarathon really gave me the motivation to get out there and get running and I'd definitely recommend it!
What is it?
Got more questions?
How do I get involved?
Where to clock up your miles
Get the gear
Learn about setting goals
10 reasons to run
Get running advice
Need a few good reasons to dig out the trainers and start running? From keeping you happy and healthy, to helping us save lives, here are 10 great reasons to start pounding the pavements!
Track my distance
If you're new to running, getting going for the first time can seem like an impossible task. But the good news is that it only gets easier once you've started. To help you on your way, we've put together guides on what you need to do before, during and after a run: so you've got all the information you need to help us beat heartbreak forever by taking part in MyMarathon.
Find your running technique
What to eat and drink
Whether you're looking for your first running route or you just want to mix it up, we've put together a few tips to help you decide where to clock up the miles.
From top tips to help you clock up the miles, to some great places to run, we can help keep you on track until you reach your finish line.
Advice to make your MyMarathon experience as enjoyable as possible - from clothing to breathing to stretching.
START LOGGING YOUR MILES
All the gear, none of the fear
Get nutrition advice
The beauty of MyMarathon is that there's no need to buy anything to take part. But if you've caught the bug and want to invest in your new hobby, or are simply looking for another reason to shop, here are our three essential purchases.
Before you even head out the door on your first run, it's worth considering what you want to achieve from it and setting some goals to help you get there.
Get tips on where to run
Find out how to track your miles using a fitness app, and learn how to connect it to your everydayhero page to show your friends and family how amazing you're doing!
Before you run
10 rules of running
You might think running is just 'fast walking', but there's a bit more to it than that - and it's easy to get it wrong if you're rusty or new to running.
There's nothing like exercise to make the tummy rumble and the mouth parched. But what's the best thing to eat and drink and how much should you have?
During your run
What to do before, during and after your runs
You went the distance and then some! This winner's medal will be a permanent reminder of your champion achievement.
Raise £150 - £299*
DOWNLOAD SOCIAL PIC
Raise £300+ *
Kickstart your fundraising by downloading this pack full of materials to help the pennies flood in. Including a sponsorship form to help collect any offline fundraising, posters to make sure everyone knows what you're up to, a tracker so you can keep on top of your miles, a time trial sweepstake to help raise some extra cash and a certificate to put up when you finish!
You really made those miles count, so it's time to pat yourself on the pack, step-up to the top of that podium and claim the ultimate award, with this exclusive MyMarathon trophy
You've gone for the gold so show off your achievement with this exclusive pin badge. A permanent reminder of those miles you've proudly conquered.
Raise £75 - £149*
Are you a Facebook poster, a Tweeter, an Instagrammer - or all three? Either way, our social pic is are the perfect way to tell everyone about your challenge. Make sure you share your page link too, and use the hashtag #MyMarathon to see what other MyMarathon-ers are up to.
We value all of our MyMarathon fundraisers - every donation, no matter what the amount, powers our life saving heart research - so thank you! If you're going the extra mile with your fundraising, we feel like you should reap the rewards. Pay your fundraising in in by 30 June 2018 and youll get your hands on a permanent golden reminder of your challenge. *Terms and Conditions apply
DOWNLOAD FUNDRAISING PACK
MyMarathon pin badge
Take your fundraising all the way to the finish line! We've got lots of downloads to help you raise as much as possible to support our life saving research. And the more you raise, the more likely you are to get one of our fundraising prizes. Don't forget to share your progress on social media using #MyMarathon to show your friends and family how well you're doing!
Donate to the BHF now
Pay in fundraising
Find out how to pay in your fundraising
Support our life saving research by making a general donation to the British Heart Foundation. Find out more about where your vital fundraising goes.
READ THEIR STORY
Search for a participant
Thank you for taking part in MyMarathon, or supporting one of our amazing participants. Here's how to donate to a MyMarathon runner, or get your sponsorship money over to us.
Donate to a participant
Find out how to pay in fundraising online, by post, or over the phone.
I exceeded my expectations - the whole event was a really positive and inspiring experience.
Get your My Marathon gear to show your friends and family you're raising money for the life saving research of the British Heart Foundation.
Donate to BHF
Donate to a MyMarathon champion you know, or to yourself.
Yes, you can order t-shirts and wristbands from our online shop.
We don't send a MyMarathon fundraising pack in the post, but you still can access freebie downloads, tips and advice from the MyMarathon website, and if you want to get inspired check out #MyMarathon across social media. Don't forget to 'like' the dedicated MyMarathon Facebook page too.
