A reality check

It’s now less than 3 weeks to go until my next race – the Brighton Half Marathon. I ran the race last year and am looking forward to returning for a second time. It’s a beautiful course along the seafront and was a well organised race. Well organised apart from the small matter of it being too long last year!


Before Christmas I had set myself a goal of running the whole half marathon distance and was making good progress with my training – I’d got up to 8 miles non stop and felt pretty confident about achieving my goal. But then we went away for nearly 3 weeks and while I ran regularly I didn’t get any long distances in. Then we came home and I signed up for Julia’s fat loss fitness programme. When I did this I knew that I was going to be training differently and that it might impact on my running goals. But I was prepared for that because the fat loss is so important to me and should ultimately make me a better runner.

I went out on Monday for a long run – I’d scheduled 8 miles and had planned to run the whole way. But it just didn’t happen. The lack of mileage in my legs is showing and I ended up run/walking in quite a random fashion – not set intervals just stopping to walk here and there. It didn’t feel good and I felt quite deflated.

So it’s time for a reality check about my goal for Brighton. I no longer think that running the whole way is achievable for me at this point in time. Frankly I have not put in the training to be able to do that. There is no point in starting the race with that as my goal – I’ll only end up being disappointed when I have to stop and walk and I want to enjoy the race. So – what’s my plan?

Last year I ran/walked the race with Darin McCloud using a 9:1 strategy and got around in 2hrs and 36 minutes (after the running too far debacle had been addressed). I felt pretty good for the first 8 miles and then struggled quite a lot in the last 5 as we’d set off too fast. So my new goal is simply to beat my time from last year, and I think that’s achievable. Ideally I’d love to get around in under 2 and a half hours but anything that’s a PB will be fantastic.

My best performance in a race last year was in the Great South Run where I used a 5:1 run/walk ratio so I’m planning on using that again this time. I’ve got a couple of long runs left to try out my strategy but having used it before I know it works well for me.

One day I will run an entire half marathon, but it’s not going to be this one and having made that decision I’m actually feeling quite good about it. A personal best will do very nicely as an alternative!


4 thoughts

  1. It’s good to be realistic, Becca. I completed three half marathons in my early twenties, but 1) I was in my early twenties; 2) I was a student so had lots of time to train; 3) I trained like an idiot (and injured my knee in the process, which I’m still suffering from). I don’t know if I’ll ever run that far again….. but setting goals, working towards them, and being flexible enough to change them if that proves necessary, are all ways of moving forwards.

  2. Thanks Barbara – I’m sure I’ll do it sometime – just now’s not the right time for me. To do it I’d need to be running decent distances at least 3 times a week and that doesn’t fit in with Julia’s plan which right now is way more important to me.

  3. I love yr honesty Becca. I have also jettisoned a PB goal for an upcoming 1/2m because of shin splints. But sometimes I think we get too obsessed with the whole PB thing and forget why we do this…for fun. I might try out a novel concept and run the Bath 1/2 at whatever pace is comfortable, soak up the atmosphere, meet some great people and enjoy myself. I might even go wild and not wear a watch!!!

    1. Thanks Peter. Enjoying a race is important to me and that’s part of the reason for my decision. Knowing deep down that I’m not ready to run all the way and keeping that as a goal would have made it really stressful and disappointing on the day.

      Sorry to hear about your shin splints – that’s a shame – but I hope you can enjoy the race. Running ‘naked’ can be very liberating. I did it a few times when training for the VLM last year and really enjoyed my runs. Give it a try!

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