Some Anti-Theist Religious Bits & Pieces: Round Eight

Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following eighth helping of “Religious Bits and Pieces” illustrate.Regarding Religion*If two people from the same religion disagree, they can consult their holy book for a resolution. If two people from two different religions disagree, then what?*Multi-billions of people over the entirety of recorded / written history (which way, way, way predates anything that the Christians, Jews or Muslims can relate to) have believed and worshipped multi-thousands of supernatural (usually or t least often sky) deities. These people weren’t dummies and if born into the 21st Century would have made out A-OK. So, where did they go wrong? Did they go wrong? What evidence do you have that actually proves them wrong? You don’t believe Thor ever existed, but can you actually prove it? Considering how many ‘facts’ monotheistic religions have gotten wrong (i.e. – the Earth is the centre of the Cosmos, something a really all-knowing God wouldn’t have stuffed up in the telling), people who profess in monotheism are in NO position to cast the first stone.*We are apparently required to respect the religious beliefs of others, but not of necessity their historical, economic, social, racial, political, scientific, etc. beliefs. Why the double standard?Regarding Religion vs. Science*Priests cannot turn a cracker / wafer into actual flesh, nor wine into blood, just by mumbling some Latin over them! Anyone who believes to the contrary is in serious need of putting their Analyst on danger money.*Natural causes are a commonplace dime-a-dozen. Supernatural causes are as rare as hens’ teeth, even rarer. You won’t find even one supernatural cause written up in any academic peer-reviewed journal, unless of course the nature of the journal is one preaching to the faithful.*Homosexuality is considered unnatural in the Bible but a talking snake and donkey is totally natural, as is the creation of a woman from a rib, a virgin birth and walking on water. Go figure, especially when homosexuality is a naturally occurring feature in the animal kingdom.Regarding Faith & Belief*If you can’t give me any coherent reason to believe you, then I have no reason to believe you.*Belief in God and Jesus? Fake it till you make it.*The willingness to die for your beliefs says nothing about the truth behind those beliefs.Regarding Prayer*Prayer works! At any major (even minor) sporting event like the World Cup, the seventh game of the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, etc., or perhaps an election, lots of people will pray for each team, horse, candidate, etc. Since one team, horse, candidate has to win, obviously the people who prayed for that team, horse or candidate will testify that prayer works and that God answers prayers! That’s totally logical!*Say one billion people issue a prayer a day for something that falls within the realm of the natural sciences. By pure coincidence, by pure chance, and by the statistical laws of pure probability, a tiny fraction of those prayers will come to pass – naturally. So did God do it? No. Of course the hits are always recorded in favor of God answering prayers, but the multi-millions and millions of misses, well they tend to be ignored and ultimately forgotten about.*Has there ever been any prayer for something, a something outside of the realm of the physical and biological sciences, that has come to pass and has been verified and accepted as verified in a peer-reviewed journal? Not to my knowledge.*If prayer had medical benefits the medical profession would prescribe prayer or praying to their patients as part of their treatment – maybe even the be-all-and-end-all of their treatment. Prayer of course should have observable and measurable consequences – if prayer works. Now can you pray your headache away, or does an aspirin work better?*But as the late comedian George Carlin has pointed out, if God has some sort of Master Plan, why would he alter that Plan in order to cater to your prayers? God, being all-knowing, already knew you would pray for X, and knew in advance that He would totally ignore you in deference to carrying out His Master Plan.Regarding Animal Morality*Evolution explains morality quite nicely since morality can be observed in the animal kingdom. I can cite a personal example. I have two cats. They absolutely hate each other. I can count on there being several cat-fights a day. However, there are certain occasions when there is a mutual truce in force. No cat will attack the other cat when the other cat is eating, going to the bathroom, or sleeping. Some sort of moral code is in play under those circumstances.There are many examples of animals coming to the aid of other animals. One case I can cite is a cockatoo tangled up in some wires. Other cockatoos brought the entangled bird food. It had a happy ending when humans came to the rescue and freed the bird.Stories of dolphins protecting humans from sharks are legendary. Dogs guarding and defending a companion dog that’s been injured, even against humans who are coming to help the injured dog, are a well-established natural moral phenomena. You don’t have to dig too far into the literature to uncover lots of examples of members of one species behaving morally toward other members of the same species even when they don’t have to and they derive no benefits by doing so.Cats, cockatoos, dolphins, and dogs haven’t read the Bible. The concept of God and God’s [alleged] morality is meaningless to them. They didn’t get their morality from God.

