The week after I finished my first half-marathon, I signed straight up to my next one, it was a bigger event, I was to follow a heavier training plan and I was full of enthusiasm, only 3 months until I started my training!
Those 3 months were possibly the hardest 3 months of my life.
To begin with, I was glad of the time off, my body needed to recover. I started doing more cross-training activities like yoga, swimming and cycling and I relished the opportunity to relax my schedule. This relief lasted about 2 weeks before I was bored. I felt like I had no goal and I hated having low mileage, I didn’t feel like a ‘proper’ runner.
Smiling through the track sessions and easy miles
Despite the struggle with my emotions, I continued to push through, desperate to overcome the feelings of boredom and lack of motivation, telling myself that everything that I do in the inter-race period will set me up for my new training programme, the rest will mean that I start 100% fresh. I wanted to fall back in love with running!
I decided to focus on quality runs, runs and sessions that would give me an advantage over my starting point last time. I did a track session, a tempo run, a recovery run and a long run every week, knowing that by focusing on speed before adding on the mileage would give me a distinct head-start, I’d be stronger than I was last time. I noticed that my comfortable long run pace became faster and that my track times were decreasing, I competed over an 800m for the first time in over 2 years and got a Personal Best and had the to honour to race in the 4x400m relay team for my University at the University Championships. Slowly I could see how all the little things that seem totally insignificant and unrelated to my long term half-marathon goal were be the foundations of me becoming a stronger runner.
Taking advantage of the down time and lacing up my track spikes for the first time in a while!
The moral of the story is that nothing is pointless, every session and run has a purpose whether it appears to link with the end goal or not. To start with, I may have wanted to jump straight into the training plan for my next race, but the inter-race period came as a blessing in disguise. Physically, I have got faster, relaxed my mileage and enabled my body to recover. Mentally, I am now more keen than ever to train, commit and enjoy the new training plan.
Starting next week, I will be following a 16-week training plan up until my race in October, I’ll be doing a weekly training diary, so keep an eye out for an insight into how I train!