Like a child on Christmas Eve, I want today to be over and tomorrow to arrive. For tomorrow is the day of my first ever half marathon. My impatience, however, is not the result of excitement, but of the need to just get on with the job. Yes, I’m anxious.
Back in January it seemed like a crazy idea for me to sign up for a half marathon, having only completed Couch to 5K at the end of December. But I reassured myself that I would have plenty of time to prepare myself. Oh how those months have flown!
Bridgwater Half Marathon
For this momentous occasion I chose Bridgwater Half Marathon. This is a local race, around 25 minutes drive from home. It’s a small race, although it seems that half the people I know in the local area are going. I’m beginning to wonder whether I shouldn’t have picked race a where I wouldn’t know anyone – I prefer to go incognito.
I’ve heard that the course is flattish to undulating, and pretty. I’ll know more after tomorrow.
I chose this race for my first because it’s convenient – which takes away a lot of the race day pressure of getting there, finding out where to go etc. I’ll soon know whether this was a good decision.
I have trained, and I’ve used a mixture of different plans to inform my training. I couldn’t find a plan that suited me completely, so I took elements from different plans. For instance, a few of the plans that I looked at stopped at 10 miles, which wouldn’t have suited me at all. I needed to know well before race day that I can run the entire distance, and roughly how long it’s going to take me. I realise I will need to adjust my expectations before I tackle my first full marathon next year.
What I have done is similar to what all training plans seem to be working towards in one way or another:
- Run three of four times each week (more recently I’ve been running four days)
- Include different types of run – speed runs, recovery runs, long runs, hill work
- Take rest days
- Cross train on rest days – walk, yoga and/or weights
- Increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week
- Increase long runs by no more than 10% each week
- Have weeks when you consolidate or even step back a bit
- Taper (reduce distance/time running)towards the end (last week or two of running)
As well as training, I’ve been working on diet and nutrition. I only hope I will be carb-loaded enough for tomorrow!
My final bit of preparation was to drive out and have a look at where I need to go tomorrow – a benefit of choosing a local race.
And today? Today I am worried. I am remembering how hard I found my last 13 mile run. I am thinking about how difficult the Severn Bridge 10K was last week. I’m trying to keep busy, and I’m trying to keep positive. I’m checking the weather forecast every few minutes (dry, 17 degrees Celsius, breezy).
This morning I volunteered at parkrun to give myself something constructive to do. As always, I was impressed by the determination that people bring to the event. I was reminded of the camaraderie, friendship and mutual support available within the running community.
Come on, I say to myself, you can do this.
Wish me luck!
And good luck to everyone taking on new challenges this weekend.