Regarding the Soul / Afterlife*Here’s an interesting theological question. You’re aware that here is a neurological condition called multiple personality disorder or dual personality (made famous in the feature film “The Three Faces of Eve”). Now the theological question is, does each of those personalities have their own soul and does each of these personalities have their own separate and apart afterlife? If not, why not?Regarding God*If you are a theist, just try to imagine for a moment that there is no God (or god). What would have really changed in your life? You’d still be the exact same person, warts and all.*To prove God exists, here’s all you have to do. Identify X. If X exists without any question (something like gravity for example), and X can only have been created of necessity by God, then God of necessity exists too. Now, what is X? Identify X and you’ve proved that God exists (or at least existed).*Isn’t it absolutely amazing that whatever biases you happen to have, you share those biases with God!*If natural disasters are the wrath of God, why do nearly all hurricanes hit the Bible Belt?*God can’t be both “just” and “merciful”. A “just” God treats you just so. A “merciful” God treats you better than just so. In other words, “just” is a one year prison sentence. “Merciful” is a suspended sentence.*It is illogical to suggest that God is both “perfect” and the “creator” of our Universe. If God is “perfect” then God wants for nothing, but if you create something, you create that something because it is something you want and previously lacked. So why did God create our Universe? Well apparently according to theists, God created the Universe so in order to give rise to little old us (humanity) so that we could come to know God and worship God – sounds rather selfish and egotistical of God if you ask me. God apparently wanted His version of our own pet dogs!*God cannot be both transcendent – existing outside of space and time as well as being omnipresent in space and time. That’s like being both in a pre-conception state and in a post-conception state simultaneously.*If God is uncaused, then why not just assert that the Cosmos is uncaused and avoid the unnecessary middle-’man’ creator of said Cosmos? Ockham’s Razor would suggest such a proposition is a valid one.*If you don’t know the answer to something, just saying “therefore, God did it” is NOT an explanation any more than saying that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny did it. “God did it” is to provide an answer to one mystery with an even greater mystery. Anything that explains everything actually explains nothing.*Those who claim to have talked to God, or more to the point had God talk to them, have never had any new knowledge provided or revealed to them that would verify that claim. Funny ’bout that!*Premise: If God exists He desires that we know Him beyond all reasonable doubt.
*Premise: If God exists He has the power to enable us to know Him beyond all reasonable doubt.
*Premise: If God exists we should therefore know God exists beyond all reasonable doubt.
*Premise: We do not know that God exists beyond all reasonable doubt.
*Therefore: God does not exist.Regarding God’s Intelligent Design*Why does the human male have nipples? Why in fact do other male mammals like cats have nipples? What’s the point? Are male nipples really an intelligent design?Regarding God’s Omniscience*There are many things that God cannot know about in practice, only in theory, like fear and lust and hitting a baseball and looking forward to retirement, etc. God may know the theory and the definitions but not the experiences. Therefore God isn’t all-knowing and God should have at least the same knowledge as His living creations, but He doesn’t and he can’t.Regarding God’s ‘Morality’*The theological question of why God allows natural evil (i.e. – diseases, natural disasters, etc.) is two-fold. God allows natural evil because God Himself is totally evil. There is no one who reads the Old Testament who can doubt this observation for even a moment / a split second, even if moral values are subjective and not objective. Further to the point, if God created life, the Universe and everything, then God created natural evils too, so why should God prevent what He Himself has created? Actually the whole God / evil dilemma or paradox is easily resolved with just one premise: there is no God. God does not exist apart from just being an entity that resides within the human imagine.*One cannot condemn the Nazi Holocaust without also condemning God’s equivalent actions. Like Hitler, God too had His Chosen People and those who were not of His Chosen People could, in Dalek-speak, have a sentence passed along the lines of “Exterminate!, Exterminate!, Exterminate!”Regarding God’s Will*The conservative Republicans have won the election – it was God’s will. The liberal Democrats won the election – God has abandoned America! [Thanks to Jaclyn Glenn for this bit of "Christian Logic".]Regarding William Lane Craig [WLC] on God’s Existence1) Regarding the Origin of the Universe:*Though William Lane Craig argues the existence of God due to the creation of the Universe, it is just as plausible that he should be giving equal credibility for the done deed to any creator deity in any of the world’s other creation myths of which there are multi-dozens and dozens. Translated, William Lane Craig goes through a rather long and convoluted and IMHO illogical explanation for the origin of the [WLC] or our [JP] Universe. According to William Lane Craig, “God did it”, meaning the Christian God of the Bible. However, William Lane Craig could just as easily and just as logically substituted Allah, Brahma, Enki, Odin, Quetzalcoatl or Viracocha (and many others as well) without losing the plot or dropping the ball. But of course William Lane Craig roots for and cheers on Team God, not Team Allah, or Team Odin, etc.