A week before the HM, and a truly rubbish run!

A week before the HM, and a truly rubbish run!

Not what you need huh?

Friday evening was my “night before race” rehearsal, where I practiced what I would be eating the night before race day, to see how it would fuel me. On Saturday morning I made a slight variation to my practice race breakfast, I ate 2 scrambled eggs on toast instead of the usual 1 egg and ½ tin of beans, as I heard beans can cause problems on long runs (not that it has given me any issues before). Off I went for a 10K run. I thought I was well prepared, I thought it would be straightforward.

While still walking I felt awful. Hotter than I expected, a bit queasy, lethargic and heavy. I couldn’t get my mind to convince my legs to move, despite deploying all my usual motivational strategies. After I started running, it took less than 500m before I got a stitch and slowed to a walk, though this time I had the convenient excuse of traffic lights. I was “running” (I use the term loosely) through the bustling high street trying to bypass shoppers and kids and just didn’t have it in me to make any effort.

On I shuffled. Walk, shuffle, walk, up a slope and turned into a bridleway that I had spotted the day before on googlemaps but never run on. It was lovely, with a flat, wide, good surface, beautiful scenery, but all I could muster was walk, shuffle, walk :(

7K in I came up to a level crossing, a gated non-automated one, where you have to check thoroughly that nothing is coming as no lights and sounds will do it for you. Luckily a train was coming, giving me an excuse to stop and chat to a man walking his dog for a couple of minutes while we waited for the train to go past.

Round the next corner I got a fly in my eye. Darn it! More time wasted as I tried to fish it out, using my phone as a mirror. It didn’t work and so I pressed on trying to ignore the watering and discomfort.

I turned out of the bridleway, back into the village streets for the last 1.5k home. This time it was not so much walk, shuffle walk, more like shuffle, shuffle, walk. A marked improvement! I managed to only stop once during that 1.5K, woohoo! I even managed something I could call a run for the last K.

All in all, a pretty disappointing performance and it has knocked my confidence for the HM next weekend. I thought I was prepared, but now I wonder if I can even get round without walking, and worse, people want to come out to support me! Argh!! Public humiliation awaits!

OK, be reasonable woman and draw some positives from this:

•I can’t wait to try my new bridleway route again, it was lovely. Just when I thought I’d run everything near home, I found something new.

•I saw a red kite.

•I felt ill, but it wasn’t my guts that was the problem. My biggest race day fear is toilet issues, so I got some confidence from that.

•There were a couple of inclines and I have developed a way that suits me to get up them.

•My final K was 5.22 mins

•I didn’t get lost (that’s got to be a first!)

I may be clutching at straws, but looking back, I seem to alternate between good and not so good long runs, so maybe, just maybe I’ll get through it next weekend.


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41 Replies

  • Wow what a great read... And you know, and with that breakfast of the gods..I think you will be absolutely fine... Wow... final k is amazing!!! Go rollercoaster well done!!!!!

  • Thanks Juicy! Not sure I could have pulled 5.22 out if I'd been properly running the whole thing mind.. arghh. Nervous! :(

  • We all have bad runs, I think I'd skip the beans for breakfast though. I did my hm on an egg and bacon sarnie, one chap had obviously eaten too much of the wrong thing, but decided to run on regardless, gave me a spurt of speed in the final km to get past him!

    I did however carry Clif Shoot blocks to chew on as I ran round.

    A lot of people had also over-hydrated before the race, check that there's drink stations and if so don't drink too much before the race.

  • Oh gosh, sounds awful! Poor guy but great motivation for you! I don't have a chance to try anything new though, which is why I ditched the beans this time. Ah it's tricky, as I know the nerves on the day will be a nightmare regardless.

  • I don't think it means your HM won't go smoothly, we all have "bad" runs and not always for a good reason. Have an easy week, get a decent amount of sleep so that even if you don't sleep well before your race, you should still be rested enough. I still haven't worked out what I can eat in the mornings before a run and don't want to experiment now so will be relying on High 5 energy drink and water ! Your last km was amazing, a good rehearsal for a sprint finish perhaps ?

  • Wow, no breakfast? Hardcore!

    Fast k = keen to finish! :) so will hopefully pull something out in the closing metres.

  • Don't dwell on today's bad run, but think about your previous good runs.

