Last weekend I took part in the 21st Brighton Half Marathon. With an official chip time of 2:31:27, had I not stopped twice to relieve myself, I would have completed it in under two and a half hours. That I ran the entire distance is what I’m most proud of however – although the same can’t be said of my non-existant training schedule prior to the event.
Being able to run this distance in full for the first time was due to a number of factors. Where previous half-marathons I’ve ran (namely the Great North Run and the Stafford Half Marathon) have more undulating courses, the only inclines on this course were near the start. And whilst the chilly whether was unwelcome as we waited behind the start line, combined with a gentle sea breeze it provided perfect running conditions during the later stages.
I’m quite surprised by how well my body held up too. A little stitch around the 5 mile mark quickly abated, and the tiredness in my legs only appeared once I was on the home stretch, by which time I had enough will-power stored up for me not to stop.
Yet I think it was my mental approach to this race that had the biggest impact. Whilst I haven’t run much in the last two months, last year I was regularly running 10km and even ran 20km one weekend in September. Having completed these distances during my own leisure time has made it easier to approach longer runs. I find it telling that 13.1 miles doesn’t feel like the challenge it once was.
So what’s next? Well, I’m obviously left wondering what time I would have achieved had I actually trained – I suspect 2:15 would have been a reasonable target. Yet having completed the first 10km of this race in just over an hour, I’m excited to see how much I can improve upon this time. Knowing that I can run twice this distance will prove an invaluable mental weapon as I begin this assault.