Arrrgh! I’ve been doing it again! After saying last time that I was finding the training hard, I finally reached crisis point on Saturday. When I get to that point things have a habit of going one way or another; it’s pretty black and white with me. All I can say is, thank goodness for friends and social networking!
After a grim training week I felt that my half marathon time goal was completely out of my grasp. I came home in the light (for a change) and decided on Wednesday to take my faithful hound into the woods for a half an hour 3 miles or so. I came back disheartened with my rubbish pace, even though I was wearing, as Wallace and Gromit would say, ‘The Wrong Trousers’ (tights that just have no give in them at all) and the trail was so muddy in places I was walking for a good few minutes. I ached, really ached from the effort and wondered if my treadmill workouts had left me “softened”.
On Friday I had no choice but to hit the treadmill. I was meant to do a straightforward run at above race pace, but after Wednesday’s run I knew that I wasn’t up to it and ran at my normal pace with the idea that if I found it too easy I’d crank up the speed. Needless to say the speed remained constant throughout.
By Saturday I was starting to panic.
I had 13 miles to accomplish on Sunday and whilst I didn’t doubt my ability to complete the 13 miles, I was worried that all my weeks of training had been for nothing. I said as much on Facebook and asked for my running friends to give me some advice. As it happened I had friends who run and friends who don’t all offering encouragement. It was lovely to read.
On Sunday I woke early and determined to run exactly 13 miles at my 11 min/mile pace. I knew that I could achieve that normally and, feeling like I did, I needed to see that I could achieve that on that day. Without boring you with the detail, I ran easily and thoroughly enjoyed every step (except for maybe mile 12, by which time I was really tired) and even managed to race to the end! I did the 13.04 miles in 2:26 giving me an average of 11:14 min/miles. I chose a particularly hilly 5 mile route, ran that twice and then added an extra circuit on the end. It was a hard 13 miles.
In short what I’ve done is prove that my training is working. I could easily have run my 13 miles faster, maybe not much, but fast enough. What I think is difficult in my training is doing the 800m intervals on the treadmill. It would be difficult to maintain a constant pace on the track and you would naturally slow down (or start off slow and speed up) but I’m expecting to be able to maintain a fast pace for the entire 800m and it’s no big deal that I can’t!
I need to…
I’m on course to improve on my half marathon best and if I don’t then at least I know I’ve tried my best.
Pre-run: Instant Oats, soya milk, banana and honey
During run: OJ/water isotonic juice (200ml OJ/400 ml water with 1/4 teaspoon salt); Dextro dextrose tablets as necessary (approximately once every third walk break)
Nike vest; Karrimor long tights; Karrimor gloves; Nike peaked cap; Brooks Ghost 5 trainers; Asics waistbelt