If you need help using your fundraising page, making a donation, or anything else everydayhero related, their dedicated support team can help you out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help, or can't find what you're looking for. You can also give them a call on 0845 680 97920. Alternatively, check out their FAQs for technical queries and lots of tried and tested tips to give your fundraising an extra push.
We advise you to do whatever is within your ability but is still challenging. If you don't feel able to run 26.2 miles in May, you can walk it. If you're a wheelchair user you can still complete 26.2 miles in any way that challenges you. Making sure it's enough of a challenge means people will be more likely to sponsor you.
If you've been using MapMyFitness or Strava whilst completing your miles we'll have a running total and will automatically know once you've finished. If you're not using one of these apps, you can manually update your fundraising page with the running total. Find out how to do both here. Alternatively, let us know by emailing us at email@example.com
If you want to be eligible to receive one of our fundraising prizes, make sure you pay in before the 30 June 2018.
Signing-up to MyMarathon is free! But we do encourage everyone to raise as much as they can to help fund the BHF's life saving research.
The fundraising section on our website has lots of tools to help you raise money for our life saving heart and circulatory research. You'll find our printable sponsorship form here too, for any in-person fundraising.
Gift Aid is a Government scheme that adds 25p to every £1 donated, at no cost to the donor. Charities are able to claim this 'extra money' from tax that people have already paid. To allow us to claim Gift Aid, the donor has to be a UK taxpayer and have paid sufficient Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover the amount BHF will reclaim in the tax year. Please make sure you send your Sponsorship form to us so we can claim it.
The challenge runs from 1 May to 31 May (or however long it takes you from the 1 May to complete your 26.2 miles). But you can start fundraising as soon as you want to!
MapMyFitness and Strava are both a training apps which track and record your distance. everydayhero is partnered with both of them, which means you can choose one of them to track your runs, link your fundraising page to MapMyFitness or Strava and your page will then be updated every time you complete a run. That way your donors can see how you're getting on. Fundraisers who use this feature raise an average 46% more!
If you don't think you can complete 26.2 miles in May, but want to give the challenge a go another time, you won't be able to take part in MyMarathon officially, but we'd encourage you to clock up 26.2 miles and raise money to fund our lifesaving research another time anyway!
MyMarathon challenges you to complete 26.2 miles in May. Whether it takes you 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks, you can get out there as much as you need to clock up your miles over the month. Watch the MyMarathon video for a bit of inspiration.
The best way to start is by getting out there to see how far you can run or walk in one go! You can work on building this up as the month progresses. Our get going section is filled with tips to get you started.
Wherever possible, ask people to donate directly to your fundraising page. That way, the money will come to the British Heart Foundation automatically. Easy peasy. If you've collected cash, you can pay the money in yourself (using a credit or debit card) to your fundraising page. Or send a cheque (made payable to the British Heart Foundation) to: MyMarathon. British Heart Foundation, Lyndon Place, 2096 Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, B26 3YU If you're making an offline donation please fill out a Sponsorship Form and tick the Gift Aid Box.
Don't worry, if you don't want to use a fitness app, you can still let us know how many miles you've done through your fundraising page by manually updating it using the simple steps here. Alternatively you can keep track by using our downloadable paper tracker, which you can download as part of the fundraising pack.
The great thing about MyMarathon is that you can choose to complete your miles wherever you like, whether that's at the park, in the gym, or pounding the pavements with your friends by your side. You decide the pace and you decide the place.
We'll know about any of the miles you complete using your fitness app (as long as it's linked to your fundraising page). If you forget to use an app for any of the miles, you simply need to manually update your fundraising page. When you're doing this, don't manually log any miles that you've used a fitness app to track - we'll already have those logged.
everydayhero is an online fundraising platform which you can use to collect your donations. Your fundraising page will be set up automatically when you sign up for MyMarathon. There's details on how to log into your everydayhero page in your confirmation email you receive after signing up. Share your page with friends and family to encourage them to donate to you!
Is there a fundraising kit?
What is Gift Aid?
Do I have to run? Can I walk?
What if I don't want to use a tracking app? How can I track the miles I've completed?
Can I order merchandise items?
How do I get help with my everydayhero fundraising page?
How do I pay in my money?
Can I only do MyMarathon in May?
What is everydayhero and how do I use it?
Is there any guidance you have to help me get started?
Do you have anything to help me with my fundraising?
Is there a registration fee?
What happens if I only use the fitness app to track some of my miles and forget to use it for some?
When is MyMarathon?
What are MapMyFitness and Strava and how do I use them?
