Woah, we’re halfway there!
So the Queenstown Marathon is pretty much bang on two months away and my epic coach Lydia O’Donnell has had me on a pretty full noise training programme. I do a long run on the weekend, a recovery run the next day, and then I have two speed-themed sessions which vary and can involve hills, sprints and race pace time trials. I’ve been feeling really good overall, but am acutely aware we’re getting into the real business end of training.
Today (Sunday, 20 September) marks the end of the first phase. So I celebrated (ha) that with the Four Paws Half Marathon, at Bottle Lake Forest in Christchurch. Four paws means, yes, doggies are welcome (the best possible type of race you could imagine). I stupidly thought Connor Dog might get a bit overwhelmed by it all and hadn’t planned to take him, but he would’ve absolutely loved the whole thing and ended up joining me for the last 6km.
Anyway, it was a glorious morning for a run, but it became apparent pretty quickly that this was not going to be a speedy half by any stretch of the imagination. A mixture of soft, windy forest tracks, a considerable amount of soft sand and a pretty undulating course meant the legs told me quite early on that we wouldn’t be breaking any records today. In fact, me and the legs would run our slowest half marathon together at roughly 2 hours and 10 minutes (just under 20 minutes slower than my PB).
But here’s the thing: that didn’t matter at all because time on your feet, time on your feet, time on your feet! This run being a slow, tricky slog would have done me the world of good in preparation for the full shebang down in Queenstown. What I’m learning so much more about is running smarter. I used to be someone who thought you should just go out there, belt out a run, come home. Then the next time you go, you go out there, belt out a run, come home. It’s a hard mindset to shift but I’m figuring out for me, that while I could quite possibly keep belting out runs, not much would change. Whereas different training, different runs and thinking a bit more about each run and what its purpose is, is in turn, helping me learn more about the art of it all.