    I, too, am experimenting with pre-race and during run fuelling. I'm now managing to stomach weetabix and soya milk for breakfast, but haven't mastered what to eat during the run. I had jelly sweeties during today's 18km run, but think something more then just glycogen will probably be better.

  • Jelly babies seem to work for me, a good hit of energy (I often start singing after snuffling a couple!) but they make me thirsty and a bit saliva-ry.

  • all I can stomach is chewing on dates with a good glug of electrolyte drink, one without the other doesn't seem to work too well. well, small sips of the electrolyte drink stays down but anything solid, wow, I hate that nausea if it isn't chewed well and swallowed with some liquid

  • I've not tried any sports drinks. Guess I didn't want to overdo the sugar! Yeah I definitely do the jelly before the water as the other way round doesn't work well.

  • Awesome post - the thresholds we set ourselves. Having had my own 'bad 'run today - i am now clear however I get round it is ok.. Nerves are a terrible thing for sapping energy - do try to enjoy the experience and just do the best you can - what ever - just finishing is a fantastic achievement. I have just read a post of someone who did a half today - and she had all sorts of problems- knees and lack of energy. It wasn't a startling time but she did finish - and I am sure you will too. And from all the books I have read - walk breaks are fine.

    Good luck and remember the place you started at - 1 min walks and now a HM. well done :-)

  • Thanks Suzy, it's silly the pressure we put ourselves under! The HM will be on the anniversary of my graduation. Little did I think at the time, "this time next year...". I've looked at the results from last year and it looks like some people walk it all, so whatever happens I shouldn't be last! ;)

  • I'm sure you'll be fine. If you can run a 5:22k that's pretty impressive. And so what if you have to walk a bit on the day, plenty people seem to and still get round in a reasonable time.

  • I really want to run it all though :( but I need to not be hard on myself if I walk any of it. There will be bottlenecks on the route that will make it hard anyway to keep running.

  • Have you thought about a target pace/finishing time, Nottingham had pace makers with flags, helped me a lot

  • Last weekend I ran the distance (no walking- perhaps it was a fluke???) in 2.23. I would love 2.15, but don't know if that's too much to knock off so quickly. I think (hope) there will be pace setters as I would find it really helpful as I plan to turn off the alert on endomondo to distance only, not time as I find it disturbs my pacing. If I'm going slower than I think, I find it despondent and if going faster, I suddenly feel tired!

  • Hi rollertoaster and well done on completing the run. I hope this isn't taken the wrong way but it sounds like you were / are pre-occupied with the 10k run ?

    Perhaps it's a little bit of a distraction and it's stopping you from running as well as you might ? Maybe just having a different perspective might help you to relax a bit more and enjoy the run.

    Just a thought.

  • hi, this got me thinking.. and then I read foxtrot Mike's post and replied to him as he outlined exactly how I feel. I think it boils down to me being terrified of the race! As you say I wasn't relaxed going out, to me it wasn't any old run, it was the last longer one before the race.

  • You are a star Hil -- and how I wish I could run that far too! You'll be fine and dandy for the HM, mark my words. Look forward to reading about it. Love Delia xox

  • Oh I hope so Delia. I think a big part is good old fashioned pre race nerves. I know with me, the anticipation is always the worst part and once the feared thing is underway, it is never as bad as expected.I really hope the adrenaline will carry me through.

  • 'Bad runs' are followed by good ones so take heart. Snack foods for energy I found on holiday was dates, my usual snack is a banana but couldn't always get one the night before while on holiday, but its date season and the Tunisian dates were to die for, I had 6 with a cup of green tea which was plenty to see me through my early morning runs, so take some along with you, don't buy the sticky ones though. Good luck H, I'm sure all will be good, loved the photo that bridleway looks wonderful to run on.

  • Thanks Liz, it really is lovely to run on. I can't wait to try it again!

    I'm a bit wary of taking anything new to the race that I haven't tried before, but will be experimenting after it is over with alternative fuelling as I really don't know what works best for me.

  • Increasingly I think that you 'need' to have a bad run in order to have a good one. Your bad one has happened at just the right time to enable you to have a brilliant HM. You'll breeze it. Go for it (perhaps without the beans though!).