How long do I have to pay in my money?
What is MyMarathon?
How will you know when I've finished MyMarathon?
Where is MyMarathon?
TERMS & CONDITIONS
What is MyMarathon?
So running can make your brain happier and make you look and feel healthier? Sounds like the perfect recipe for feeling good about yourself. Good self-esteem is so important; just a little bit of confidence can go a long way to making life better. And anyone wearing something skin tight and hi-vis definitely has confidence, right!?
Just like your ticker, the lungs love a bit of hard work every now and then. It makes them stronger and increases their capacity - so you'll soon find yourself gasping less when you dash for the bus.
Research from Cambridge University even suggests a correlation between faster long-distance running and higher sex drives and sperm counts. Reports that this study was funded by the Cambridge Gents Jogging Society are yet to be confirmed.
Not only does running do all these amazing things for you, it can also be used to help others too. By getting out there and running 26.2 miles in May, you can raise money to power the British Heart Foundation's life saving research. Now you've got no reason not to sign up to MyMarathon 2018!
As your feet pound into the pavement and you feel the vibrations in your joints, it may feel like your skeleton is none too pleased with you. But the truth is, running actually makes your bones stronger. When your bones are under stress, your body sends them essential minerals, improving their density. And apparently you can ignore the myth that it'll ruin your knees - some experts say running is actually good for them.
Well, we are the BHF - we were always going to start here. The heart is a muscle. And like any muscle, if you work it hard you make it stronger, better at its job and more efficient. Running does just that. Your arteries also feel the benefit - keeping fit helps stop them furring up, which is nice. Chuck in lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, and you've got yourself one happy heart.
Simply put, regular running builds up your tolerance to those nasty germs that cause illness and ruin all your fun. Exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day has even been shown to significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
Running is a great way to burn off calories, and using up more calories than you take in helps you lose weight, or maintain a healthy one. And a healthy weight is incredibly important for your all-round health, especially for reducing the strain on your heart.
That's right, running does wonders for your largest organ too. No, not that one - we mean your skin. From that 'instant glow' to acne relief, exercise and dermatology experts report all sorts of cosmetic benefits to running. They even say it can strengthen your hair!
Nope, we're not only talking about the moment when it's all over! Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins. These help to reduce pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body. Researchers from Sweden even suggest that exercise lowers levels of kynurenine (endorphins' evil twin), which builds up during times of stress and may be linked to depression.
10 reasons to run
2. Let's not forget the lungs too
Running is pretty popular right now - you can't get from A to B without seeing a few lycra-clad folk out for a leisurely jog or doing laps in the park. But that doesn't mean it's easy! When even the most callus-footed runner gets puffed out and achy after a mile or so, it's easy to wonder why people put themselves through it? Well, for some very good reasons indeed…
9. It boosts your immune system
7. It's good for your insides
4. It keeps you trim
1. It's great for your heart
10. It saves lives!
5. It improves your self-esteem
6. It makes you a better, uhmm, partner
3. It makes you happy
8. ...and for your outsides too
7. The 10 degree rule
10. The friend rule
5. The right side rule
2. The stretch later rule
1. The slow breathing rule
6. The good shoes rule
Put these tips to good use by signing up to MyMarathon and run 26.2 miles throughout May in a way that's a challenge for you…
3. The 2 hour rule
8. The 2 days rule
4. Run more often rule
9. The strength training rule
10 rules of running
Research shows that building muscle improves your health, reduces injury risk and may even improve your running performance. You don't need to hit the gym either, try an equipment free workout at home.
So you're new to running and aren't quite sure where to start? Luckily for you, we've got advice to make your MyMarathon experience as enjoyable as possible - from clothing to breathing to stretching.
Stop stretching before you run! It actually hurts your performance and potentially sets you up for an injury. Instead, walk briskly for two minutes, then move to a slow jog for two minutes, and then it's time to take it to max speed.
To keep safe, run facing traffic. If you're running on a road it's better to have traffic coming towards you where you can see it, rather than from behind you.
It's 6am and it's freezing outside. You might be tempted to wrap up for your run - but halfway through, you'll heat up big time. Dress like it's 10 degrees warmer than it actually is and you'll be a lot more comfortable.
Running with a friend means you have less chance of skiving off. Not only that, but having a chat with a running partner makes those miles go a little quicker.
Gasping down air might seem like a great idea but actually you're stopping that nasty CO2 in your lungs from getting out. So slow down your breathing, relax a little, and you might just find running is a little easier.
