First half marathon training run of the year

I run all year round. I love it. For most of the year, I run just over four miles, three times a week (or four if the exact alignment of the planets means I don’t have too many hospital appointments or urgent shopping trips interrupting my working day).  But about 12 weeks before a half marathon, I increase my distance. I also cut down my number of runs to twice a week – partly so I don’t overdo it and partly because fitting kids and work round long runs is hard enough without doing it three times a week.

Many years ago, before I even started doing half marathons, my husband hit on eight miles as being a good place to start training. And I’ve stuck with that ever since. To be honest, it probably isn’t such a good idea. I should probably go from four miles to six and then to eight, but I don’t. I just jump straight to eight miles. Back in those days, before I used to run with an app, I also believed my four mile run was a five mile run, so it didn’t feel like such a step up.

Twelve weeks to the Cheltenham half marathon came and went. So did 11 weeks. Not only was I not running eight miles, I was barely running four. The last few weeks had been so manic, that I was averaging about one run a week. But when it got to 10 weeks to the half marathon, I knew I just had to get out there and do it.

I don’t know what it is about my legs. On the day I get up intending to do a long run, they always seem to hurt. Maybe it’s just me being more in tune with my body and noticing aches and pains I wouldn’t otherwise notice? But I was going to run, whatever happened.

I started off quickly, then I realised I needed to ease off a bit as I was running twice as far as usual and it was warm. Nine minute miles would be fine for a first go – my aim was to complete the run, not to break records and half kill myself in the process.

As soon as I started running, the tops of both my legs started to ache. Not an ache I’m used to. It was more of a muscular pain, whereas my pain tends to be more in my joints (and my toenails!). It would ease, I just needed to keep running.

As I crossed a narrow railway bridge less than a mile from home – one that I cross on every single run I ever go on – I whacked my elbow hard on the metal bridge. I have never done that before. And the pain! Oh, the pain! It was excruciating. It brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t move my arm, so I just hobbled with my arm held out straight. But the pain was so bad it stopped me from running. I seriously contemplated sitting on the grass verge there and then, but I kept telling myself it was just my elbow – elbows hurt badly and then they stop.

And so it did stop. And so did the aching legs.

With the whack to the elbow, I was running slower than I would have liked – over nine minutes miles. I picked up the pace just a little bit.

I carried on running. I felt pretty good for a person who hadn’t run for a week and hadn’t run over four miles for 10 months. It was warm, but cloudy, thank goodness.

I kept on running. I was halfway. I ran along the long, straight, boring road. I ran through the town. I ran up the hill out of town (OK, I may have walked a little bit of the hill). My ITB started to hurt, but not so badly I needed to stop, thank goodness. I don’t have time to be messing around sorting out my ITB – I’ve got a half marathon to train for!

And then I was on the home straight. I’m not sure if the two trains at the level crossing half a mile from home were welcome or an irritation. Probably a bit of both.

I was aching, my elbow was bruised and swollen, but I’d made it!

I had a cold bath, did my stretches and rolled my ITB. I was back in the game. I could run eight miles. In another six or seven weeks, I’ll be running 12!

Running, Training, Trainers, 365

Author: Sarah Mummy

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4 Comments

  1. fair play to you for carrying on, I would have been a crying heap on the floor after banging my elbow lol x

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    • Ha ha, thanks very much. I was close to stopping, but I really wanted to do the run, so that won over in the end! x

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  2. Oh wow, I’ve got a bit of HM envy. I’m almost overwhelmingly tempted to to join you on the Cheltenham half. What time do you usually run it in? I’ve got a run in Worcester in September, but that’s a bit of a cheats one – there’s wine at all the water stations haha. Really need to do some proper running! I’m so impressed that you managed to keep going despite everything. I’m sure you’ll be fine on the run, you’re doing brilliantly 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! It would be great if you could join us! I usually think I run dead on two hours, but last year I did 1 hour 51 55! I will never beat that.

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