Weeks 5 and 6 were filled with my lowest lows and my highest highs, a true representation of what training for a half marathon means.
Week 5 is the first week in my training that I didn’t manage to get all the miles in. I’ve given up promising myself that I’d get all my cross training in but I at least always managed to get my miles in. I skipped a 5 mile run for reasons I can’t even remember now, so only had my 11 miles to tackle.
I had planned my route ahead of the time, packed my gels, grabbed my water and set off out my door. I soon turned around as as soon as I stepped outside a massive downpour started. All runners know the hardest steps are the ones out the door so I grabbed a jacket, zipped up and set off.
If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll already know that this run was a tough run. So much so that it made me cry. After blogging about this run I gained a lot of support from the online running community which I could not be more thankful. Thanks to everyone I learnt that everyone has their lows but these tough runs make us stronger. So I took advise on refuelling and started week 6 feeling better.
For week 6, I went a little off programme. After the low of the week before I thought it best to actually tackle the whole half marathon distance so when it comes to the race I know in my head that I can complete the distance. So during the week I did a quick 3 mile run with my dog, which as a result wasn’t so quick as he did not want to run. And at the weekend I tackled 13.2 miles.
As I was working at the weekend I had to get up extra early to get the 13 miles in, so I was up and out the door at 6am with the sunrise. Following advise from others I revised my refuelling and instead of taking a gel every hour I changed my tactic to every 45 minutes so I would be refuelling just before the 10 miles, which appears to be my wall.
I felt really good, even with a really hilly route which I’m not used to, up until mile 6 when I needed the toilet. Being in the middle of nowhere early on a Sunday morning meant there was no where to dive into to help, so I had to battle through. I managed to put the need to go to the back of my head up until mile 10 when being close to home I had to divert my route and go to the toilet. I’m very pleased to know there are toilets along the route in case this happens in race day! I headed back out to complete the last 3.1 miles and had my partner and our little dog to keep me company. I wasn’t much company as was battling my head a lot in the last 3 miles but my refuelling had helped and I didn’t feel as drained as I did on my last long run.
I hit the 13.1 miles literally steps away from home and cheered along with my partner. There was a short walk up hill to the front door and my partner made me run it even after hitting my target! However I reached the top and felt strong and proud.
I stopped my Strava and after the initial high I was a little disappointed to see my pace was well off my target pace. But as many people have said, what matters is that I’ve completed the distance. So I’ve picked myself up and reminded myself that running 13.1 miles is not an easy thing to do and to take every win I can get rather than beat myself up.