The Half Marathon – Learnings
On Sunday I ran the Silverstone half marathon for the second year in a row and this year I completed it in 2h46m. Last year I completed it in 2h40m. I was a little gutted that I didn’t do it faster than last year. I really believed that despite not having trained that much that I was in better shape than last year and would be able to do it faster.
About 6 weeks ago I smashed my PB at 5k by over 4mins; I did it in 35m which is the quickest I’d ever done it and was also my personal target from when I started this whole process of getting fitter and healthier 4 years ago.
Apart from the 5K I ran the only other major training I did, aside from the exercise I do day to day, was to go hill running which I did a week before the half marathon. I also incorporated skipping and did that between badminton games. I’ve gotten pretty good at it now! 🙂
I’d also been playing more badminton singles and that was helping with my fitness. My diet hadn’t been great on the build up to the event and I sort of felt like I’d put on a bit of weight even though everyone around me told me they thought I’d lost weight.
I started off in the same way that I would normally do, slower than most other people and I paced myself according to how I was feeling. After about 2 miles I gradually increased my pace. I felt pretty comfortable I got into a good rhythm.
After about 5 miles I began to feel tired. I thought I was experiencing the end of my first wind and then I waited for my second wind which came but didn’t last long.
By mile 9 I was thoroughly exhausted and ready to give up. I started to get a pain in my left knee and I faced a tough decision. Do I continue and fight through the pain or do I give up and save my knee for another day. I decided to continue and it was only sheer will-power that got me to the end of the race. I had absolutely no physical energy left and it was only the determination to complete that enabled me to continue.
5 days later and my knees are still in pain but I’ve been told by a reliable source that the pain is only temporary and that I luckily didn’t do any long term damage.
When I got to end I thought “I’m never doing that again” but a few days later I was still determined to do the marathon. Next time I do it though I will make sure I am in full physical fitness. Because of my car accident I knew I still had a few remaining issues and I realise now that I should have waited longer before getting into the running again.
Another important thing I realised is that even though I’m in good state of health and physically fit it’s not a good idea me running a marathon while I’m still 19stone. I realise now that I would need to lose at least another 3 stone and increase my physical stamina dramatically for a continuous 26mile run. I always thought that I could run 26 miles at my current physical level but I realised clearly that I was kidding myself.
I don’t by into any of the notions that as you get older, the less you should do, or the weaker your joints get, or that running is bad for your knees. Despite all that I do and my size I generally have less knee and back problems than a lot of people I know of who are roundabout my age. I believe that if you do it well with the conscious intention of getting stronger and pay attention to what you’re doing you will be able to get stronger and fitter and even strengthen your joints.
Since my I don’t get my guaranteed place in the marathon until 2011 next year I’m planning to go on one of those charity treks and climb Mt Kilimanjaro. I love running up hills and climbing so it’s a different kind of challenge I’m really excited about!