This was my first half marathon and uncharted territory. I had been using my.asics for my training plan and I found it really useful and fitted me well as you can move runs around the calendar and it gave you a guide for what pace to aim for.
I started my training in April and began building miles from my 4-5 mile training base. I suffered with Achilles Tendinitis from the end of June. After seeing a physio it got better, I’d run and it would go again. I withdraw from the Great North Run in the September, about a week after I'd recovered, but decided to concentrate on making Royal Parks my ‘A’ race for 2016.
I had managed to get in a few longer runs in training, including an 8, 8.5 and 9 mile runs, which gave me the confidence for the race itself – I also practiced my fuelling strategy on my training runs. I have used conventional gels before and wanted to try a few different things – I tried the Clif Shot Bloks but I found they didn’t agree with me very well, so scrapped them for the conventional gels again – I tend to use SiS.
For race day itself, I follow a very regimented process on the day. Morning is porridge with fruit and jam followed by a banana roughly an hour before kick off. On the start line, I’ll have one of my four energy gels on my belt. The idea of having one on the start line is that it takes roughly 30-40 mins to digest and gives an instant pick me up to get me started.
Once we’re underway trying to start as steady as possible, I also try to get into a rhythm and let the hordes pass me as I know I’ll pick off most later on in the race whilst also trying to spot someone who is running a similar pace to me for the first few miles.
At mile 4, I’ll take another gel conveniently just after a water station and before an incline.
Halfway, and I pack a treat, reach halfway and you can eat. The gels are great, but I find it useful to have something to chew and a bit more solid. I had Lucozade Energy Beans and scoffed half of the pack at 6.5 miles. I’d do the same when I got to 11 miles as a treat for only having two miles to go.
Third gel would be at 9 miles and that would be my last one unless I felt particularly bad towards the latter stages.
Hydration wasn’t such a big issue as it was perfect race conditions – not too hot, not too cold. I would do the basics, take water at each station and drink about half the bottle and discard the remaining. They did have Lucozade Sport en route, but decided to skip it as I was already having gels and I’d not trained with it.
I wasn’t in the best state after the race and just wanted to sit down and get warm.
I lay down by some railings and put my legs vertical against them. I did this for 5-10 minutes, went to the foam rolling session they had at the exhibition area and got changed into my Skins RY400 recovery tights. All these things help recovery along with getting protein back into the body to help muscle recovery.
Post-race, I made a protein shake as soon as I could along with a Clif Peanut Butter bar. Feasibly, as soon as I got home I made myself a meal with chicken and rice along with drinking chocolate milk.
My aim was to finish, being my first half, but as I do for every race I always have three targets in mind, one achievable, one that id be very happy with and one that would make me ecstatic – this way I’m almost never disappointed if I don’t hit my A target.
During the actual race itself I tend to sip water and consume 2 – 3 gels I have experimented with numerous types over the seasons and on this particular occasion used SIS and they worked well.