*It’s interesting to note that while William Lane Craig seems happy to acknowledge and accept the late Sir Fred Hoyle’s assertion that a random origin-of-life by pure chance would be akin to a tornado ripping through a junkyard and by chance assembling a Boeing 747, William Lane Craig totally ignores Hoyle’s version of cosmology – his Steady State Model / Theory which would imply an infinite Universe in both space and in time. That would never do! While the Steady State Theory as proposed by Hoyle is dead and buried, it doesn’t take a great deal of cosmological extrapolation to resurrect the idea by going from Hoyle’s idea of the uncaused continuous creation of hydrogen atoms popping into existence to ramping that general concept up to the continuous creation of Big Bangs replacing the hydrogen atoms. You can have a Steady State cosmology of ever on-going Big Bangs, and that too would be an infinite – in this case – Cosmos in space and in time.2) Regarding Fine-Tuning:*William Lane Craig argues that God must be the designer behind the apparent fine-tuning for life because pure chance is just so overwhelmingly improbable as to be dismissed completely out of hand. Yet, consider the extremely long train of improbable events that led to the very existence of William Lane Craig. That just one male met and mated with one female; that just one sperm out of millions fertilised that one egg out of multi-dozens, going back hundreds of generations has to give the probability of William Lane Craig’s existence as trillions upon trillions to one against. For each person that was conceived and born, like William Lane Craig, there were untold trillions and trillions of potential entities like William Lane Craig who weren’t ever given a status of being an actual entity.*Of course in an infinite Cosmos as noted above, sooner or later William Lane Craig would have to come into (and ultimately go out of) existence, so it is not surprising to find a William Lane Craig existing. But it requires infinity for that to be a certainty. Also a certainty is that over an infinite amount of time, there will appear and disappear an infinite number of William Lane Craig’s.*Further, William Lane Craig asserts that the apparent fine-tuning of the Universe for entities such as himself is obviously the handiwork of God. But, if I were to use a random number generator to randomly select a set of 3-D spatial coordinates (we’ll just set time equals now) and then teleported William Lane Craig in his birthday suit to those coordinates, what are the odds William Lane Craig would find those coordinates fine-tuned for his continued existence as a living breathing entity? Virtually nil. He’d either freeze to death, probably while sucking on a hard vacuum, or fry to death.3) Regarding Objective Moral Values:*We all know that William Lane Craig cites as a proof of God’s existence the fact that there are objective moral values and if there were no God there wouldn’t be objective moral values and therefore there is a God because we accept that there are objective moral values. William Lane Craig often uses the example that it is objectively immoral to torture a young child and that everyone would agree on that (quite apart from all of the torturing / child abuse and killing of young children in the Bible of which there is a lot, most being via the direct actions of God Himself – The Flood; Sodom & Gomorrah; The Tenth Plague, etc.) No, one could imagine scenarios where the torture of a young child might be required for the greater good – it just depends. For example, one could imaging that ISIS has brainwashed a young child into planting a bomb somewhere in a public school. The kid escapes but is caught. Only the kid knows where the bomb is and the bomb is due to go off within a few minutes. Are the authorities going to play good cop, or bad cop with the kid?*If as William Lane Craig asserts that without God there are no objective moral values, but then with God there would be and there are objective moral values and therefore those objective moral values – which exist – must come from God and so therefore God exists. So therefore, given that long list of Biblical crimes and immoral actions / events which can be greatly expanded apart from children that suffer and who are abused (i.e. – God performs acts of, or condones acts of, or orders acts of murder & genocide; animal & human sacrifice; torture; animal abuse; theft; slavery; paedophilia; rape; incest; cannibalism; betrayal; and lying), are all objective ‘morals’ that come from and are sanctioned and even directly performed in many cases by The Almighty really objective? If so they must equally apply to God, otherwise God is a hypocrite – a being who says “do as I say, not as I do”. Regardless, God indeed is the most immoral being ever conceived of by man, an indication that assumes that God was created in the image of man, or who in turn actually exists if the converse is true. No matter how you slice and dice things, God is pure evil if there are objective moral values.*Since William Lane Craig states that there are God-derived objective morality or objective moral values, then one would assume that all predominately Christian nations would have adopted God’s universal set of moral values – or human rights. There are God-given human rights. However, as George Carlin points out in his YouTube video “Swearing on the Bible” that is NOT the case. Different predominately Christian nations have differing lists of what they consider to be basic human rights. According to Carlin, the United States has ten (the Bill of Rights – which of course Americans have had to amend again and again) but that is not the case across the Christian board. The British have 13 Rights; the Germans 29; the Belgians 25; the Swedish 6; and some nations a big fat zero in the Rights department. As Carlin points out God forgot one really important Human Right that humans have had to add to God’s list – slavery.*If morality is objective and if morality stems from God, then it should be morally A-OK to do what God does. So, if you see someone who is not of your own chosen kind, and they sort of stand in your way of achieving your goals, then by all means it is moral to kill them – that’s what God would do, in fact did as related in the Bible.

4) Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus:*William Lane Craig cites the post-dead and buried sightings of Jesus as proof of the resurrection of Jesus and therefore as proof of the existence of God. However, there have been many sightings of Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa and other notable “dead” celebrities post their alleged demise so does that mean that Elvis and Jimmy, etc. were also resurrected from the dead and if so does this mean that they too are divine and sons of God?*Craig bases a lot of the credibility of the resurrection of Jesus to eyewitness testimony (the empty tomb; sightings of Jesus post death, etc). I assume that Craig also accepts eyewitness testimony when it comes to UFOs and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (seeing aliens); seeing ghosts, etc. As many a psychology classroom demonstration has proven; as many a courtroom trial has hinged upon, eyewitness testimony isn’t all that acceptable as a form of evidence.5) Regarding Personal Experiences of God:*William Lane Craig believes in the existence of God because he has had a personal spiritual experience of God. No doubt some Muslims have had a deep personal experience of Allah and the Hindus of Brahma and one could well imagine some ancient Greeks having a really spiritual experience if not an actual encounter with Aphrodite. Shamans across the social and cultural board have all manner of mystic / religious / spiritual experiences. It’s part of their job description and a requirement of their ‘profession’ as it were.*But further to the issue behind this claim by William Lane Craig, people in sensory isolation tanks and everyone at the awake-asleep / asleep-awake interfaces are prone to all manner of highly realistic spiritual experiences, experiences that they would swear are totally real. Certain drugs, fevers, sleep deprivation, flashing lights, migraine headaches can all cause highly spiritual but still illusionary / hallucinatory experiences. Finally, the sheer will to want to believe can easily colour your ordinary experiences into extraordinary experiences, slanting those ordinary experiences towards your preferred direction, even subconsciously. Being of sound mental health doesn’t preclude having illusionary experiences. You can experience an imaginary situation or being, think it is a real experience, and still be sane.*William Lane Craig says that the purpose of human life – including your life – is not happiness or the pursuit of pleasure, but just to personally come to know God. Why isn’t the purpose of life to come to know Zeus, or Brahma or Allah? In any event I thought God said the purpose of human life was to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1: 28). If so, God should have known better than to issue that directive, a directive which has led to all sorts of undesirable consequences.Summation*In summary, William Lane Craig first two arguments (creation and fine-tuning) ‘proving’ God’s existence could equally apply to a whole pantheon of deities, not just the Christian God. In fact they don’t have to apply to any god(s) at all. His third argument (objective morals) is clearly wrong as morals are relative not absolute (in Star Trek lingo, ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one’ and sometimes vice-versa). And in any event getting your morals from God is akin to getting your chemistry lessons from an alchemist; your astronomy lessons from the newspaper’s daily astrology column. Since God is the most immoral entity ever conceived of (if you accept a literal Bible), it’s absurd to take your moral lessons from God. Craig’s fourth argument (Jesus) is dicey since Jesus may not have even existed and there is no independent historical or archaeological evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Further, the character of Jesus isn’t even unique in the cultural record of humankind. Lastly, Craig’s argument for God based on personal experience hold no water since personal experiences are not just personal but are highly subjective given that there is no accompanying slab-in-the-lab evidence. Further, such experiences can often be explained by neurological means and processes.Regarding Jesus*Jesus talks about the evils of divorce but he never even mentions homosexuality, yet what’s the Big Issue current Christians rant and rave about? – You guessed it; homosexuality and LGBT rights*Speaking of the purpose of living here on Terra Firma, Jesus most certainly did NOT obey God’s instruction to “be fruitful and multiply”.Regarding Atheists & Atheism*What probably upsets atheists more than anything else is not that some deluded people believe without evidence that they have an invisible ‘friend’ up in the sky, but that these people act on behalf of their ‘friend’ and in the so doing commit all manner of atrocities. For example people who perform and defend genital mutilation defend the religion and not the child.*Atheists have been accused of being Satanists. I mean it makes perfect sense that just because atheists don’t believe in God doesn’t mean they don’t worship the Devil. As Jaclyn Glenn would say (and has said), “Christian logic”!*Atheism is a ‘science’ in that it can be falsified. However, no theists have ever been able to falsify atheism. Theism on the other hand cannot be falsified and so the two contrasting theological philosophies are not playing on a level playing field.*One advantage of being an atheist – you get to sleep in on Sunday mornings!

