I wanted to go back to running, which helped me so much during the lockdown. One of my colleagues signed up for the Kew Half Marathon this April and asked if I am interested. After some pondering, I decided to hit ‘apply’ because I thought the training would ease me back into running. Little did I know how it would help me through many other challenges in my life. I was lucky as I started my training with a group of people at work who wanted to achieve the same goal. In addition, one of our colleagues is a running coach, and he prepared our schedule. There were ups and downs, and sometimes I had to take longer breaks, but the goal always motivated me. The closer we got to April the more accurate my goal was for myself. First I would have been satisfied with the completion but then I wanted to run the whole race through.
Even though I diverged from the actual schedule, I was truly aiming for maintaining the frequency. Changing from 3 runs to 4 runs was the hardest part for me, but in the end, I managed to figure out a rhythm with everything else going on. Core exercises were a game-changer because my knees never hurt the way they used to so I acknowledge that I had a very poor technique before. I think of myself as somebody who prefers walking over running yet I like the intensity of running. The following things kept me going during the whole training leading up to the half marathon:
- The support group at work
- The schedule is provided and monitored by a running coach
- Paced runs
- An incremental increase in frequency
- Core exercises (Strength work after each run so that I did not forget.)
When the big day approached, I decided to take it very easy, and I stopped running a couple of days before. My friends were amazing and took me to the race. They were there to support me throughout the race. A day before, I downloaded energising running music, which was extremely helpful on the day of the race as it helped me to focus on my pace and breathing.
Despite all the thoughtful advice, I did start faster than ever, and I might have had my personal best for the first 3 miles, it went by super fast. The race altogether was a rather collaborative experience for me, people were kind and friendly, and sometimes running together facilitated me through my lowest points. Luckily there were not many as I slowed down in order to be able to run it through. This is the flattest half-marathon in the UK I believe so it is perfect for beginners. I am the testament to that.
I did enjoy the moment. It also gave some extra buzz that we were surrounded by the beautiful Kew Gardens and we ran past the river Thames to Richmond. Furthermore, the weather was sunny and a little bit chilly. Finally, I managed to sprint through the finishing line, which felt amazing. I might do it again. Till then I will join the local park runs to see how much I enjoy that.
Running so regularly makes me feel relaxed quicker than walking. My brain works best when I am moving, and running can be very dynamic. By the time I finish running, I am totally able to define my next steps or come up with a potential solution for a problem I have. I am still running regularly, which is the outcome that I wanted to achieve when I started the preparation for the half marathon. Would you sign up if someone asks you?