Sod Cross Country Running!
I was never the best distance runner at school. I used to win the sprint distances at primary school and then moved to rugby where interval running brought the results.
Since leaving school I entered some running distance events it has and it has been 5 – 10K running that has taken most of my focus and I was quite proud of how I did. I’d never challenge for top spot but would usually finish in the top 10% of a race – all good!
When It came to running “off the bike” in a triathlon I would struggle. There was no pain and I never really suffer from jelly legs I just couldn’t get the speed that I was used to running at and legs enjoyed cramping and give over longer distances. I hated the 10k in olympic triathlons for this reason.
I chose not to focus on running so much as prior to Staffordshire Half Ironman, it would be overkill in training and I had so much more to gain in the other disciplines. I would normally run the 5 miles to work and back once a week with no agenda other than to keep my legs ticking over.
Once it came to tail end of winter I started heading out for longish runs and took part in a couple 5km races. To my surprise I found that I was consistently running under 20 minutes over 5k, where previously I had only done this once, and the long runs were no big deal!
This had to be a by product of the other training that I had been doing. The aerobic training in swimming and cycling together with additional strength gained during crossfit must have been the secret behind it all.
I had signed up to a Half Marathon simply as a way to keep me motivated to run and to make sure that I had run the distance at least once prior to the Half Ironman. I had done the Great North run in 2hrs and some single-digit-number about 8 years earlier and averaged just under 2hrs per half of the Manchester Marathon i’d done in 2014 (my Half way split was 1hrs:45mins but I finished in 3 hrs 52). I thought that at best I could get a time of 1.40.
As I sidled up to the start line of the North London Half Marathon caught sight of the 1hr30mins pacemakers. My brain thought “fuck it” and I joined them. Why do I keep doing this? What was my strategy here? I clearly had no idea. Moments later the gun went off and the race started.
The pace seemed comfortable enough but I thought it was likely to fail – my plan was to just hold onto the pacemakers for as long as possible and see what happens. I think that’s how Mo Farah plans his races no?
Half Marathon PB
It turns out that I was holding their pace pretty well. Well enough to the extent that I thought “maybe I should speed up past these guys and finish sub 1:30”. These thoughts materialised at about the 8mile mark and about 9 miles In I realised that I was faltering! I held onto them until the 10mile mark started to fade. They inched ahead with every step and my heavy legs could not respond. I never lost sight of the pacemakers completely and found a running mate to keep me company and egg me on in the last 3 miles.
My finishing time was 1:31 something, smashing my previous half Marathon time by over 30mins. I wonder what I could have done if I had trained more!
When I comes to Staffordshire Half Ironman I have no idea what state my legs will be in or how to pace the run. It’s going to be difficult for sure. I would have completed at least 3 hours of swimming and cycling by that point and I fully expect to be hallucinating towards the end of it!
No matter how well or badly I do I know i’ll cross the line thinking “I wonder how what I could have done if I trained more”.
The fantastic people at Science in Sport (SiS) sports nutrition have been kind enough to support me in my training throughout this year with sports nutrition and indispensable advice. Without their help this would have been a far tougher mountain to climb!
If you are interested in seeing how great sports nutrition can have an immediate and powerful impact on your training and competitions feel free to visit their website or follow them on the Twitter. If you have any questions about sports nutrition you can get in touch with a real person here:
In competing in Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 (and Ride London on August 2nd 2015) I am taking the opportunity to raise money for 3 very special charities:
- Francis House Children’s Hospice
- COSMIC (Children of St Mary’s Intensive Care)
- MacMillan Cancer Support
If you have a moment and the kind inclination, please do take a moment to donate to these causes. If you wish to donate and to find out more about why I’m supporting these charities please visit my fundraising page. Thanks for your time!