half marathon · next marathon

On running a crappy race and why you should do it.

This Sunday I will be running my first half marathon in a very long time.  I had to google to find out when I ran my last half marathon- it was in May 2011 (and it was a slow one..).  I know some of you race a lot, and I can see why you would do that from a training point of view.  It keeps you sharp, it keeps you focused, it’s social – what’s not to like, really?  Except that I quite like running on my own, in my own time, on my own watch.  I consider myself very lucky in that I am capable of doing hard workouts on my own, just me and my Garmin.  I don’t need a crowd or competitors to kick me into working hard.

But my coach wants a benchmark which means I have actually entered 2 (TWO!) half marathons so there will be something to compare next Sunday’s performance with.  And for this reason, and because I need to be sharp, focused and social – I will go out there this Sunday and run.

So far, my marathon training has been, well, sub optimal.  I’ve had some tiring weeks, done far more driving than I should have, have had some bad nights’ sleep and have not always managed my client load very well.  I’ve had bits of winter flu and well yadda, yadda, yadda. Excuses. Basically, I have NOT got all my training sessions in, I’ve found my long runs very hard and slow-going and I’ve generally not felt full of vim and vigour.  All that jazzy talk in my last post about a sub 3:30 goal?  All good and well and we all need a target but dammit Janet – I am FAR away from that and not even worried about it right now.  I’m not thinking about my marathon goal time – it was useful for getting me going and getting me focused, but now I’m training all I’m thinking about is working hard.  London may well be the race for a PB, I may have to work for longer to get to where I ultimately want to get to. That’s fine with me.  I need something to do for the next year or so.

So this Sunday is going to be crappy. At least, in terms of a race time.  I will have run far faster halves. But it’s one of those occasions where I think I need to show up with what I have in the box right now, however short that is of where I want it to be.  Racing is honest – there’s no futzing the result.  And getting an honest result for running 13.1 miles will give me an honest picture of where I’m starting my 2015 marathon campaign.  Straight up.  I will head into 2015 with my eyes wide open.

Onwards racers!  I will report back on the flipside…


A tough training run in London (but a beautiful day)!

Addendum:  since posting this on my blog I’ve already had a few emails / texts / comments telling me not to be so hard on myself and that no race is crappy.  And I realise I did not make my point very coherently.  I don’t think I’m crappy, and I don’t think running a race – ever – is a crappy thing.  I guess what I meant was that my time – compared to times I have run, and times I hope to run – will not be a fast one.  But the real point I want to make is that sometimes in life you should run the races that are not going to be your fastest races.   Because they remind you to be honest, because they remind you where you are.  And regardless of the pace – when you’re racing, you’re pushing yourself.  And I am looking forward to Sunday.  Trust me – I will push myself.  And I will smile when I’m done.  Promise!

4 thoughts on “On running a crappy race and why you should do it.

  1. Go Petra, go Petra. Nothing crappy about a half marathon; Jamie and I are in awe of you!!!! Get the fizzy pop ready for next weekend so we can celebrate yet another achievement! Em x

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