It’s that time again to start thinking about spring half marathons.. or it probably has been that time for a while.. I’ve put a lot of thought into my spring half for this year anyway.
I’ve posted about half marathons in general here, it’s always been a special distance for me and one of my favourites. It’s also always been one where I’ve wanted to improve and get a pb. I hold a pb from a half marathon from 2014 and I spent all last year trying to improve that time. You can read about the attempts nr 2 and 3, here, and here, for the first race last year I hadn’t started my blog yet.
Anyhow, I’ve gone to these races with the attitude that I need a pb and if I can’t get it I consider it a bad unsuccessful race. I have, however, really wanted to run a half marathon where I just enjoy the run without worrying about the pace. I see a lot of people who I follow on instagrams/blogs running so many races a year and a lot of the time they just run to enjoy them. Some of them are run with friends pacing their slower friends to good times, or sometimes people just take them as training runs enjoying the atmosphere. This is something I’ve been really jealous of since all my half marathons have been just serious pb-chasing attempts with some fun in there (but not even always that). So at the end of last year I decided I wanted to change this and run more half marathons with the frame of mind that only one/two of them will be the main “A” races and others I can just run to enjoy.
What is the “A” race for me then?
I have considered a lot of half marathons for the spring and my main race was going to be the Reading half. It just seemed to be at a nice time and a nice relatively fast course. Also, something new as I’ve done a Bath half twice now around the same time.
But, there are the world half marathon championships in Cardiff a week before Reading. This is a race that is on our doorstep and it means that the likes of Mo Farah and Florence Kiplagat will be running there. Obviously I wouldn’t see them myself or run with them but hey ho, still running the same race 🙂
Sooo I couldn’t resist but sign up for that race. I know some people can race in two consecutive weekends but knowing me and my injury-history I really don’t think that’s a wise idea. The initial plan I had was that I’d run the Cardiff World Half marathon championships as a steady training run just enjoying the atmosphere. I even thought I’d maybe add a couple of kilometers before it to make it a proper long run (the mass race doesn’t start til 2pm) and run it in a marathon pace instead. And then I could race the Reading half the following weekend and aim for a pb there.
BUT having thought about this for a while now I’ve realised there is no way that when I soak up that atmosphere and stand on that start line I would want to casually jog that race. I know myself and my competitiveness and I know that it’s inevitable that I’d race it anyway. Which then means I would possibly ruin my chances of a pb in Reading the following weekend. The conclusion is that I may as well make it my goal race for the spring as it’s a prime opportunity to push myself. The course itself is the same Cardiff half course that I actually ran my pb in 2014 so it’s an excellent chance to try and improve that time.
One of the doubts I had was that this mass race has 25 000 runners, and even in half marathons with 15 000 people I’ve really struggled for space. I always end up spending loads of unnecessary energy jumping side to side finding gaps to get past people. This is not so much of a problem at a full marathon because the pace I run isn’t that fast but in a half marathon it gets really tiring and frustrating running that bit of extra and losing time. That’s why I had a smaller half marathon planned as my main race initially but never mind.
They even list the top 10 reasons to run the worlds here, my personal favourite: “because Paula says so”. I mean I’ll do anything what my idol Paula Radcliffe tells me to 😉
I seriously can’t wait to train for and run the Cardiff race now. Fingers crossed my knee will let me train and have a go at a pb. I will talk about my goals for the race closer to the time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to come up with some half marathons that I can run for fun instead because those have to be included this year, too 🙂
Do you like racing for fun or only for pbs? Anyone reading running the worlds this year?