Hampton Court Half Marathon and 10 Week Countdown

(As always, this is not a 68,263-word race review – DON’T WORRY).

I entered Hampton Court Half Marathon last minute, due to experiencing extreme FOMO. A brief recap of the race:

Hampton Court Half was a brilliantly organised race and hands down my favourite half marathon thus far. The course was varied and scenic, the pacers were fantastic (shout out to Phil), it was perfect running weather, I nabbed myself a PB and of course, I got to run with some of my favourite people.

My only complaint is that the promised high-quality medal that I was looking forward to (because I am a medal fiend) was of such poor quality that as soon as I put it on, it ripped in half. The same thing happened with my replacement medal, and others were clearly experiencing the same issue as the volunteers began collating a pile of all the broken but beautiful sheeny shiny medals. First world problem’s aside, it was a great morning and two days later I’m still on a post-race highhhh.

With sub 10 weeks to go until London Marathon, I’ve realised that I feel significantly stronger (both mentally and physically) vs. this time last year when training for Brighton Marathon. This will be my third marathon, and something feels different this time.

This is partly down to nutrition and hydration – for the first time, I feel like I’m eating and hydrating properly during my long runs (when I say properly, what I mean is that I’ve finally found what works for me). This will be put to the test next weekend when I run the Thames 20, and there is an 86% chance that I’ll be eating my words/vomiting on a friendly marshal by mile 16.

It’s also down to the simple fact that I’m taking my marathon training a lot more seriously this time around. Instead of scheduling in tempo runs and interval sessions and then deciding seconds before my run that I am ABSOLUTELY NOT capable of running that fast, I’ve just been getting on with it.

However, arguably the most important factor is that I have a stronger support network and am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who will push me when the going gets tough. I believe this is particularly important when it comes to endurance running (which I would class as marathon distance and beyond) when often the struggles can be more mental than physical.

I guess what I’m trying to say, in a long and slightly convoluted manner, is that I’m really excited to run the London Marathon. This is the first time that I’ve truly believed in myself, in terms of my running ability, and despite the ridiculously early starts and dreaded long runs, I’m looking forward to the final 10 weeks of training.

Are you running London? Do you have any tips? (I recently asked someone this and they told me it was the most underwhelming race of their life and that I would probably hate every second of it. If you are going to come up with any similar helpful tips, I would politely ask that you keep your thoughts to yourself. Thank you and goodnight).

4 thoughts on “Hampton Court Half Marathon and 10 Week Countdown

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  1. Hi Mel – you’re way more qualified than me as a runner, so I don’t feel worthy of giving you any advice, but having run London (in the heat) last year, my conclusion is to just adapt to the day and do what feels right there and then, and not necessarily stick with your pre-determined plan. It was most definitely NOT (not, not, not!) underwhelming, but equally not the greatest day of my life (as promised), simply because I really struggled in the temperature (full hot sun and pale skin aren’t a good combo) and had to drop to a walk a few times by mile 20 from sheer exhaustion (my goal was to run it non-stop). Anyway, as everyone has probably told you a thousand times, just enjoy the occasion (especially if your first time at London). My absolutely fave bit was rounding Cutty Sark and then the corner that leads on to Tower Bridge. Suddenly seeing and hearing that INCREDIBLE sight and sound of so many people shouting and cheering – all just for YOU! – still gives me goosebumps. That definitely was one of my most amazing life experiences and something I would love to repeat. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the bridge looked just awesome and the sound was deafening! After crossing I even turned and looked back for a few seconds just to savour the sight and keep it in my memory bank – it really was that special! My other ‘advice’? – try and stick to the shortest line. I dodged about a) looking for shady parts to run in and b) waving to all my adoring ‘fans’ (!!) on either side shouting my name (well it felt good at the time! – the closest I’ve even been to celebrity stardom!) By the end my watch said I’d done 44km instead of the official 42.3! (although admittedly some of that was a bit of post finish walking as was so mentally tired by then, I forgot to press stop on the watch!). But if you’re fit enough and have done the training (which you have…), it will be a great. All those dark, cold, early morning and long training runs will finally be worth it. Am so totally envious! Enjoy – you WILL love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PS – Should also have said, (if you haven’t already) download the Marathon theme tune (‘The Trap’) onto your playlist and listen on long training runs/night before/morning of etc – such a great motivating piece of music that really gets me inspired! Brings a tear to my eye every time I listen to it, thinking of those 10’s of ‘000s of people out there doing something really special that they’ll never forget…


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