My first half marathon is now less than 4 weeks away, so this week I thought I would talk about what my current training situation is, how I’m feeling and what I’m doing to prepare for the upcoming event.
Now, the half that I’m doing is in Bedgebury national pinetum and forest, which in hindsight was probably not the best choice for my first half marathon. The course is notorious for being quite hilly, the route being 2 laps of undulating trails and paths within Bedgebury Forest. Being less than 4 weeks away I’d say I’m starting to feel quite apprehensive, not only do I have to cover 13.1 miles, which is further than I’ve ever run before, but there’s also the added obstacle of it being very hilly. Don’t get me wrong, running along trials is great, I definitely prefer running in nature, however, throughout my training I’ve mainly been running on flat ground which is probably not the best way to prepare. Besides these worries my training has actually been going pretty well, despite being a bit ill, (I’d like to thank Josh for giving me a cold ☹). This week has been my toughest in terms of mileage and I’ve managed to clock up 35km and I’m still feeling good! Now obviously to a lot of experienced runners this is probably nothing but for me this is probably the most I’ve ever been consistently running per week, so I’m pretty happy with that.
Monday was a strength and conditioning session. Honestly, I’ve been lacking a bit in this department lately, which I know is bad, with a bit of a dodgy hip I really need to up my conditioning. I just find it so tedious and would much prefer to run every day (although that would be a one-way ticket to disaster, I’d probably not be able to walk by the end of the week). The session was a mixture of lower body and core exercises.
Tuesday morning, I went to the gym with one of my housemates and did a weight session, training upper body. Although not really running specific I really enjoy lifting weights and it’s still good for strengthening core muscles which you need for running. I used to lift a lot of heavy weights last year when I was running less, however its quite the balancing act trying to squeeze everything in.
Tuesday evening, I did an interval session. I’ve recently joined a running club, the Canterbury harriers and although I’ve only been twice, I can say that I’m really enjoying training alongside other people. It really makes a big difference and is a great motivator, I feel like I really push myself when there are other people, especially since many of them are quite a bit faster than me. As well as this it’s always great to meet like minded members of the running community. The session comprised of a warm-up run of about 2 km, then 6 x 1 km laps with a 90 sec recovery jog in between, finished with a 2 km cool down. Honestly it was pretty difficult and by the last 1 km lap I was practically dragging my feet along the ground. I went home feeling pretty nauseous which I think was probably because I was feeling slightly ill and I pushed my self a bit too hard. Besides that, I’m looking forward to training with them again next week.
Wednesday was a spinning class, usually I hate classes in the gym, but I find I really like these sessions. The instructors are always really upbeat and motivating, although their song choices are sometimes questionable. All in all, it’s a great way of improving aerobic fitness without the impact of running so these are a staple in my routine.
Thursday was a hill session. My cold was really starting to catch up with me by the middle of the week, this mixed with not having eaten enough the previous day left me pretty slumped. I was doing laps of a 1.5km route which takes you down a hill and then up a hill. I was aiming for 5 but after the 4th I called it a day as I was struggling so much that I was having to stop and walk. I was scared that training Thursday was a bad move, I’ve always been told that if your symptoms are above the neck then your fine to train, but I was starting to have a bit of a cough yet choose to go out anyway. It’s quite unusual for me to get ill but luckily after about 10 cups of tea and a few Lemsips I was feeling quite a lot better by the end of the day.
Friday was another 30- minute spin class followed by some stretching in the gym.
Saturday was my longest run yet. I did 18 km which was pretty tough to say the least. Even though I did 15 km last week and technically this really wasn’t that much further, I was still very nervous. Surprisingly it actually went really well, I did my usually 5 km run down to my local parkrun, completed the 2 laps of 2.5 km and then did another 8 km. My legs still felt pretty good after the 5 km, nether the less I was prepared for the rest to be difficult since I never really go beyond 10 km. However luckily it was smooth sailing, before I knew it, I was back home having completed my longest run yet in 1 hour 34 minutes. My average pace being 5:14 min/km. I wasn’t particularly bothered about the timing of this run I just wanted to prove myself that I could actually do the distance so having done it in this time has given me an extra boost of confidence. It just goes to show that my training is slowly paying off, although sometimes its hard to see you just need to trust the process, progress doesn’t happen overnight. I did come away with some slight pain in my calf, although I think I might just have strained the muscle slightly. Other than this I’m feeling positive!
This was a hard week on my training schedule, so next week is going to slightly easier to allow my body recover and adapt to the training I’ve been doing. This means no mega long runs, I thought I’d be more happy about this, but I actually really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one!
Happy Weekend, I hope your training is also going well!