(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).