First Races of 2014: Using Races for Long Runs


It’s been 3 weeks since I moved into my new flat. The days have been a whirlwind of unpacking, trips to Argos and IKEA, and getting used to the tram commute to work. Consequently there has been little time for blogging, added to which I didn’t have a computer and only got Internet connected this Wednesday! Things are gradually settling down and I have now acquired a second hand netbook from a friend of a friend. I am relishing getting back into sharing my exploits with you!

Fortunately I have been pretty good at sticking to my half marathon training plan. It really helps me to schedule my runs in at the beginning of each week, and type them into my Google calendar, so I make time for them. I also entered a couple of races in the past few weeks, to keep me motivated and to kick-start the medal haul for 2014!

As the distances on my plan get into the unknown and scary territory, its really helpful to break it down into manageable amounts. I’ve run quite a few 10ks now, so that seems achievable with a few miles tacked on before!

Using races for long runs is a great way to keep you going, with the promise of a shiny medal and tasty treats at the finish line, as well as lots of other running people around and sometimes enthusiastic marshalls or supporters to cheer you on!

There was definitely sunshine and smiles on Sunday 16th at the Age UK Crystal Palace 10k.

The race was really well organised, and it was great fun to run somewhere new. It was a two lap course, around Crystal Palace park with some pretty and interesting scenery. And a Mars Bar at the finish line! Along with a medal and bottle of water. It was definitely not a PB for me, but the key to using races for training runs is to not get carried away and stick to a steady pace, so I was pretty happy.

The following weekend I completed 8 miles including the Richmond Spring Riverside 10k. I ran from Richmond station to the start line, just under 2 miles, then queued for 20mins for the toilets (10portaloos for over 1000 runners was not enough!) while doing some stretches in the line. I then joined the back of the crowd of runners, at the start. We were set off in waves due to the narrowness of the course and with no particular pace/finish time discrimination, so there was a bit of overtaking and weaving for the first few 100m. This wasn’t really an issue for me though, I settled into my happy plod, plugged into my latest Jillian Michaels podcast 🙂

After 4k, I took a Gu gel and switched to music, as this was the turn-around point on the towpath. The route then doubled back, so we ran past the start/finish (a little mean!) and further along towards Richmond, before turning around again for the final stretch.

I loved running next to the river, and really enjoyed the off-road trail complete with muddy puddles and fallen trees. There were some good distractions in the form of training rowers and big expensive houses too!

I’ll be looking for some more races to keep me going for the next few weeks until my half-marathon. I also have a group run scheduled with the Team Naturally Run ladies tomorrow, which is another great way to make the miles go quicker! I’ll be spurring myself on with the thought of what to have for brunch afterwards too!

I’m trying not to over-think the next few weeks…8miles is the longest I’ve ever run so far! And seeing as that was broken up, it didn’t feel long. I’ll be doing 9 tomorrow, and after that comes the “freak-out zone” of double figures… eek!

Don’t forget the clocks go forward this weekend – looking forward to lighter evenings for running? 

Beki x

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