Thursday, 15 September 2011

A sub-2:00 half - are the odds in my favor?

I've run almost 403 miles since the beginning of June to train for the Dublin Half Marathon this Saturday. But has it been enough for me to run 13.1 miles in under 2 hours?

This race has been a long time in the making. In July 2010, I was feeling great about my training. I'd done two half marathons already with the goal to break 2 hours at the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October. I had finally gotten myself a GPS watch, and for the first time experienced the benefits of knowing my pace. Not only did the times on my training runs seem to be dropping, but I was also doing strength training, boxing and yoga. Gone was the tiredness that I experienced when training for my very first half, so I didn't feel like I was overdoing it.

Then it happened. Running through Hyde Park with some colleagues one day, I felt a twinge on my run. Okay, so I admit it. It was more than a twinge, and after we stopped at a traffic light it really hurt to get going again. But I ignored it, figured it would go away and that I could just stretch it out when we got back to the office. By that evening, I had to call my husband to pick me up from the tube station because I didn't think I could walk home. To make a long story short, after about 3 weeks of denial and rest, I finally went to see a physiotherapist. I couldn't run without being in pain and had to miss the Royal Parks Half. By the time I had recovered and started running seriously again it was January 2011, it felt like I was starting again from scratch.

So here I am almost a year after I should have done the Royal Parks Half, with the same goal of running a sub-2:00 half marathon in Dublin. I'm happy with where I am but there are some worries:

  • My running has been far from perfect. Missed some runs in my training plan, and while I had some good runs, I feel like I had an equal number of bad ones! Not sure if I ever got to the point of feeling really comfortable on my long runs, and for many I didn't even hit my target pace.
  • I didn't cross train or do strength training this time around. I worried that I was just doing too much when I got injured, so this time I focused solely on running. But has that been to my detriment? Would I have been stronger if I had cross trained?
  • I spent my taper week on holiday in Prague. This was an unplanned break at nearly the worst time, but I couldn't pass up the last minute opportunity. Long walks in the heat on cobbled streets and running on the treadmill for the first time in months was probably not the ideal way to spend my taper week!

But at the same time there are things that I have never done before which I hope will get me to the finish line faster:

  • I hit my highest weekly volume of 36.43 miles. Previously I never ran more than about 23 miles a week.
  • For the first time my longest long run was more than half marathon distance, 14.52 miles. I did 14-mile long runs 4 times, versus a maximum long run of 11 or 12 miles.
  • Being on a career break means that I am more well-rested than I have ever been! I consistently get an average of 8 hours of sleep.

I know I'm ready to run in Dublin, but what are my chances of breaking a sub-2:00 half?

Whatever the outcome, I'm really happy to be where I am at the moment with my running and fitness.....and I promise you it will only get better from here! No matter what, I know I will finish this race. I have absolutely no doubts about that. I'm comforted by the fact that if I don't run a sub-2:00 half this time, I have the Poppy Half in November, Brighton Half in February...and the rest of my life! Because I'm not going to give up until I do it!

Dublin here I come!


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