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A tale of two Sundays

January 27, 2013 | 3:17 pm

Last Sunday, I ran my first Half Marathon. It wasn’t an organised race, simply me getting up early in the morning and going for my longest training run to date.

I hadn’t set off with the intention of running 13.1 miles, I was just taking the next step on the training plan I loosely have, which involves increasing the mileage on my longest run each week. The goal for last Sunday’s run was to run for two hours (previously I hadn’t run for longer than about 95 minutes) and to see how I felt.

I started off at a sedate pace doing the first mile in 9’42” then did the next few miles a bit quicker but never felt like I was pushing too hard. The splits for each of the first 9 miles were
1 9:42.1
2 9:27.6
3 8:59.8
4 9:19.7
5 9:17.6
6 9:09.8
7 9:01.8
8 9:16.3
9 9:05.7

I felt pretty confortable as the miles went past and it occurred to me by about mile 9 or 10 that I was going to be pretty close to running 13.1 miles in the two hours I’d allowed myself. My worry with distance running has always been (like distance cycling) if you put in too much, too soon there will be nothing left in the tank towards the end. However, with only half an hour to go and just under 10 miles covered, I had a go in the last four miles, as you can see from the rest of my splits:

10 8:48.0
11 8:48.1
12 8:45.1
13 8:38.4

I finished in a time of 1hr59’15” – a full 45 seconds under two hours and was, frankly, elated! The first time I’d run a Half Marathon and I did it in less than two hours, with my fastest pace towards the end! I’ve spent the week confidently looking forward to the Full Marathon in London, wondering if I can maintain this sort of pace over the longer distance….???

Fast forward to this morning, seven days later, and oh, how things have changed! I set my alarm a little earlier this morning, and was out running by 7.15. The snow had all cleared and the temperature was a lot milder, it wasn’t raining but was quite breezy!

That’s where the good news ends.

I was hoping to emulate last weeks time, and perhaps even improve on it. Given that I felt I’d gone steady in the first few miles last week, and felt strong at the end, I wondered what I would be like if I went out faster from the start. Would I still be able to do the same time for the last three miles?

Well those thoughts didn’t last very long! From the very start, I felt tired and my legs felt heavy. I wondered if I might warm up but after two miles, it didn’t get any better. From there on in, it was just a question of getting round.

As the splits show, I was getting slower and slower towards the end.
1 9:13.7
2 9:17.9
3 9:11.6
4 9:53.7
5 9:42.9
6 9:20.0
7 9:15.6
8 9:43.4
9 9:53.5
10 9:53.0
11 9:27.8
12 10:17.8
13 10:06.0

I’m glad that I persevered – those miles are in my legs now – but as I write this on Sunday afternoon, these legs can hardly walk up the stairs!!!

What a contrast to last weeks run. Its difficult to know why there was such a marked difference. I didn’t feel any different during this week, compared to last. Perhaps it takes me longer than a week to fully recover – these aren’t 21 year old legs anymore!

I also did more yesterday (cleared the snow, walked the dogs and did 80 mins on the turbo trainer) whereas last Saturday, I didn’t do any exercise – I was in A&E with Grace when Tickhill Vélo were setting off for their Saturday lunchtime ride (that’s another story).

It’ll be interesting to see how next Sunday goes… I’m supposed to increase the mileage to about 15 miles!


Posted by Gareth

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