What a week it’s been! Sunday was race day and my first stand alone half marathon in over 4 years. I’m pretty pleased with how it went. It has shown me that the hard work and long runs over the past couple of blocks of training have really given me a good endurance base going into the next block of training as I build into the triathlon season.
Although I was 5 minutes slower than my PB of 2:04:16, it is the first half marathon I’ve “finished strong”. By that I mean In the past I’ve gone through 10 miles around 9 min mile pace then just hit the wall and my pace has dropped significantly, resulting in a shuffle/walk for the last couple of miles. So this time I was determined to pace it better.
I went through 10 miles at 10 min mile pace and thought to myself once I hit 10 miles I’m only 5k from the finish. So a big milestone was to get to 10 miles feeling “fresh”. I did this then wanted to up the pace. Now in hindsight I could have probably paced mile 10 to 11 better, as this mile was a steady downhill and I upped the pace to 9:23 a mile. Although at the time I felt good, I think the higher pace and downhill section definitely took something out of my legs. As soon as I hit the flat on mile 11 I was pretty tired. This is where I was happy with this half marathon, and the training I’ve done has really paid dividends. As even with fatigue in my legs and 11/12 miles into a run I still managed to hold pace to complete the run in 2:10:31.
Now on reflection I’ve looked back over my training with Ray and my training in the past to see what I did differently.
Two things stuck out to me and one was consistency! Everybody harps on about consistency, but it really is the key to training. The best plans in the world won’t work unless you are consistent with training week in and week out. Secondly on my long runs Ray has been putting in stride outs in the latter parts of my long runs. So I’ve been upping the pace for 20 seconds then settling back into Zone 2 pace. I’ve never done that before. I’ve always just plodded at the same pace and hope my pace would stick till the end of the session/race. Doing these stride outs really focused me in the latter part of the session and gave me a buzz at the end that I managed to finish strongly!
So what’s next?
I’ve got a pretty easy week this week, and so far the sessions have gone well. I am not feeling too achy and just ticking the sessions off one by one. It’s currently Thursday evening as I write this and I’ve completed all the sessions. This weekend I’m back to doing my long ride – a three hour bike followed by a 10 minute run. If you follow my blogs you will know this session has been my Achilles heel, and more often than not it has been missed for various reasons! Well not now. 2019 is a new year and these sessions will be a regular occurrence on my weekends.
My next race is the West Lancs sprint tri in 13 week’s time. Bring it on I say, the tri season is around the corner!
Thank you for reading and supporting my blog.
– Mike Catton
Mike is training for some triathlons and half Ironman in 2019. Check in next Monday for his next article about his training journey.
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