Top 10 Half Marathon Training Tips

1. Make sure you train

Okay, this sounds blindingly obvious and it will be considered foolish to most people to embark on running a Half Marathon without doing any training. However, it does happen and, of course, the people who do so are daft.

There is more to this point than those people silly enough not to train. Firstly, it is important to train specifically for running a Half Marathon. You may be fit already as a result of going to the gym, playing football, swimming etc, but if your body is not conditioned to running long distances on tarmac, over various road contours and in varying weather conditions, then you will not be ready for a Half Marathon run. Even if you are already fit and active, it is important your training is all about running. Well, not quite all, but the vast majority of your training in the months before a Half Marathon should involve running.

Finally, it is important to complete your training schedule and run on every day you are supposed to. Always remember it is those days when do not want to run but do so anyway that will mean the most on race day.

So, whatever your level of fitness or general motivation, this message is important: make sure you train.

2. Pick the right schedule

A Half Marathon Training Schedule is a great way to not only plan your preparation for race day, but to also ensure you do enough training. Half Marathon Training Schedules are tried and tested with every day of training planned out in advance, making it easier to build training sessions into your daily routine.

Selecting the wrong schedule, however, could be disastrous.

Firstly, be realistic about your abilities. It will be incredibly de-motivating to struggle to complete each day’s training. That is an important sentence as a Half Marathon Training is as much about building mental toughness as physical fitness. By completing every day of training (even the rest days), you are one step closer to completing your ultimate goal. The sense of achievement will be particularly pronounced on the days with long distance runs.

To finish this point, it is also important to avoid schedules that are too easy. It is all about finding the balance – you will want a schedule that is challenging enough that you improve as you train while not being so difficult that you cannot complete each day’s run. It is also important to be realistic about the time you can allocate each day to training. It is no use choosing a schedule that will require an average of one hour training every day if your lifestyle does not allow that.

Finally, choose a training schedule that has been designed specifically for Half Marathon preparation. A lot of the schedules on the Internet are designed for those training for full, 26.2 mile marathons. They are often crudely adapted for Half Marathon Training, i.e. by cutting the runs by 50 percent. It is better to choose a schedule designed solely for Half Marathon Training.

