After four months of regular running including the 12 weeks I spent following Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon for Novices plan I lined up at the start line of the Coatesville Half Marathon – although when I say “lined up”, what I actually mean is that I took refuge from the rain under a tree until most of the field had crossed the line and then I followed behind them.
To cut a really long and slow race re-cap short;
I ran some, walked A TONNE and finished (just) – it was touch and go for a little while there as my bad knee blew up like a balloon at about 12k and although I’d been making up time on the flats and downhills up to that point, once my knee swelled it was tear inducing to run downhill so my overall pace slowed considerably.
Looking back over the event, I know where I went wrong – from the 5-6k mark I’d been sitting behind someone using them as a pacer because they seemed to be really consistent and I wasn’t used to running so many hills BUT their pace was much slower than I was used too so I ended up doing more of a shuffle than a run, which although I was able to maintain for long period of time, obviously wasn’t a good idea because my knee didn’t like it.
My knee still would have grumped at me eventually but I can usually get at least 15-16k’s before any signs of trouble and I’ll freely admit it’s SO shite when you feel good cardiovascular wise but can’t run for as long as you want too!
But you live and learn – right? .. what else did I learn from my first ever half marathon?
- If the course you plan to run includes hills perhaps you should run some instead of spending the majority of your time meandering along the picturesque waterfront.
- Walking is hard work (in fact I found it harder than running) so add walking into your training especially if you know you won’t run the entire 21k.
- Run more hills.
- Flag the food, you’ve NEVER liked eating during activity so carry pain killers instead.
- RUN MORE HILLS!
All day yesterday I was adamant that I’d never run the Coatesville Half again .. the hills! OMG the hills! I mean I knew there were hills, but as I’d only ever run the 8 kilometer course I had no idea of the EXTENT of the hills! The sheer number of hills just killed me .. !
And then James made quite a valid point, Coatesville is probably the perfect course for me because I’m built for hills and he’s right. Although I’m heavy (for a distance runner) I’m also relatively strong, so although a long flat course probably sounds more appealing, perhaps it’s not where I’d do best IF I put in a decent effort during training to run more hills.
I’ll put Coatesville into the “never say never” pile.
Till next time
PS – Without a doubt, I’d rather do burpees!