Hello I’m Sarah and I’m training for a half marathon! I blog over at www.sunshinesarahxo.com where I’ve been documenting my running journey and my somewhat crazy decision to enter not one, but TWO half marathons this year, after graduating from the Couch to 5K in April 2021. I have the Leeds Half Marathon in May and the Great North Run in September.
Even I sometimes think I’m crazy, but only in the best way! Throughout the training, it’s been good to see how much further I can push myself and how my body feels whilst doing so. I remember when I ran in my first 10K race since graduation – tired, with achy feet and feeling like I wouldn’t finish on time – to now being able to run that comfortably. It still kinda blows my mind that I can do that without dying, or needing a lot of down time post run…
So, I’ve been following the 14 week training plan in the Nike Run Club App (which is great by the way, loads of guided runs and training plans designed to help you reach your full potential) Although I’m slightly ahead of it in terms of week until my race – 4 weeks as opposed to 7 weeks – it’s still useful to push myself in terms of longer runs, recovery runs and speed runs.
I still don’t like speed runs though! I just feel like I don’t have enough inside me to complete them. But at the end I feel pleased I completed it so I guess you could say, I love to hate them! Hopefully these will get easier with time, but I think I’m built more for endurance than speed!
During my half marathon training, I’ve found that my times for Parkrun have been slowly improving each week. Especially in the last two weeks I’ve been finding Parkrun easier. Which makes me so happy because for a long time I worried about my times a lot and being left behind by almost everyone else there. But since starting training and sometimes combining it with a longer run, I’ve found it easier. So who knows, perhaps I’ll start finding 10ks easier too?
You Might Also Like: A Healthier Me: Training For a Half Marathon
HOW I AM FEELING
In terms of training, I’m feeling pretty good. I know I could do better but actually, considering this is my first ever half marathon. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get round in less than 5/6 hours. Less than that even and I’ll be probably be that person who won’t shut up about ‘that time they completed a half marathon in less than X hours!’.
With every run I do I become more confident that I can finish the half marathon in a semi decent time. Even if I find myself flagging on the day itself, I’m hoping that the crowd will perk me up and keep me going!
It’d be foolish of me not to mention here that I’m also nervous. Nervous because I’ve never done anything like this before. Nervous because I don’t want to let anybody down, nervous because what if I can’t do it? And nervous because I don’t know what to expect on the day, or how to feel about my abilities, what if I can’t do it?
In the main I’m excited and looking forward to it. But I’m also nervous, anxious and unsure of what to expect of myself being able to run 13.1 miles.
RUNNING FOR CHARITY
One of the biggest motivators for getting around the 13.1 mile course is of course, are the charities I’m supporting over the course of the two marathons. Firstly DOTS London for the Leeds Half Marathon in May & St Michael’s Hospice for the Great North Run in September.
DOTS London are a voluntary run and not-for-profit charity dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community. I have been following and supporting DOTS London personally for a couple of years. And with this in mind, I knew this was the charity I wanted to support for my first ever half marathon. I’m aiming to raise £200 for DOTS London.
St Michael’s Hospice support people living in Harrogate and Ripon district to get to the end of life care and bereavement support they want, need and deserve. They help thousands of local people each year and make no charge, each year they must raise £6 million – they rely on fundraising and support.
For the Great North Run I have to raise at least £300 for St Michael’s Hospice – instead of waiting on the ballot for this race, I chose instead to ‘buy’ a space with this charity and run for #teampurple.
I like to think that having these two fantastic charities to raise money for during my two half marathons this year will definitely spur me on and motivate me to get round the course in one piece.
You Might Also Like: A Healthier Me: 12 Month Weight Loss Update
BEING MY OWN COACH
One of the things I’ve learnt since starting this training and something that Coach Bennett always talks about during our runs together, is that I am my own best coach. I’m not quite sure if I’m there yet, but I do try my best to really tune into my mind and body to see how I’m feeling during my runs.
Although I am more likely to let myself walk if I need to, especially during a longer run! But even with this, I’ve come to realise that it’s perfectly OK to do so. I know that I can also slow my pace down when I do start running again. I’ll still finish my run.
But that in itself is a double edged sword because once I’ve allowed myself to walk on a run, it’s easier then to walk further on when the run is getting tougher – especially when I’m coming to the end of it!
I am planning on doing this during my first half marathon in May as I’m using it as practise for the main event in September, when I’m running the Great North Run. Hopefully I’ll be better prepared by the time I get there, fingers crossed!
Many thanks to Olivia for having me on her blog today, I hope you enjoyed reading about my running journey. Feel free to come follow along on my blog and social media, as I’ll definitely be documenting my journey there!