Hello. Sorry I have neglected this running and triathlon blog for a long time. I have done a few races and events since I last wrote, but mainly I’ve been pootling along with no real focus to my running.
That’s already changed as in 2019 I decided that I’d like to run a half-marathon again. So in January I signed up for the Edinburgh Half Marathon and entered the ballot for the Great North Run in Newcastle. This week I found out that I have a place in the Great North Run, so I’ll now be running 2 half marathons in 2019 and I thought it was time to get back to writing about running again.
For those who don’t know, a half marathon is 13.1 miles. It’s likely a wee bit further than your run to the bus stop. And unless you’re a dedicated distance runner, it takes a bit of training to be able to run that distance comfortably.
The last time I ran that distance was in 2015. I didn’t really enjoy the training for it and by that time I was more focused on doing triathlons, so running took a back seat to swimming and cycling.
But I feel like I’ve been drifting along, getting slower and not really doing anything much with my running for a couple of years. So I decided I needed a challenge, to shake things up a bit and to push myself to run at my full potential.
Whether you’re a new runner feeling nervous about calling yourself a ‘runner’ and or an experienced runner who has run hundreds of miles and loads of races, there are always challenges, both physical and mental in the act of running.
Motivation, training, setting goals and expectations, where to run, when to run, how to run, how fast, how far, what to eat, what to wear, where to find a toilet… These can all be thoughts on the mind of any runner at any time.
I’ve been running fairly consistently now since 2009, so I have a few things that I know help me. As a kid I delighted in a smart school timetable with subjects colour coded so I knew where I had to be and when.
It’s the same now that I have a half marathon to focus on. I have a plan of 3 or 4 runs a week of varying distances to help me build up to the big race. The first event I’m doing is Edinburgh half marathon on 26th May, so I’ve got a good few weeks to get ready for it.
So far I’m three weeks in and really enjoying the fact that my runs have a bit more focus to them. It’s really easy, especially over the winter when it’s cold, dark and rainy to decide not to run ‘later’ or find an excuse not to run at all. But so far I have managed to persuade myself to run all my planned sessions, even when that means getting up at 5.30am and running on frosty pavements before work.
How’s it going?
I’m going to use a technique I learned when I did some triathlon coaching to help me keep track of my running progress. It’s a good way to measure more than just time and distance and is based on answering 3 simple questions – what went well? what could be even better? what do I need to pay attention to?
What went well:
- Ticking off all the sessions and mileage on my plan
- Running in weather (wind/rain) and doing some hill and speed work
- Starting slowly (mostly not having much choice) and allowing myself to warm up
- Persisting with a run when it felt difficult at first and then feeling like I could have carried on at the end
- Being on target for my goal of running 500 miles in 2019
Even better if:
- I space my runs out throughout the week to allow recovery time
- I increase my effort levels on at least one run by including more faster efforts
- I add in another strength training session
Watch out for:
- Niggle in my shoulder/neck
- Warming up my feet
- Do my post-run stretches and get up from my desk regularly at work