You might look at those battered trainers in your cupboard and think "they'll do" but wearing good running shoes is critical to avoiding injury. So go on, treat yourself. Your feet will thank you.
Slowly increase the length of a weekend run until running for a couple of hours is a breeze. Then have two to three runs in the week as steady general purpose training. When you can take that all in your stride you can consider upping your running sessions..
If something hurts for 2 days or more, take a break from running. It might be that you're developing an injury so it's best to just put your feet up for a bit.
Wait for about two hours after a meal before running. If you don't wait long enough, your food won't have time to digest which increases the chance of abdominal cramps, bloating, and even vomiting. No one wants that!
If you're lucky enough to have a park close your home or office, running to and from it could make up part of your route. You'll get a change of scenery from the streets around your house, and most parks will have clear paths for running and other runners you can take your cues from if you're a novice. If you have to travel a little further to get to your local park, make it a weekend treat, to ensure you're not tempted to hit the snooze button and abandon your run once Saturday comes around.
Although most of us find it easier to run while listening to music or podcasts, it's important to keep the volume low enough that you can hear what else is going on around you, as you can't always rely on sight alone - particularly when a bike, car or other danger could be coming from behind you. Varying your route is another great way to ensure you stay aware of your surroundings when you're on a run, as when you see the same sights every day and become familiar with your surroundings, it's easy to stop paying attention to what might be going on around you. Need some more inspiration on different running routes near you? The MapMyFitness website has lots of suggested routes in local areas across the UK.
Where are you going to run or walk for MyMarathon? For veteran runners, pounding the same pavements day after day can get boring - and newbies might not know where to get started! Whether you want to mix it up, or are just looking for your first running route, we've put together a few tips to help you decide where to clock up the miles.
If you happen to live on the coast, a seaside run could be just what you need to get motivated. A path near the sea is probably your best bet, as running in sand across the beach can be quite difficult (and messy!) but if you're up for the challenge we're not going to stop you! For those of us who live inland, it can be just as calming to run by a canal or river, and they tend to have paths running along them - but remember to plan a round trip before you start, otherwise you could find yourself at the end of the canal or a couple of miles down the river with no way to get back home!
The most obvious place to run is on the streets around your neighbourhood. Not only is it literally right on your doorstep, but you should know the area well enough to not get lost if you accidentally take a wrong turn! Planning out a route before you start will commit you to completing a certain distance and stop you from running in circles, and if you want a bit of variety, you'll also be able to change the route each day.
If you've decided to take up our advice and will be running in a park or by water, stick to well-lit paths that aren't too remote -particularly if you often find yourself running after work, when the nights are drawing in. Not only will staying on established paths with good lighting mean you're more aware of who and what is around you, but these paths are likely to be flatter and easier to run on than 'off-the-beaten-track' trail - and if there are any tripping hazards, the lights will make them easy to see. If you're going around your local area, make sure to face oncoming traffic when running along roads, and wear visibility clothing - or just brightly coloured running gear - so you're easy for any approaching cars to see.
You don't have to pound the pavements to take part in MyMarathon - we don't mind how you clock up your miles, as long as you do them! So if you've got a gym membership, make the most of it over the course of the month, and do your running there - at least you know you'll stay warm and dry on miserable days.
Where to clock up your miles
4. By water
1. Close to home
3. In the gym
2. At the park
Read any beginners guide to running and you'll see lots of suggestions of 'technical' tops, with 'extra breathable' material to 'wik' away sweat. A technical top may be a worthwhile purchase if you start to run for long periods. But all you really need is something loose and comfortable in a breathable material, like cotton. And if you're looking for the perfect cotton T-shirt, check out the MyMarathon shop. Women might also consider buying a sports bra. It's sturdier than a regular bra, and provides additional support.
The beauty of MyMarathon is that there's no need to buy anything to take part, and there's no expectation for you to train before May. But if you've caught the bug and want to invest in your new hobby, or are just looking for another reason to shop, here are our four essential purchases.
If you're a wheelchair user, some gloves may help prevent your hands getting sore or injured whilst clocking up the miles.
If you're running or walking MyMarathon, you won't set a personal best in slingbacks or sandals… Don't be put off by all the technical jargon about your running style, though. Just get something comfortable. And don't feel you have to break the bank to get the same shoes as Mo or Paula - you can pick up a decent pair for around £30. Shop around for a bargain, check out sales to get last season's shoes for half the price - you might even find a pair at the supermarket. And to really take care of those tootsies, you could get some running socks to reduce your chance of blisters.