3. Choose shoes (and socks) wisely

Your feet are the second most important part of your body to look after during Half Marathon Training. The mind is the most important part, but feet come a close second, before legs, joints, lungs or anything else.

Choosing the right shoes and socks is therefore incredibly important. This is not about individual brands, but rather the process to ensure everything is right on race day. To achieve that aim, choose and buy your shoes and socks at the start of your training. It is a very bad idea to attempt to break-in new gear close to a Half Marathon event. The earlier you select your shoes and socks, the better. At the very least, you will have time to change your mind and buy alternatives if your first choice is not working.

All the leading brands make great running shoes so we do not have a recommendation on specific brands in this article – that is more down to individual choice. The key point is to choose running shoes. Not cross-trainers or shoes designed for any other purpose – just running shoes. Running shoes should fit well and will offer support.

If you find it generally difficult to find comfortable training or running shoes, you could try a Wet Test. Your local running equipment or quality sports shop should do this, and it should be free of charge (if there is a charge do-it-yourself by simply laying white paper on the ground, wetting your feet, and running over it). If the imprint of your foot is shaped like a driver (golf-club terminology), then you have a normal foot and most standard running shoes should be comfortable. If the imprint is more like a thick club-shape, you are flat footed and may need a shoe that has a firm mid-sole. You will want to stop the inward roll of your foot so stay away from shoes that are highly curved, highly cushioned, or do not have much stability.

If the imprint of your foot narrows dramatically in the centre to look like two eyes (or single quotation marks one on top of the other) then you have a high-arched foot. You will need a shoe that is cushioned with lots of flexibility to encourage motion as your foot is not rotating enough.

Finally, we turn to socks. Socks can often be the most overlooked item of clothing for Half Marathon runners. The advice is to buy running socks as they do not move which reduces the possibility of getting blisters. They will often be left and right footed, which helps in this goal. There is nothing worse than dealing with a small, but painfully crippling, blister in the middle of Half Marathon Training, so indulge yourself with a pair of good running socks.

4. Include strength training in your schedule

Leg strength is a key element of Half Marathon Training. It is one of the main factors in determining whether you run the marathon in the time you want. It is also a factor in determining whether you can complete the whole event running, without having to walk.

In preparing for a Half Marathon, many people say they are prepared for the pain and will just run through it. That sort of comment often comes from people who are fit and are therefore used to training. For many of these people, the pain associated with training gives them a buzz and is part of the reason they keep doing it.

When your legs stop working because they are too tired, however, no amount of will-power is going to make them start working again. The only solution is to prepare your legs for a Half Marathon by including as much strength training as you can.

This may sound daunting, but it does not need to be. Strength training can take many different forms, including using a cross training machine at the gym or going to a circuits or spin class. It could also be much simpler, though. You could do plenty of hill work during your normal training runs – the steeper the hill, the better. Or, you could incorporate speed work into your normal training runs.

Any sort of strength training you do will reap benefits on race day.

5. Get in the right frame of mind

Being mentally fit is as important as being physically fit when it comes to being successful in a Half Marathon run. It is no different to any other sport, or in fact any other aspect of life. If you are not in the right frame of mind, it is very hard to achieve your goals.

The most important things is to stay positive throughout your training. Tell yourself every day that you feel good, fit and strong. That may sound silly to some, but it does work. Treat every completed day’s training as an achievement and congratulate yourself for taking another step closer to your goal.

It is hard to stress just how important mental positiveness is to training and completing a Half Marathon. There are hundreds of stories of sportsmen and sports teams who loose despite being more skilled than their opponents. Lack of confidence and poor mental attitude are often to blame. Even for normal people (like the majority of us non-athletes who run Half Marathons) can be affected by not being in the right frame of mind. There are many stories of men and women who run on the day of the Half Marathon far below the standard they were regularly achieving during training.

Of course, mental toughness and a positive attitude will not by themselves get you through a Half Marathon. You will need to do the physical training, but remain positive while doing so and constantly tell yourself you are doing well.

