Brighton Half Marathon – reflections and lessons learned

So two days after my first half marathon and I’ve had time to reflect and think about what I’ve learned. I want to record this here so I don’t forget about it!

* Porridge and banana works really well as a pre-long run breakfast

* There is little point in running one of your fastest miles in mile one of a half marathon – better to save this for a 5k or 10k race

* It’s easy to get carried away at the start because it ‘feels comfortable’, slowing down takes discipline but will reap rewards later on

* One gel an hour was enough for a half marathon, I may need to increase this as the mileage increases

* High 5 gels are definitely my favourite, for consistency if nothing else

* Too much Lucozade Sport makes my mouth feel quite sticky – I need to follow this with water

* Switching from a 9:1 to 8:2 strategy helped a lot in the later miles and made only a little bit of difference to the mile times

* Always trust your Garmin. It is right!

* Active recovery works – walking around in the afternoon helped to stop my muscles from completely siezing up

There are some questions that I still need to answer during the second part of the training:

* Can I survive 26.2 miles on gels alone? Will I be able to stomach it?

* What made my feet cramp up from mile 11 and how can I stop that happening again?

* Can I do 26.2 miles without any music – there will be a lot more going on on the streets for the London Marathon but a bit of music might provide a bit of a lift during the tougher parts – I know it would have helped on Sunday

* I averaged 11.50 minute miles for the half marathon – what is realistic for a whole marathon? I need to know this so I know if I am going off too fast at the start

* My hamstrings really weren’t that happy from mile 8 onwards – how do I stop that happening again?

There’s plenty of miles to be run in the next 9 weeks that should allow me to answer some, if not all of these questions. Some I will probably only answer for sure on the big day itself!

6 thoughts

  1. It was a brilliant effort Becca, and good to see you thinking forward. Maybe massage for the hamstrings to improve blood flow? Enjoying the vicarious journey:)

  2. It was a brilliant effort Becca, and good to see you thinking forward. Maybe massage for the hamstrings to improve blood flow? Enjoying the vicarious journey:)

  3. This is really interesting Becca so thanks for sharing. As I've not run a race yet but have now run the same distance it's interesting. For the first time I ran out of juice. So it will be good to have water stations. I like the lucozade to that works for me. I use PowerBar Gels which are thicker but if you have them in your belt they get so warm that they get quite runny by the time you take them! I had an injury too which would be a nightmare on the big day.My legs were really really tired at the end of my run on Sunday. I couldn't imagine doing 26.2 miles right now. The good news is that I was fine on Monday – so that gave me some hope

  4. Well done Becca! Lots of great points there.I especially agree about going off too fast at the start, such a classic mistake & I'm really annoyed with myself for making it! I had my music on at the beginning (which is why I didn't hear you!) from around 2 miles to help me get up the "hill" but turned it off around 5 miles and then only switched it back on for the final push. Metric and Bloc Party had a lot to do with getting me through that extra 0.3 of a mile πŸ˜€ xx

  5. Well done! My first half marathon too blogged here: http://diaryofatinyholder.blogspot.com/2012/02/brighton-half-marathon-result.htmlI tried gels for the first time for the B'ton half (silly I know), but if I drink lucozade throughout I find I don't start running out of energy until mile 9 so I need a little pick me up around mile 8. I found my hamstrings hurt a bit for some reason too. I wonder if it might be because in training I normally run 10.5-11 min/mile and on the day i decided to go for 9.5-10 min/mile. I'm also doing brighton full now (just signed up) so got a bit of training catching up to do! πŸ™‚

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