With MyMarathon happening in May, the chances are we'll see some rain! A lightweight shower proof jacket and a pair of leggings could come in handy. So that should be you all set to complete a marathon. Well, that and a well-maintained fundraising page. It'll help keep your friends updated with your progress throughout May- and give you a chance to share pics of your snazzy new sports gear!
All the gear, none of the fear
Come rain or shine
How to keep track without using a fitness app
Linking your fundraising page to a fitness app is a great way to update everyone with your efforts. Plus it's proven that fundraisers who use this feature raise on average nearly double the amount of those that don't! Your runs will come up automatically on your activity feed once connected to your chosen app. To see how many miles you've run so far, click the 'Click here to see total miles' button. This will be on the right hand side on a desktop computer and at the bottom of your page if on mobile.
Watch this short video guide on how to connect your fundraising page to Strava.
Now every time you complete more miles, your fundraising page will automatically be updated- as long as your fitness app is on, of course! . It's that easy, and it's the perfect way to show your sponsors how far you've gone and how their donations will keep you powering through to the finish-line. Note: Please make sure your runs and profile on the running apps are set to public - if not they will not show on your fundraising page.
Map My Fitness
Watch this short video guide on how to connect your fundraising page to Map My Fitness.
Download the Map My Fitness mobile app here
Download the Strava mobile app here
Click 'post' and then refresh your page - it should now appear in your feed.
Track your miles with a fitness app
Once you've logged in, just below the 'Post an update' box, you'll see 'Fitness' with a runner. Click on this and it will open up a box.
Edit the number of miles, your duration, and the time of day you completed your miles by clicking on the links.
If you'd prefer not to use a fitness app you can still easily keep track of your miles through your fundraising page by manually updating it using the simple steps below. That way your sponsors will still be able to see how you're progressing:
Go to your fundraising page - Or if you haven't logged in yet, follow the link we sent in the confirmation email after you registered.
£75 will get you a MyMarathon pin badge
We can do more together
Our supporter promise
Start making change happen
£300 will get you a MyMarathon trophy
By taking part in MyMarathon or sponsoring others to do so, you'll be part of an amazing team raising vital funds to beat heart and circulatory diseases. Over the last 50 years, these donations have helped to make the research breakthroughs that have halved death rates from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. We've set all our MyMarathon runners the challenge of raising as much as they can, but don't forget if you raise £75 or above, you'll receive an exclusive My Marathon badge, medal or trophy. However, any amount that you raise will help us make a huge difference to the lives of people affected by heart and circulatory diseases.
£1000 will get you a mystery prize
£150 will get you a MyMarathon medal
What your donations buy
We are committed to fundraising in an open and transparent way, and ensuring that every donation we receive helps fund our fight for every heartbeat. To find out more, read our supporter promise.
If you're feeling inspired to help us fund life-saving research today, you can sign up for MyMarathon, get fundraising tips, or donate to a runner.
And could help to buy all the protein building blocks our scientists need in a month as they try to build new working heart tissue for people with heart disease.
And could pay for enough researcher toolkits (that's all the test tubes, flasks, dishes and gloves a heart attack researcher needs) to keep a busy research team going for over a week.
And could help to pay for one day of a project to build new, healthy pieces of heart. In the future, this new heart tissue could be used to treat heart failure.
Last year, over 10,000 people registered for MyMarathon and raised over £450,000, and this year we're hoping to beat that! If we raised £500,000 this year we could help fund essential building refurbishment in a heart failure research lab and buy major items of equipment to support their research. Or if even more of you signed up and we raised 1 million pounds, we could help to fund a five-year research project into heart attacks including salaries, equipment and lab materials needed for the project. Seven million people in the UK still live with the daily burden of heart and circulatory disease and it's responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths. There's still so much more we need to do. With your continued support, over the next 5 years we will fund more than half a billion pounds of cardiovascular research that could save many more lives.
And could help one of our early career researchers carry out a day-and-a-half of research. We currently fund around 500 post-doctoral scientists, who work in research teams right across the UK on projects to better understand how to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure heart disease and circulatory conditions.
When you signed up the MyMarathon, an online fundraising page with everydayhero was automatically created for you. Using this page is the quickest, simplest and safest way to fundraise. You can access your page here, or if you haven't logged in yet, via the confirmation email you received when you registered, and if you've been collecting sponsorship online through your fundraising page,you don't need to do anything else as this will automatically come to the BHF. Easy peasy! You can pay in on our BHF website. If you've collected cash, you can pay the money in to your own fundraising page using a credit or debit card. If you can't find the link to fundraising page you can find yourself (or another MyMarathon participant) here. Alternatively, you can send a cheque (made payable to the British Heart Foundation) to: MyMarathon. British Heart Foundation, Lyndon Place, 2096 Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, B26 3YU. If you're sending a cheque please fill out a sponsorship form and tick the Gift Aid box. If you'd like to make a payment over the phone using your credit or debit card, please call the Team on 0300 330 3322. Our lines are open Monday - Friday 09.00 to 17.00.
