So, I’m just going to say it. Since the London Marathon, I have really, really struggled. Not so much with exercise in general (I can still muster up the enthusiasm to get out climbing or swimming) but in finding any motivation whatsoever to get out there and run. Since the Marathon, I have completed a pitiful handful of runs of between 3-5 miles, and a couple of half-hearted treadmill workouts, chundered over a Parkrun and yesterday, completed one of the more miserable half marathons of my running career.
In the days following the London Marathon, I felt genuinely sad. Something that had taken up such an epic portion of my life for the past six months, that had given me nervous butterflies, and kept me awake at night, had gone. And in its place…was nothing.
Yesterday I (just about) completed Wimbledon Common half marathon, as you’ve probably guessed from the above, I did no real training, and due to my own arrogance, on the day, nothing went right. I was out at the 30th Birthday Party the night before the run (stupid idea numero uno) where there were a number of people I hadn’t seen in a while. They congratulated me on my marathon, and said: “Ohhh tomorrow will be easy for you now won’t it, just a half?” “You’re right!” I exclaimed. “Just a half – Pour me another Prosecco!” (school-boy error numero dos)
It’s funny how training for a marathon alters, or in this case, makes you lose your perspective. When you’ve built your training up to a 20 mile runs, “just” having to run 13 can feel a welcome relief, making it easy to forget that 13.1 miles is a significant challenge in itself, especially if not prepared for properly and treated with the respect it deserves.
So, Wimbledon Park Half. Nothing felt right. From mile 2 (which, to be fair, the first 1.5 miles had been mainly uphill!) I felt completely wiped out, dehydrated, and already had a growling stomach. Somehow, I just about dragged myself around the course, at points on the brink of tears, walking more than I have on a long run for a significant period of time. By the end, I felt terrible, and had to spend the remainder of the day in bed/passed out on the sofa, feeling sick and with a splitting headache trying to recover!
What am I taking from this? Well, I can’t lie, whilst it is ever-so-slightly reassuring to know that at this point in my life, I can bluster my way around a half marathon, with minimum preparation, it really was far from pleasant – I dragged myself over the finish line in 2hrs 17mins. At a time when I had allowed myself to become lazy and/or cocky, thinking that I had nothing to aim for, and that the shorter runs would now be a doddle, I feel like I’ve been taught a harsh lesson. And as a formerly dedicated PB chaser, that attitude was certainly not going to serve me well or get me anywhere very fast (pun intended) anyway!
With all this in mind, now feels like the right time to reassess and reassert my running goals:
- London Marathon may well have been ticked off the list, but I am now signed up for Brighton 2018! Whilst my formal training won’t start until the end of the year, there is a lot I can be doing in terms of strength building and training over shorter distances, to put me in the best possible place to kick this off in the winter.
- 10km PB – My current 10km PB is 52.22. I am always striving to better this, with sub 50 being the ultimate goal.
- Half marathon PB – Currently 2hr 17secs. Those 17 seconds are a killer as I’m determined to go sub 2hr. Pretty sure with continued training I can nail this one at my next flat and cool, half, probably in the Autumn.
- 5km PB – Currently 24.24. Going sub 25 was the first speed goal I’ve managed to achieve, but there’s still room for improvement.
- Equally and more importantly than any of the above, what I need to work on right now is not speeds, and not distances, but simply falling back in love with running, albeit one short, slow jog at time.
A week today, on Bank Holiday Monday I have the Vitality 10,000 which as ever I am hugely excited about – The central London route is awesome and it falls on my Runniversary – This year, my 3rd Runniversary, will be the 4th time I (hopefully) complete this race! I’m hoping that if I take my preparations seriously, and go back to my usual regime of a big pasta dinner, plenty of water, a porridge breakfast, and a good night’s sleep, I can have a much more pleasant experience than I did last weekend.
After this, I (unusually) do not have any other races in the running diary. However I imagine The Oxford Half, and The Great South Run are two safe bets for October, alongside perhaps a 10 km or two over Summer.
Oh, and I almost forgot the small matter of the two 100km hikes I have planned for September (along the South Coast, and up Mount Etna) Given that last year’s 100km actually broke me, can someone please remind me why am I doing this again?!?
All that said, I hope to be back on track very soon. Watch this space.