6. Train with others

Half Marathon Training can be a lonely pursuit, particularly when on a long run. Runners do many things to relieve that loneliness (which, occasionally, turns into boredom), including listening to music or radio programmes through headphones (try also listening to audio books as a page-turning bestseller is a great way of getting through a run).

Sometimes just being entertained while running is not enough though. The solution to loneliness, boredom and low motivation is obvious – run with others.

You will have to make sure the person or people you plan to run with are at the same level of training as you. You will not want to be held up by a running partner who cannot keep up with you, and similarly you will not want the strain of running faster than you are comfortable with so as to keep up with a quicker partner.

One final thing on this point – running with others does not necessarily mean running with other people. Dogs make great running companions and are the partner of choice for many in training.

7. Fund raise until you can’t fund raise anymore

There are two main reasons for fundraising ahead of running a Half Marathon. The obvious first reason is that charities and good causes will benefit from your efforts. This is of particular importance if your chosen charity has had a personal influence on your life. If it was not for the millions raised around the world every year by people running Half Marathons, charities would be much worse off.

The other reason for fundraising is much more selfish. If you use your Half Marathon entry to fund raise, you will be under a greater obligation to compete on the day and ultimately complete the race. Following directly from this sense of obligation will be a greater motivation to train. It will no longer be just a personal decision of whether you feel too tired on a particular day to train as another thing on your mind will be not letting down the charity you have selected, or the people who have committed to give you money on completion of the event. That could be enough to keep your training going when motivation is low.

8. Stay hydrated

Studies have shown that being as little as 2 percent dehydrated can have a negative effect on your running performance. Being dehydrated can make you run slower and may make you feel sluggish and light-headed. You may also start to cramp. It is therefore important to make sure you take on enough fluids while Half Marathon Training.

Fluid intake should start before your training run. Ideally one to two hours before the training session where possible and the amount you should take should be between 8 and 16 ounces (250mls to 500mls). Throughout the training session, the same amount of fluids should be taken for roughly every 30 minutes of training. This should be done by sipping rather than gulping down large amounts or you will just find that you will need to go to the toilet.

The type of drink you choose is down to personal choice, but it should be cold rather than warm. Water works well, as do sports drinks.

You may need to plan your fluid intake on training runs. Such planning has been shown in studies to improve performance. There is a more practical reason for planning in that when training, you are on your own and will need to carry enough drink to get you through to the end of the run. It will be different on race day when often the organisers will have drink stations throughout the course route.

Finally, it is important to drink after your training run. The amount you will need will vary depending on how strenuous your training run was. As a guide, you should drink enough so that you will have to go to the toilet within about an hour of finishing your run.

9. Sleep and eat well

This may be common sense, but for many people living busy lives it can be a challenge. As much as it is possible, meals should contain high energy, non-processed food. Heavy, starchy meals will feel like a lump in your stomach so should be avoided. Fruit and vegetables should be eaten as much as possible.

You should eat at least 30 minutes before your training session, more if it is a larger meal. Also try to use the toilet just before going out for your run as it is not just about putting good fuel into your body – having a system that works well is also important.

Sleeping well is also critical. Because of the modern and demanding lives many of us lead, it is not always possible to get 8 hours sleep every night. However, your Half Marathon Training will progress better if you get plenty of rest. Your body needs time to relax and recuperate when going through a Half Marathon Training Schedule, and sleeping is the best way to give your body this time.

10. Try everything before race day

Everything you have read in these Top 10 Half Marathon Training tips, and every other piece of advice you get when preparing for your race, should be tried well in advance of the event. Do not, for example, buy a new pair of running shoes a week or two before your race. In fact, do not do anything in the week or two before the race that you have not done many times during your training.

The clothes you plan to wear on race day should be worn on training runs – if it is going to chafe, it is better you find that out well in advance. This applies to everything, from your underwear to your t-shirt; your socks to your hat.

The fluid you plan to drink during the race should be used while on all training runs, and if you plan to use energy gels make sure you try them in training long before race day. Before long training runs you should also try to eat the food you are planning to eat before the event.

Finally, most Half Marathon events take place in the morning. If possible, train at a similar time of day, particularly on your long training runs.