Couch to 5K
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Hackney HM prep on schedule

This morning I decided to have a bit of dress rehearsal for next months Hackney half marathon. I got myself up a bit early and had a high fibre breakfast a good 90 minutes before the run. I drank water only and started to put my kit together; several gel packs and some small sugary sweets for the run went into my bumbag.

The route I chose was close to home and the reverse of one I've done a coupe of times before. The reason for the reversal was to force me to take in a 2.5km climb, albeit a gentle one, about half way round. Now normally this is a nice easy mid-run downhill-ish section, but today I wanted a test. I started out on the 13.1 mile run at just after 7 this morning.

I planned brief stops, to simulate taking on water and energy drinks at roughly the same Intervals as are indicated in the Hackey HM route map. I consumed my gel packs - these things seem to work quite well for me - and resumed the run. Now, I plan to run Hackney at about 7 minutes per km which will bring me home in about 2h27. As usual I went off too fast and averaged 6:48 over the first 5k. It just felt very slow and I was worried that I wouldn't meet target. One of these days I will figure out this pace thing.

The mid section of the run was more or less on target pace-wise and then came that hill. It turned out to be no where near as bad as I feared. I was up on my toes and chanting my specially selected mantra the whole way ; "Road to Hack-ney" as my feet hit the ground. I took it nice and easy with the pace at something more like 7:15 or so and I celebrated the end of the hill with a 6:44 km through the middle of Brentwood town centre, where i was cheered on by two workmen on a scaffold as I passed Laura Ashley. Nice curtains.....

The final section took me on a 6km stretch along the country road that connects the town to my village. Lots of twisty bits mean that you have to be careful with oncoming traffic. I slowed considerably after I felt a twitch in a hamstring, but it wasn't enough to stop me. The one annoying part was when a Woman driving in a Range Rover decided that she would drive within inches of me through a width restriction at normal speed. Even though I was wearing bright yellow, even though she could see me from over 100m away, even though she had plenty of time to back off and slow down, she decided that it was clearly my responsibility to jump into the adjacent ditch and get out of her way. The air turned blue and I'm not about to apologise.

The good news is that I survived and continued homeward. The Garmin buzzed at 21km and I continued on for the extra 110m to make sure I covered the full distance and the clock stopped at 2h32. now that's not exactly fast, but the point is simply this. Today I took on a HM distance over a course that is lot tougher than the one I can expect in Hackney next month and as a result I will be going into it with a good deal of confidence.

I'm really looking forward to it now and I think a sub 7 minute pace all the way round will be a real possibility!

9 Replies

Hi Rob

I am running in a couple of half marathons Liverpool in June & the Great north run in September. I feel like you Rob, I've run 17 km a couple of times but to give me confidence I feel I need to complete a full half marathon.

So I am planning to do what you did today tomorrow.

Run a full half marathon distance.

I will let you know how I get on 😕

John (drakeybar).


Good luck! Nice and steady is the best way!


Well done Rob! Nice run!


Wow Rob that's fantastic. You'll fly on the day!


Well done Rob, that sounds like a good, if scary, run. You're going to be really well prepared for the race. My friend is running it too. She's a life long runner and really FAST but just lovely. I may try to come along and cheer you both on. :)


You'll be most welcome. My daughter lives in Hackney and is a bit of a singer and is threatening to sing me through the half way pint! I must try and think of something appropriate......


That should have been point, not pint. Mind you, a half way pint sounds like a good idea.....

1 like

Well done, your more than ready. I have got up to 17km I Might try further but I will play it by ear. No training for me since Wednesday as I had my 2.5km swim on Friday and I did that in 1 hour 7 so just resting a bit before my long run next week. Also my other halfs birthday yesterday so a few wines were had. I am confident though and Friday helped as after pre event nerves I found that longer distance events feel like training Once you get into the rhythm. happy running.


Once upon a time I was a half decent swimmer, but 2.5k sounds like a long way to me! Well done for that. On the subject of wine, having read JJs review of the Paris marathon, it sounds like the odd tipple is not so much an excuse, but more of an energy supplement!


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