Helsby Half and Marathon Training – Week 2

Don’t have a cup of tea before a race, even if you need it to warm you up on a cold wet winter’s morning. There are many hedges along the route of the Helsby Half but when the verges look all muddy, and most of the gates to get through are shut, and there are a lot of gaps between the twigs so not much would have been hidden anyway, it felt like the right decision to hold on all the way when the need arose at mile 4.

It was probably the tea, but it didn’t help that I’d just started my period that morning, and I felt a little anxious too. After tearing around Parkrun the previous day, I wondered if my legs were going throw a wobbler but after the first two or three miles, where they felt a bit leaden, they warmed up and felt pretty good. I ran the first few miles with John, where we even attempted a little backward running so a kind stranger to take a picture of us ‘in action’. It felt like a nice pace but when I looked back on my stats, the first three miles were all below 11 minutes, so it just goes to show you.

What did it show me?

Lining up for the start of the race. A rainbow of running tops
A rainbow of running tops in the rain

I’m trying to run, at least the first marathon this year, on feel. Partly because I’m too tight to buy a posh watch, and partly because I want to listen to my body, and its energy levels. If I had been looking down at my watch, I would have aimed to start off at around 11:15 min/miles, but all I considered was whether my breathing was really comfortable or not, as in: can I keep my mouth closed for twenty seconds at a time (it would have been more if I wasn’t so snotty), without gasping; or can I have a really easy conversation with people around me.

As John was with me for this part, we chatted away. Somewhere in the first few miles I gently eased away, but unbeknown to me, John kept me in sight all the way, so perhaps we should have stayed together – I may have thought less about my bladder with the chat.

Apart from having a couple of sips of water at each of the three drinks stations I didn’t walk at all, which is a much better result than the last two Halfs. Again, I think it was because I stayed within a comfort zone most of the way. My legs started to get tired around mile 7 but I still had enough energy to fling myself down the steep downhills at around mile 11. The gradient was steep enough to feel the speed but not so much that I was in danger of going head over heels! Plus, I’d met Sue (from the club) along the way, handing out sweets, and she told me I was possibly on for a 2.15

With my final bit of pelting, that turned out to be pretty accurate, as my official time was 2:15:41, my best time on this course, and my best time for a few years. After getting over the line and being handed a bottle of water, reminding me of the thing I actually needed, I found Jo, waiting for me, which was lucky as the way back to the club house and the lavatories was long and complicated and did not make my waterworks love me at all.

Once I got over that, I was really, really pleased with my result. I would have been okay with a 2:25, was secretly hoping for a 2:20 but I’m over the moon with what I got. Of course, this isn’t the end goal, and it’s just the end of week 2 in a 15-week journey (for attempt 1). The next step is to build the miles and get stronger and I’m a little scared about that because I know how hard it is. But I guess, if it’s not hard, it’s not a challenge.

This is my round up for Week 2:

Monday4.22 miles [6.79km] easy (11.53 min/miles [7.16 min/km])
Had two very tight calves before this run. I blame the walk yesterday but the run seemed to ease them a little
TuesdayBabysitting and Club Run – 4.16miles [6.69km] easy (10.55 min/miles [6.56 min/km])
A progression run which went quite well, and the calves felt better again.
WednesdayStrength and Conditioning Class
Dripping by the end!
ThursdayMissed my usual cycle ride and had a massage instead. A wise choice.
SaturdayParkrun (Course PB)
If you include my little warm-up and warm-down runs it worked out to 4.23 miles [6.81km]
SundayHelsby Half Marathon
13.19 miles [21.22km]
Total: 25.8 miles [41.52km]

12 thoughts on “Helsby Half and Marathon Training – Week 2”

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