2014: The year of the half marathon?

This post originally appeared on Ben’s old blog, Running From the Physio.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to run a half marathon.

  • In 2010, my brother and I signed up for the Bristol half. I got shin splints, and he got lazy.
  • In 2011, I didn’t do a lot of very much.
  • In 2012, having run the Bristol 10 km with my wife, I again targeted the Bristol half, but injuries decimated my training, and I signed up for the Taunton 10 km instead. Which I wasn’t able to run anyway because of flu.
  • In 2013, I was convinced I would do it. I looked up some of the local ones: the Bath half, Taunton half and Bristol half. I noted them in my diary. And then, injury after injury took its toll, and by the end of the year, I had only completed two races, both 10 km.
Okay, maybe I’ll try crocheting.

A normal person would have decided that maybe running wasn’t for them, and taken up something safer, like crochet… or cage fighting. I, on the other hand, signed up for another half-marathon. On 2 March, I will be running the adidas Silverstone half marathon.

Given my previous struggles to step up to this distance, I had to make sure that I did something different this time. I made two decisions to improve my motivation. None of Bath, Bristol or Taunton half marathons particularly excited me. Don’t get me wrong, I may well end up doing all of them at some stage, and my opinion might then change. But none of them made me think “Yeah, I wanna go there and do that!” I figured that the Silverstone race was something a little different, something I can get more excited about. Secondly, just to make sure that I took the training seriously, and didn’t use a small injury niggle as an excuse to slack off, and then not be able to complete the race, or at least not complete it at a pace I’m happy with, I decided to sign up for a charity place. By committing myself to raising a certain amount of money for charity, if I don’t do the race, I’m letting more than just myself down.

As a result of all that, here I am, leashed to my training plan. In the ten weeks of preparation so far, I have completed all but two of the scheduled runs, which is a far better success rate than previously, when generally I have completed only two of the scheduled runs ten weeks into a plan!

Since I’ve mentioned a fair bit about one of my targets for 2014, I may as well give a bit of rationale for the other two: running a sub-45 minute 10 km, and running 500 miles during the year. They’re both pretty self-explanatory, especially given my targets last year. I’ve been pretty comfortable with running and racing the 10 km distance for a while now, but I think part of that has come because I haven’t really pushed myself hard enough. Doing the parkruns this year has shown me how much faster I can make myself run, and I feel pretty confident that I should be able to transfer this speed to a 10 km race too. Our parkrun course is currently quite muddy, and I’ve brought my PB down to 22:27, so with a few months speed training and a road course, I think I’ve got a fair crack at running a 10 km under 45 minutes. Not the Wellington 10 though, that’s far too hilly!

Running 500 miles should be a doddle: I’ve already done 60 this year, and we’re less than a fifteenth of the way through. In fact, if I kept going at more or less the same rate as I am at the moment, then I have a fair chance of running 500 miles, and 500 more. But then I’d probably fall down at the door.


Where was I? Oh yes, running 500 miles. Essentially, it should be easy, but as much as anything else, it is just there to make sure that I keep running, and it’s set at a number that should still be attainable even if I have to take a while out because of an injury.

And now, a short beg for money. I’m running for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It’s a horribly complicated neurological condition that can be difficult to diagnose, and has various forms, all of which have a serious impact on people’s lives. Please, please sponsor me: https://www.justgiving.com/BenTimmo-Silverstone. Thank you!

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