Two Milestone Runs, Part 2: The Half Marathon

Let me set the scene: I had a long week at work. I’d also done two tempo runs on weekdays, and was feeling victorious but a little sore. This weekend was my second 10-mile training run, and I was very nervous. For this one, I actually had to try and hit marathon pace (which isn’t that fast, but let’s face it, I’m not that fast) and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

 

I slept in for an hour or so, and then dragged my butt out of bed for a big breakfast and some very heavy procrastination. (Breakfast, in case anyone cares, was oatmeal, banana, raisins and peanut butter. Sweeeet peanut butter gods.) It was starting to spit with rain, and the wind was high, and I almost considered putting it off until the Sunday. But alas, I’d made plans for the Sunday, and it was now or never.

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I’d actually procrastinated so hard that I was hungry again by the time I went out, so I grabbed a Peanut Butter Cliff Bar and began nibbling on it around Mile 3. I managed to hit my 9-minute mile pace, and even negotiated my way around The O2, which I’d failed to do the week before. At Mile 5, the supposed halfway point, I thought I’d tack a bit on, just in case I took a shorter route on the way back. That turned into 6 miles, and then I thought sod itI’ll do a half marathon. I knew it would be a struggle, and that I’d have to abandon my pace, but I felt like I had it in me. Plus, I’d brought snacks.

 

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I have to say, that end of London is pretty bleak, especially on a wet and windy day. But thankfully there were other runners out, all presumably training for the London Marathon, and so I had a sense of camaraderie.

Surprisingly, I managed to keep the pace around the 9-minute mile mark, but I took several short breaks to stretch out my aching calves. My hip flexors and ankles were also aching, but thankfully I managed to keep going. It was only when I got to Greenwich Park, at Mile 11, also known as The Big Hill Between Me and My Flat that I had a minor existential breakdown. My hip flexors were in a lot of pain by this point, and I was somehow (vainly) concerned about how shit my pace would look on Strava. (Not my finest moment, I know).

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Once I got over that hill, I knew it was plain sailing (and mostly downhill) from then on. I even got a friendly, enthusiastic smile from a fellow runner I passed- I must have looked pretty miserable! As I neared my flat, I actually picked up the pace, just to get to my PB and toast more quickly- and it hurt. By the time I got home, I was a wreck. Compression socks on, minimal yoga done; I climbed into bed and watched crap TV until the hanger awoke me.

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All in all I’d say it went very well- I had some issues with leg cramps, but this seems to be an electrolyte imbalance, so I’ve stocked up on Nuun- let’s hope for the best!

Any tips for coping with fatigue as my mileage increases?

 

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15 thoughts on “Two Milestone Runs, Part 2: The Half Marathon

  1. You’re doing well! I’ve just got up to 15 and my legs HURTTTT as well! I’d recommend a foam roller with the nobbly bits on (you can get this on Amazon!) – they’re a liver saver, SiS energy gels (these seem to help loads when my legs start to feel tired!) and the SiS electrolyte tablets. Keep it up! x

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  2. Good stuff. Pre-hydrate really well, rehydrate after your run, and have a nice bath. A good soak is great for the legs. The foam roller as mentioned is no harm either, just do it before the bath. There is bugger-all evidence to suggest epsom salts or any of those things work in the tub, but they’re fun to add in. Just not too hot. As the mileage increases, so too will your fitness. Just make sure to rest. It’s only when we rest that we get fit…

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  3. Way to go! Some fatigue is a natural part of training; in fact, it can be helpful because it teaches your body to push through even when you’re tired, which is what you’ll need to do in the marathon.

    The one thing that’s made the biggest difference for me is slowing down my weekday training runs. I’ll do one speedy workout per week, 1 moderate-paced run at goal marathon pace, and the rest is at a very easy pace. Don’t worry about how it looks on Strava – that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to run fast every single day. Many of the best runners in the world do their easy runs super slow, sometimes even 2:00 min/mile slower than their marathon pace. You won’t lose fitness because your’e still doing some hard workouts during the week, but by keeping your other runs easy, you will have a lot more energy. Also that and making sure you’re fueling properly, getting enough sleep (a big one!), and drinking enough water throughout the day.

    Keep going, you’re doing great!

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    1. Thank you! You always leave such useful comments 🙂 I think I need to just forget about Strava completely and worry more about miles under my belt than time. Slow miles are where it’s at! I just did another long run last night (weekend plans got in the way!) and it was much slower, but I was still in a lot of pain as I have a dodgy hip flexor. Recovery this time around seems better though! Sleep is such a huge issue at the moment, to the extent that I’m starting to make mistakes in other areas of my life…thankfully I’m having a long weekend at my parents house for some R&R! x

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  4. Oh man, I’m not sure I cope with fatigue well. Generally, when I’m deep in training, I just give up housework and cooking, opting instead to go over to my boyfriend’s house every day for dinner and periodically buying us burritos for dinner when I am overcome with guilt for never contributing to the relationship.

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