How Not to Train for a Half Marathon

February 21st, 2011

From recent experience, here are a few tips on how not to train for a half marathon:

  • Pick a half-marathon that’s run at the beginning of March. This makes sure you have to keep training through the freezing, dark winter months. The Bath Half Marathon is an ideal choice.
  • Pick an over-ambitious training plan that has you running three times a week, even on Boxing Day. Make sure it’s a group plan, using something like a RunKeeper FitnessClass, so you can see lots of other people sticking to the plan all over the world, while you’re failing dismally.
  • Get stressed out by the spectre of an approaching Christmas, with all the shopping and other worries that it entails. Also develop a niggling ache while running. This two annoyances combined should let you decide to take the whole of December off from running, which is clearly excellent training.
  • Take up drinking again just before winter, thus ensuring you write off a few Saturdays where you could otherwise be running by drinking too much the night before at various Christmas parties.
  • Speaking of Christmas, try putting on nearly a stone in weight by over-indulging in December and carrying on eating at that kind of level post-Christmas, too. Even though you wanted to lose weight before the half-marathon, not gain it.
  • Be sure to get ill a few times. If you can come down with a cold before Christmas, something gastric between Christmas and New Year, and then follow that by another bad cold in January, that’s about perfect.
  • Make sure you pick a year where it rains a lot at weekends, especially if your normal favourite route takes you along towpaths that flood easily, and through forest paths that turn into foot-deep mudbaths after a shower.
  • In February, if you arrange for your job to go crazy with reporting deadlines, and also get the auditors in to double-check everything you’ve done recently, that’s excellent icing on your cake of bad training.

Sigh.

On the plus side, despite this blog being quiet, I have managed to run a bit in the last few weeks. I’ve not been out in the evenings — running is so much easier in daylight! — but a couple of weekends ago I ran 7K, last weekend I ran 8K, and yesterday I ran 10K.

Well, I say “ran”; the first couple of weeks I had to stop for a couple of breathers and walk up the hill, because my late-January cold was still lingering on and affecting my breathing. But yesterday I made a conscious effort to jog, albeit very slowly, all the way up the big hill in Leigh Woods, and I felt a lot better for jogging a decent continuous distance.

Especially as it’s now only a couple of weeks to the Bath Half!

Speaking of which, I’ve just set up my Just Giving page, where you can sponsor me to help out my chosen charity, the RNLI. A very worthy cause, and I’m not just saying that because one of my university friends now helps to crew the Clovelly Lifeboat!

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