For those of you short on time - the blog goes something like this: Joined Pyllon Trax in January, ran Inerness Half Marathon in March (1:24:37), got covid, got back to training, ran Edinburgh Half Marathon today in 1:23.46
For those of you that want the gritty details, keep on reading.
Firstly, I've not blogged in a long time but today, after the Edinburgh Half, I felt I wanted to document the run. I've not blogged for a while because I felt too much pressure to make the blog post look nice, be interesting and well, I just haven't had the want to do to it.
So I joined the Pyllon Trax team back in January and since then I've been coached by Robert Turner. I've known Robert for many years now, we used to be Edinburgh AC club mates so I knew what I was getting in to when I signed up to join his team. In short, hard work but in a controlled manner. Pushed hard enough to find new limits but not so hard that you get broken.
It has been hard work but I've been loving it.
I headed to Inverness Half marathon back in March and we had agreed it was probably a 'C' graded race, which means, it's more a "see where we are at" sort of race rather than a race we expect to see anything special.
The race went pretty well and I finished in 1:24.37. Some way off my PB of 1:18.23 but I guess close enough that it might be something to aim for in the future.
Fast forward a couple to first week in April and I caught COVID. Gutted! Training had been going so well but I lost probably 3 or 4 weeks of good training due to it. I felt not too bad during the time that I had it but the weeks after it I just felt fatigued!
Once I was over COVID I could get back to some solid training again but I knew I had lost a bit of the pace and endurance during my down time. All I could do was get back to focussing on each session Robert set me, tick it off, recovery, do the same again.
With only a few weeks to go the sessions were getting tougher but I was still completing them and I was feeling pretty good. Run, Rest, Repeat.
2 weeks out from race day and I would normally think about starting to back off the training but it was probably my heaviest week when it comes down to tempo sessions but you know what, I was loving it. Every session slightly different but from a training point of view, it really strengthened my mind. Running tired but still hitting the pace was a massive confidence boost.
1 week out from the race and it was taper time and the taper phantoms were in full swing. Legs feeling heavy, body feeling tired and doubts about whether I could run the pace I wanted all set in. A mid week chat with Robert soon sorted out my head and I had full trust in him and that my body would be ready for the race.
Now that I have ran the race, I'll share with you all my race plan.
Run the first 8 miles at 4:00min/km and then once I see the 8 mile marker, put the foot down and race to the finish line!
So with the plan in my head, it was time to race. Before I continue though, I want to explain something, I train in minutes per kilometre, I race in min/km but I'll still reference mile markers during a race. Just to add confusion!
So, the first 4 or 5 miles of the race has some pretty long declines. The Royal Mile for example. Now it could be tempting to nail it down the hills and bag some easy seconds but I decided not to do that today, I watched my Garmin and eased the pace to make sure I was sitting as close to 4min/km as I could.
So far, pace is going pretty well. I'm happy with how it was feeling and I was getting a bit excited to think that when the 8 mile sign pops up, it's game on! I had been worried that I would get to 8 miles and have nothing in the tank but I was feeling pretty good.
I'd had a shout out from Mandy who had been down at Portobello and I'd had a couple of other cheers from other friends who were on the course.
Although my pace had been pretty steady, I never found I was running with anyone around the same pace. I would have liked that but at the same time, it meant I was able to just enjoy my own race.
I got out to Musselburgh and there is was, like a big shiny beacon, the 8 mile marker. It was time to see what I could do.
Everything had been going pretty well, I was feeling amazing when I upped the pace. The effort felt pretty good. The out and back section seemed to go on forever though. I couldn't have got to the turning point quick enough. I just went on and on and on. Once I turned back though I was chasing and catching people again and feeling really strong.
Sure, my legs were getting heavy but I seemed to be running better than a number of people around me. Then, out of nowhere, I got a stitch right behind my ribcage - a common issue I get and I've no idea why. Maybe my effort level had gone too high, maybe I was losing form due to tiredness, who knows but all I know is I lost a good 20-30 secons on that final km and I was now getting passed by those I'd just passed. I was angry. I just wanted to get moving again but I couldn't.
In the end, I knew I only had maybe 500 metres to go so I pushed my fingers hard under my rib cage and went chasing those I'd been passed by. I caught a few of them but not all of them.
Crossing the line in 1:23.46, I feel good about that, could I have gone sub 1:23, who knows, maybe but it's an improvement on Inverness and a step in the right direction.
Now it's time to recover from today and look at what race will be next!
Well done everyone who ran today!
I'll post how my recovery is doing over on my instragram account - @scottishrunner
Published on: 29 May 2022