Top five reflections on a half-marathon
I haven’t run a step since the half-marathon, between stiffness, travelling and general recovery. I am hoping to get out for a run maybe tomorrow or the weekend and get back into doing normal distances again. Reflecting on our experience is the key to growth they say, so I wanted to get down on paper (sort of) what I have learnt from the whole experience of training for and running a half-marathon. As John Cusack/Nick Hornby would say here are my top five reflections:
1. Strengthen your core!
I think this is my top tip – I had neglected my strength training for my back and core and I really felt it towards the end of the race. My legs were actually fine but I was feeling the distance in tightness in my lower back. I regretted not doing more work on it.
2. Follow a training plan
A good realistic training plan will get you across the finish line without injury. I followed a 14 week plan that got me out the door 3 times a week, with a long run on a Saturday, followed by several gin and tonics on a Saturday night. (The gin may not have been in the plan – thanks Mary Jennings at Forget The Gym). There is also a strange satisfaction in ticking off your runs each week, making your notes to yourself, and seeing your progress.
3. Avoid being a zombie – take a nap
As the mileage increased I found I had to go for a nap in the afternoon of a long run. I couldn’t physically cope with the tiredness but a sleep in the afternoon made me human again.
4. Times don’t matter
I am not a fast runner, and will never win a race but I could not care less. I race only against myself, and the achievement for me is in signing up for a race, training for it and crossing the finish line without stopping. (Stop at the finish line obviously). The runners I admire the most are not the speedy ones who get preferential treatment up the front, but the people still running after three hours, sore and tired but determined not to give up. Walking back to the car after finishing my race, I cheered them on to the finish and their determination and commitment made me cry. It was an emotional day!
5. Running is for everyone and it’s fantastic
One of the best things about the Rock’n’Roll half-marathon is that it attracts all sorts of people and really exemplifies the fact that running is for everyone – not just the young, not just the thin, not just the fast. I am none of those things but yet I could do it and enjoy it and achieve my goals.
If I can do it anyone can. Really. Carpe diem.