  • It's very curious Ned, in the last few weeks, on my long runs: my 15K was hard going but I got through it with walking, 17K great, 19K hard because of the terrain and I walked a fair bit, 21K last weekend was great, then the 10k awful. I am definitely detecting a pattern here! At least it does bode well for next weekend! :)

  • I think Ned's right. Bad runs are the exception that prove the rule. ;-) When you follow it up with a good run it feels even better. The fact you are doing the HM only a year after starting c25k is just amazing. 8-) Remember why you run and why you decided to do this HM. Try not to let pre-race nerves get the better of you but just go out there and enjoy it. Imagine yourself doing this run a year ago and think about how every step is a step more than you would have run then. And don't forget that we are all running with you, in spirit, and incredibly proud of your achievements. :-D

  • Thanks Legion! Sound sensible advice as always! :) I am currently alternating between excitement and sheer terror at the thought of it! Sometimes I feel those emotions are quite closely linked, now hopefully I can harness the excitement one on the day.

    You are so right though, a year ago I wouldn't have thought this would be possible. Even 2 months ago, the thought didn't cross my mind, I was happy pottering around doing 5Ks, but everything that's worth doing is hard work right? :)

    I will be thinking of you all during the run, such a great community! I am also raising money for Macmillan as I recently lost my uncle to cancer, so will keep firmly in mind how lucky I am to even be able to run and how proud I know my family will be of me (and try not to let the pressure of expectation get to me!)

  • The greater the effort, the greater the sense of achievement. :-) I don't think any of us would get the satisfaction we do from c25k and beyond if it was easy.

    It's wonderful that you're running for Macmillan. Do you have an online giving page? I'd be happy to sponsor you. I think most of us are affected, either directly or indirectly, by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. It does make you appreciate how lucky you are to be able to get out there and run.

  • Exactly right Legion!

    I do indeed have a donations page: justgiving.com/hilarypalmer

    Thank you so much in advance, that's really kind and it's very much appreciated! :)

  • I'll do my best to head a few more people that way too. :-)

  • Got it, thanks so much!! :) x

  • I have heard that dried Apricots are good, but have never tried them. I have never done a HM but when I do my 10K either on Saturday or Sunday, I have rice for the previous night and Porridge for breakfast. I think what food you should eat could be different to each person. Good luck to you Rollertoaster!!

  • Ooh yes, I bet dried apricots are nice. I like them in a tagine. I'll be having a good old fashioned chicken and pasta in tomato sauce the night before. Mmmm!

    You should come and watch it, it's meant to be good fun, with bands en route. It will also be on Bbc Oxford radio. I remember tuning in last year thinking, those nutters!!! :D

  • I will try this next year, where do you have it, I just 'might' come over!

    So you thought those runners were really nutters and have become a proper nutter! Ha Ha!

    Good luck mate, you will do it, keep us informed!

  • The course map is on this website: oxfordhalfmarathon.com/

    Will let you now how it goes and whether you should go for it next year.

  • Know (silly predictive text)

  • I read your post massively impressed that with everything against you, you carried on going and then did a storming last km. I dream of being able to run that fast for that long! I'm sure as soon as you set out on the day the nerves will die off and you will have a blast. Very, very best of luck.

  • Thanks Tati. I really hope so as it would be such a shame if nerves took over as I bet it will be a great occasion.

  • Oh, it's sad that you are doing so fantastically well and are worrying about it! Look at all the preparation and training you've put in. Yes, okay, it was a bad run but you've had those before and gone on to do great runs, so I'm sure this will be the same. I love your positives as well - a new route and a red kite sound wonderful :) Chin up, try not to worry too much and just go to enjoy the experience. You're well prepared and you deserve to do a good job! We'll all be cheering you on :)

  • Thanks Annie! I'll think of you waving your Pom poms like throughout 5x50! I really hope on the day I can relax enough to enjoy it.

    Good news though, tonight I went out for a 5k and did it!! Woo! :) it was strange though as it did feel like harder work still than usual and was a moderate pace for me... I'm not sure why this would be. Oh well. I'll try not to overanalyse it and see what happens at the weekend. :)

  • A good 5K: yay! Just go with the flow on the weekend.....good luck and hugs x

  • Let's not get carried away now TJ! I wouldn't go so far to say a good 5k, but it was a 5k nonetheless, so in the right direction :)

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