I’d picked up a hamstring injury in the weeks preceding the Hampton court half so I was feeling a little apprehensive about running and making things worse.

Come game day though I was up early and determined to make it round. A solid warm up loosened the limbs and gave me a bit of confidence it would hold up.

I’d read an article about half marathon strategy a few days before and it seemed to all make sense to me, the basic principle being regulate your energy expenditure evenly throughout the whole race i.e. don’t deplete you glycogen stores at the start then struggle in the latter stages. From previous half marathons I’d been guilty of going off too fast and crashing. 

So with this in mind I took inspiration from good old Winston Churchill’s famous quote ‘He who fails to plan is planning to fail’ and decided to use this event as a practice for executing a plan.

The plan:

  • 0-3 miles: run roughly 10 seconds slower than target pace. This was hard to adhere to given the adrenaline at the start but I really held back the urge with the knowledge that I’d reap the rewards later on. Tortoise not the hare!
  • 3-10 miles: run at goal pace. Increasing my pace gradually I caught up with and held onto the 1hr 30min pace maker, relaxed and let my mind wonder away from the pain of run
  • 10-13 miles: attack. This was the hardest but most rewarding part. Having run 7 miles at a fairly constant pace it was hard to pick it up. I managed to do so gradually and started passing all those people who had gone off too early.  I had something left in the tank and was grinning inside at my resistance to go off to hard.

The plan had worked! I clocked 1hr 25mins, a personal best of over 5mins. 

Thanks Winston, lesson learnt: Planning is key. 

Now to turn my attention to fixing the hamstring and getting back to full fitness.