My road to the Peterborough Half Marathon continues. I have 3.5 weeks before the event and I have just completed my longest run of 9.5 (slow and painful) miles. I alluded to earlier that I get into a pattern of not improving – the Peterborough Half is the clearest indication of this trend.
I did my first Peterborough Half in 2015. Leading up to it, I had only reached 10.5 miles two weeks before the event and decided to go for it. I had a slow PB of 2:35 (11:40 mins/mile) which I was confident of beating as my training runs were all typically 10-11 min/miles. I was also running sub-30 5k’s. I PB’d in the event and got 2:17 (at an average of 10:45 min/mile) and felt amazing.
My second Peterborough Half was in 2016. Leading up to it I was slower by a good minute per mile than the previous year. Most of training runs were at 11:30 min/mile pace and my longest run (once again a few weeks before the event) was 11 miles at 11:00 min/mile. What I found out was that 11 miles of 11:00 min/mile equates to 9 miles of 10:40 running. After which I suffered badly. I fell away from the Pacers and continued to spiral downwards. I was running on fumes by the end. I crossed the line, managed 3-4 steps and then collapsed over the barrier. A Marshall came across to me to see if I was ok, I was, barely. I stayed slumped over the barrier for about 5 minutes while my senses returned to me. I am certain that if I was running a longer event then it would not have ended well.
The 2016 Peterborough Half put a real fear into me. For the first time, I had worried about things I hadn’t really considered. This put a natural brake into my thinking. I will not try to push past my training.
So back to this year, I am 3.5 weeks away from the Peterborough Half and I am very slowly increasing the mileage. I did 9.5 miles this week, 8 last week, 7 the week before. Each one is difficult, my legs hurt, I am in agony for days. But I know if I don’t increase it slowly then I will find myself injured. My pace is slightly better than 2016 but not as good as 2015. I am fully prepaid to treat the race as a training race with no taper before or after.
Building miles up is so hard, and every time I think I will maintain the mileage but this time. I am putting it down. I must maintain the mileage, I can not continue to yo-yo. It’s too hard. Too taxing.