I had started my 30th year with clear fitness goals and had ticked them off one by one: increase weekly mileage; get 5km under half an hour, get 5.5km under half an hour, etc. I had started enjoying the gym and my workouts more and more, and truly cemented it as part of my routine when I started full time work, still managing to complete challenging workouts around a 9-5.
Mid-year, I saw a poster in my gym. It read ‘Join our Marathon Team!’ – I was intrigued. I had always wanted to try a half-marathon (21.1kms) and thought joining a team would be a great way to start. At the time, I did not have enough money to pay the joining fee, so I simply had it in my phone as a rolling reminder for when I would. I would not let myself forget. I really, really wanted to join.
Eventually, I joined the team and started training. Luckily, I had been running fairly consistently throughout the whole year, and knew I just needed a few run-throughs of the distance (or close to the distance) to gauge how I would fare. It was longer than I was used to, but I knew with practice I could push through.
I set a time goal of 2 hours. I knew at pace I could do 11km in under an hour on the treadmill, but outside conditions being different, I gave myself some wiggle room. I joined my team’s Facebook group, and it recommended a local running club that boasted a qualified fitness and running coach with many years of experience.
I went to the first group, nervous but determined, and found it absolutely wonderful. Challenging yourself in a group keeps you accountable and more likely to keep going than if you were on your own. I also met some really inspiring people.
With around two weeks left to go before the big day. I went on my long run, 18kms. I did it in under 2 hours, factoring in dodging around crowds and waiting at traffic lights, I felt better about competing in the half.
However, after only giving myself one day off afterwards, I went for another 5.5km run, and that’s when I felt twinges in my leg, I felt them all day at work, and even when I was walking from the car to the house. It increased my nerves and threw me off course. I took the week off running and training altogether until the twinges were definitely gone, scheduling myself in to see a Physio to make sure I could work out the knots. I had overtrained.
Luckily, the week off worked and I was back to gentle running the week after, putting in a good time for a 10km 3 full days before the halfer. The pain wasn’t completely gone, but I was keeping it under control and using the tips that my physio had given me.
2 days beforehand, I went and picked up my race pack, including a bib, a canvas bag and free socks! The event also recommended you download an app, which connected to the tracker in the bib, letting your friends and family know where you were on the track at any given time.
The lead up was amazing, so how was the actual day going to go? Find out in Part 2! Coming next week!