Half Marathon Pains

For the last couple of years I’ve really started to enjoy running and attempt to go three times a week, although lately this seems to rarely happen. I used to go to the gym frequently but as I finished university and started having to earn a living and pay for my own bills etc, I sadly had to cut that out as an unnecessary expense. Thus running was a free way for me to continue exercising regularly and at times I can find it therapeutic and a good way to rid stress. Now, since getting into running, it has always been a goal of mine to do a half marathon and eventually a full one and last week I finally fulfilled the first half of this and ran the Scottish Half Marathon, my first and hopefully not my last marathon.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would rather die than run for hours on end but I had my motivations. Mainly that being that growing up I’d never been into a sport or been good at one for a matter of fact and since I enjoyed running this was going to be my sport. That meant running marathons as I wanted to do it, to some degree, competitively. But me being me, I started of with every intention of training for the half, in fact to start I was running 10ks regularly and making sure I ran three times a week. But oh boy did that soon stop. It eventually got to the point where I was basically just doing one 5k run a week, meaning I was essentially attempting this half marathon with no training at all, not something I’d advise.

I expected that it was going to be hard, even with training it was going to be hard, so I assumed that it was going to be doubly as so since I hadn’t done any at all! I had put down my provisional time as 2 hours meaning I was in the first of the large pens on race day and I thought that this would be an achievable time for me, since I can comfortably do 11k in just under an hour. I then believed that for the first 15k I’d be fine then the next couple would be hard with the final few being fine again as I’d be close to the finish and motivated. But this definitely wasn’t the case, instead there was a wall around mile 10 where my legs became really heavy and I was finding it very hard to run, to the point where I had to stop, walk for a bit and then run again for a while and I did this on repeat until the end.

It’s strange, what I didn’t account for while running a half marathon is where my mind would wander too. I must of thought about everything during that 2 hours running, from what I was going to do for dinner, to who I thought during the run was attractive (this happened quite a bit). But what I did come to realise is that running for this length of time definitely becomes a mental battle, as during those last 3 miles I had a constant argument going on in my head on if I should stop and walk or continue running.

Now its nearly been a week since I ran and I can finally walk again properly, and since then reflecting back I’ve realised that there are some things that i’d have done differently and will do different for my next one, whenever that shall be. Firstly make sure to train, this one is pretty obvious really and I think it would of helped with those final 3 miles I struggled with. Secondly, skip the running energy gel, I had never used it in the past and it ended up giving me a horrible stitch which I think it was another thing which contributed to those hard final miles. Thirdly, work on my running playlist more, it’s strange how motivational some songs are and I’d easily overlooked this and finally remember that during the run at times it may feel like hell and be extremely hard, but within an hour or so you’ll be finished. The pain is just temporary and worth the reward when finished.

Well that is all I’ve got to say on this matter. As always I hope you’ve enjoyed these rambles. Until next time.

Cheers.

– J

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