Paying in your fundraising
Your goals can be as simple or adventurous as you like: from 'run to the lamppost at the end of my road without stopping' to 'run 5K in less than 25 minutes'. But remember, if you're over optimistic and make your goals too challenging, you might not feel motivated to continue if you can't meet them. Whatever goals you decide to set yourself before you start running, the important thing is to make sure they're SMART. This means your goals should be:
READ: DURING YOUR RUN
Before you even head out the door on your first run, it's worth considering what you want to achieve from it (besides clocking up miles for MyMarathon, of course!), and setting some goals to help you get there. This stops you from running without a clear aim, and giving up before you really get going.
Now you've got some goals to work towards, it's time to get inspired to meet them. If you're struggling to get off the sofa, here are a few things to remember:
Before you run
• Remember it's mind over matter: You might not have stepped into a gym since last year, or not be able to remember the last time you ran for anything other than the bus, but that doesn't mean you're not cut out for MyMarathon! The most important thing is believing you can do it - and since you accepted the challenge, you're already half way there! So put on your running gear and get out the door. • Share your challenge: The more people you tell you're taking part in MyMarathon, the more difficult it'll be to give up on it. So talk to your friends and family about your runs, ask colleagues to sponsor you, put it on Facebook and Twitter, or Instagram your running selfies: anything to keep you committed to finishing! • Make time for running: We all have busy lives, and it's definitely tempting to cancel a run in favour of more exciting plans. But if you're going to run 26.2 miles over the month, it's important to stick to a schedule. Try putting regular runs into your diary, and making your other plans around them once they're there. • Create a playlist: It's much easier to clock up the miles when you've got a motivational soundtrack to keep you company. Before you head out, load some up-tempo, feel-good songs into a playlist to help you get in the zone. • Power through: We've all been there. You're enthusiastic, you've got your shiny new running shoes on and you're off. 10 minutes later you've got a stitch and you're struggling to breathe. It's always hard for the first few days so keep it up and don't be hard on yourself - it will get easier eventually, and when the endorphins set in, you might even find yourself looking forward to a run! • Be confident: Lastly, everyone can feel self-conscious when they're out running but just remember that by challenging yourself and taking part in MyMarathon, you're doing something amazing to help us beat heartbreak forever: so head out there with confidence.
• Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve? How far do you want to run, or how fast? • Measurable: How will you know when you've achieved your goal, and how will you measure it? This will usually tie into the 'specific' part of your goal, as there should be an easily measurable element, such as distance or time, which you can break up into smaller chunks to measure your progress. • Achievable: Make sure it's possible to achieve the goal you're setting yourself. Do you have the time to complete it around work and personal commitments? Will the weather or nightfall make it difficult to run for as long as you want? If these, or any other factors you think of, will hinder your progress, rethink the goal. • Realistic: Similar to 'achievable': are you capable of reaching this goal? Think about what you'd feel comfortable doing, and up it slightly to create a realistic - but challenging - goal. If you're finding it too easy once you've started, you can always push yourself a little more. • Time: How long is it going to take you to meet your goal? A week? A fortnight? A whole month? Decide on your challenge, lace up your running shoes, and get ready to go!
• Good posture is key: Keep your head and chest upright, and relax as much as you can. Don't hunch your shoulders since this will restrict your breathing - and that tends to be quite important when you're running! Lean forwards slightly to avoid placing pressure on the hips, too. • All in your stride: Avoid reaching forward with your foot and lengthening your stride, and keep your steps as light as you can to lessen the stress on your body. • Angle those elbows and relax those hands: Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less, with your hands loose and below your chest. If you're holding a phone, or your dog's lead, swap hands halfway through. Try to swing your arms back and forth, rather than across your body. • Land on the middle of your foot: This is the safest way to run since it makes sure your foot lands below your hips. Avoid hitting the ground with your forefoot or heel first. • And… breathe: Avoid shallow, quick breaths, and breathe through your mouth as much as you can. It's OK to use your nose too; but make sure you're taking at least some of your breaths from your mouth.
