FITNESS// Half Marathon: Going the distance

A few weeks ago I announced that I was going to take part in this years Manchester Half Marathon and since then I’ve been aiming to go the distance in my training. Only 4 weeks ago the furthest I’d ever ran was 12 km.

The plan was to up my distance my 2 km each week which would have taken me to 18km the week before the Half Marathon. I didn’t stick to the plan rigidly but last week I ran just under 18km which was just ahead of my schedule.

The decision I’ve got to make now though is whether or not I do one last long run this weekend, and if so, how far should I go with only 1 week till race day? I know the importance of tapering and with my knees I can’t physically run more than twice a week without the risk of injury so I’m thinking of doing a long run on Saturday and then maybe a short fast 5k on Tuesday.  That would give me 5 run free days before the big race, and perhaps I’ll swim one of those days and do some stretches on another.

When I first started adding on the kilometres to my 10km distance it didn’t sound like much at all, but when I started to run distances that required mapping out beforehand to make sure I’d be covering enough miles it really started to dawn on me just how far a half marathon was. I’d very quickly gone from running around the local Quays to running into the next town and back. It was (and still is) equally daunting and amazing.

The feeling of achievement as I approached home and the end of each run didn’t come without some learning curves too. I still need to work out which fuelling method works best for me though. I’ve taken Jelly Babies and water or gels and energy drinks but I’ve not quite hit it on the head yet, I’ve struggled more than I’d imagined I would by 15-16km.

On another note I’ve had to switch up my outfits too. What works for a quick 5km doesn’t necessary mean it’s going to be suitable for long runs and I learnt that when my arm started to chafe against my bra when I wore a vest top, or when I put my phone in my pocket instead of my Flipbelt which almost pulled my shorts down.

Talking of kit, the next thing on my wish list is some new trainers. I’ve been wearing my Asics GT 2000’s for quite a while now and upping the distances means more and more miles of wear and tear in the footwear. It’s probably too close to race day now though to buy new ones for the half but it’s a purchase I need to make asap.

 

Lastly, I’ve considered joining a running club!! The nights are so much darker now that long runs in the evening are becoming unsafe if I run alone. I figured that joining a club would provide one evening run each week where I can safety put in some extra miles. The problem is, I’ve not actually plucked up the courage to go there yet. (And the weather has been terrible!!) So if you have any words of encouragement here about joining a running club please insert here….

 

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