Progress: Portsmouth Half Marathon to Winchester 10k

What a difference 3 weeks makes…..

Sunday 4 February:

A Personal Worst (PW) half marathon performance at the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon of 2:07:41.

The weather was perfect, chilly but sunny, although with a bit of a headwind on parts of the first half. 2 years ago I ran a half marathon PB of 1:50:15 at this race. I knew going into this year’s race that it’d be a big ask for me to match or beat that time, or even to go sub-2 hours, given my current level of fitness. As a result, I decided to run on feel and not look at my watch to take the pressure off while seeing what I could achieve.

The first half went well but the wheels came off in the last 4 miles. I didn’t stop and walk though. I’m happy with the outcome. I have something to build upon now as I work towards the longer stuff in the second half of 2018.

3 weeks later:

O

Oh so nearly a Personal Best (PB) at the distance at the Winchester 10k road race, crossing the finish line in 49:53, a whole 4 seconds later than my PB set in 2015. How the heck did that happen when I couldn’t run a decent race 3 weeks earlier?!

Reflections:

  • Drills, mobility and pre-race warm up

A warm up run before the race is something I’ve not done before and that, combined with dynamic stretching as practiced in my fortnightly PT sessions and drills shared by Ronnie Staton set me up well for the start.

  • Pacing

I paced sensibly for the first 2 miles – the polar opposite of my half marathon pacing in Portsmouth – and “embraced the suck”, as Matt Fitzgerald says, in miles 4 & 5, before finishing strongly. My average pace for the race was bang on 8:00/mile, a pace I’d not been able to maintain for more than a couple of miles for a long time.

  • Running relaxed (mentally)

I had no specific time goal going into the race, hopeful that I’d manage something between 52 and 54 minutes. I tried to maintain a constant pace, eased off when I needed to in the first 2 miles, pushed on up the inclines, and made the most of the descents. I focused on the process and not the outcome – at least until the last mile when I knew that sub-50 minutes was a possibility!

  • Smart training with TrainAsOne

I’m starting to believe I can recover past fitness levels and surpass them. My training is based upon my race goals, with workouts set and adjusted run by run via the @trainasone platform. It was strange comparing my running stats from January and February this year to 2017, with my mileage almost halved this year. I’ve been running 3-4 times a week since starting with TAO in November. Consistent running is key here. I’m rebuilding patiently as I head towards more ultra marathons – especially the 5 hilly as hell loops of the @centurionrunning Wendover Woods 50 in November – and judging by this performance it is working well.

What next?

Next up for me is the Giants Head Marathon in June, my first White Star Running race and one I’m looking forward to. I’m hoping to get another 10k (road) or half marathon (trail) in before then to see how I’m progressing.

I’m feeling optimistic, determined and committed. Oh, and really enjoying my running again 😀