You might think running is just 'fast walking', but there's a bit more to it than that - and it's easy to get it wrong if you're rusty or new to running. The last thing you want when you're completing the MyMarathon challenge is to come down with an injury, so we've pulled together some top running techniques to help you out, and make all the effort and exertion that little bit easier on you.
READ: AFTER YOUR RUN
During your run
READ: BEFORE YOUR RUN
READ: DURING YOUR RUN
Running a few times a week will mean your body is burning more calories, and you may feel hungrier than you usually do. However, it's easy to overestimate how much more you can really eat - and if weight loss is part of the reason for your running, it's easy to wipe out your deficit entirely with a couple of extra snacks! Try to keep your diet balanced and filling to combat any post-running hunger pangs: Up your energy levels with carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes (wholegrain is best for your heart) and chuck in the essential fats you get from things like oily fish, nuts and seeds. Fish and nuts are also good sources of protein, which is essential for repairing muscles after a heavy workout.
Don't exercise on a full stomach (or an empty one)
Exercising more doesn't necessarily mean you can eat more
Now you've read all our tips to help you get started
We hope you're feeling ready to register for MyMarathon. Take a look at our fundraising tips for ideas on how to raise money and help us beat heartbreak forever.
When you exercise you can lose up to a litre of fluid in an hour - so keep yourself well-watered! Make sure you're drinking plenty of fluids during the day - around 2 litres for men and 1.6 litres for women. This will make sure you're hydrated when you start running. Aim to have 400-600 ml water two to three hours before a running session, then 200-250ml 10 to 15 minutes before you start. And if the session is more than 90 minutes, gulp down 200-250ml during your exercise. You could also consider drinking fluid that includes some carbohydrate and electrolytes during your run if it's longer than an hour and a half. Isotonic sports drinks have 5-7% carbohydrate, but you can also make your own - mix 200ml concentrated orange squash (not sugar-free) with a litre of water and a pinch of salt
After your run
For short morning runs, you could get away with going on an empty stomach - especially if you've enjoyed a carbohydrate-heavy meal the night before. For a longer run, starting fully fuelled means you have a better chance of completing your challenge to the best of your ability, improving your fitness as part of your training. But eating a big meal too close to a long workout isn't ideal, either. If your digestive system is working hard on the huge bowl of pasta you hurriedly inhaled before lacing up, your muscles won't be getting the supply of nutrients they need. So avoid a big feed within two hours of your exercise - ideally you'd have it 3-4 hours before, but we know how busy you are. A light snack just before your run, like a banana and yogurt or cereal with low fat milk, is fine.
There's nothing like exercise to make the tummy rumble and the mouth parched. But what's the best thing to eat and drink during MyMarathon, and how much should you have? Here's your need-to-know on nutrition and hydration.
MyMarathon 2018 registration complete - hooray! Thank you very much for signing up to take part, we hope you're looking forward to completing 26.2 miles this May. Keep an eye out for your confirmation email which will include a link to your everdayhero page. Log in to add a photo, and update your story to make it super personalised, and then share it on social media Find out how to download a fitness app and connect it to your everydayhero page, - so you and your supporters can keep track of your progress and fundraising all in the same place! You can find all the tips and tools you need on our Get Going and Fundraising pages, and be sure to follow our MyMarathon Facebook page for regular updates and inspiration. Don't forget to share photos of your journey using #MyMarathon too! Thank you, and here's to raising lots of money to help beat heartbreak forever.
"Paul was the healthiest guy I knew. Cycling and walking everywhere. It was a massive shock to myself and everyone when he had a cardiac arrest in September 2015." Thankfully, Paul is still alive, but he suffered a lack of oxygen for over 20 minutes and this has had major life-changing implications. He was in a medically induced coma and scans have shown that his brain is severely damaged. Paul is paralysed and blind, however, he still has a certain degree of cognitive skills. On a good day, he can hold a simple conversation (with a lot of effort) and still has his amazing sense of humour. "Paul's wife and his immediate family are all incredible. They support each other and are with Paul whenever they can be. But they want their husband, son, brother and uncle back. His young children need their dad. We want our friend to come back. Unfortunately this isn't in our hands. But what is in our hands is the chance to raise awareness and as much money as possible for heart research".
Raising money for heart research
We caught up with one of our 2016 MyMarathon participants, a 31-year-old web developer from Hastings. Although he had no desire to take running up before, a close friend had a cardiac arrest in September 2015, so he decided to take on the MyMarathon challenge back in May 2016, to raise money for the BHF.
Taking on the MyMarathon challenge for a friend
"I signed up to MyMarathon because I wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone. Something to challenge myself so that I could raise money for heart research. Knowing I could do something positive about a tragic situation was the only motivation I needed to complete those 26.2 miles. "I started off running small amounts around my block and slowly increased the number of laps I did. The neighbours must have thought I was going mad! But it really helped build my confidence up to go further and I quickly saw how each lap added up. Soon I was doing 2 miles at a time and before I knew it, I started pushing myself to go further and my benchmark became 4 miles. The seafront here is beautiful in the evenings and I could easily get lost in my thoughts. Once I found a rhythm it was like walking, but a bit quicker! I think I've caught the running bug - it's amazing how addictive it can be! I exceeded my expectations - the whole event was a really positive and inspiring experience. I am glad I did it for Paul and for other families like Paul's. But I am also glad I did it for myself. I pushed myself and achieved something I never thought I could." If you know someone who has been affected by Heart disease, or just fancy taking on a challenge whilst raising vital funds for the BHF, then sign up to MyMarathon 2018.
"When I saw the opportunity to complete a marathon distance in my own time, I knew I had to do it. It was the perfect challenge for me." Back in May 2016, a 57 year old finance officer from Luton took on the first ever MyMarathon, completing her 26.2 miles in just under 3 weeks.
It wasn't just the challenge that kept our MyMarathon runner going. A few years ago, she sadly lost a colleague, a friend… "One day, she just didn't turn up for work. When we couldn't get hold of her we just knew something was wrong. She was only 50; it was so unexpected." "That's why I was so proud to raise over £150 for the British Heart Foundation. The work the British Heart Foundation is doing is so important. I ran those miles with my friend in my memory; no one should ever have to lose someone so suddenly, and so young." Since taking part in MyMarathon in 2016, she's continued to run; completing a half marathon and taking part in MyMarathon again last year… quite the runner! "This time a few years ago I could barely run 3 miles. By the end of my first MyMarathon I was easily doing 5 and now I've completed a half marathon! MyMarathon really gave me the motivation to get out there and get running and I'd definitely recommend it! If running a half marathon seems a long way off but you're keen to get into running, sign up to MyMarathon 2018 to start your journey.
Proud to fundraise
The perfect challenge for a novice runner
She's always enjoyed exercise, but really struggled with running. "When I've tried to run before I've found it a bit boring, and often found myself not having the motivation to keep going. By the end of MyMarathon, I was getting up almost every morning before work to clock up those miles - it became addictive!" By tracking her miles using Strava, her everydayhero fundraising page automatically updated with her total. She also shared most of her runs on Facebook to remind people what she was doing. "I'm a bit of a technophobe but I got the hang of Strava very quickly. I won't run without it now!"
A busy 37 year old working mum was in the middle of planning a wedding with her fiancé when she signed up for MyMarathon - so she had a lot on!
'"As MyMarathon was so flexible, it was great that I could split it up into smaller runs. I often ran in the evenings when my son went to bed. As the days were becoming longer it was nice to be able to go out and enjoy the light evenings, and I liked the sense of 'me time' that MyMarathon gave me - it sounds cheesy but it really was the time I could spend by myself and unwind. I loved that MyMarathon gave me the freedom to run in my own time, so there was no pressure to be at a specific start point at a certain time, something that's often impossible as a mum! I broke it up into 2-3 mile runs in my local area, starting off with small distances and gradually getting longer." She tracked her runs using the Map My Run app on her phone, and connected it to her everydayhero fundraising page. She shared the link on her Facebook page a few times which helped her raise £100! 'It was really great to see my runs link up to my fundraising page. I could see myself getting quicker and quicker as well which was really motivating. I shared my page and progress with my friends on Facebook which helped me raise lots of money. Although I don't know anyone who has been affected by heart disease my friends were proud of me so were willing to donate to a great cause. It felt really great to finish, and I felt so proud of my running and fundraising efforts. I'd recommend it to anyone who is new to running - it's a challenge, but was totally worthwhile and I loved every minute!' If like you're looking to run a marathon at a time that suits you, sign up to MyMarathon 2018 today!
"I used to love running, but since having my son, I've found very little time to do it and was starting to feel lethargic. MyMarathon seemed like it'd be a challenge, but achievable with some effort and it was the kick I needed to get fit again and lose a bit of weight, especially as I was getting married a few months later!" It was a busy time; commuting to London, looking after a one year old and wedding planning all at the same time, which didn't leave her much spare time in the day.
Finding time for MyMarathon as a working mum
A flexible fundraising challenge