One persons half marathon dream is another’s total nightmare. It’s a distance that many work up to for months, before realising it’s a bit more of a challenge than they once thought… running is hard you know?! But really, all I’m doing here is stating the obvious. Of course such a distance is going to cause challenge, and of course there are going to be good training days and bad training days. That’s life, even outside marathon training!
Over the last 3 months, we’ve taken a top squad from 5km, right up to 15km and beyond as part of our Royal Parks training series with lululemon. We’ve worked on speed, intervals and put in the hours alongside them needed to cover the longer distances. We’ve welcomed those who’d never run 5k, and raced those that could lap us without too much thought. We’ve had tough miles, and cool kilometres, but most of all we’ve learned a hell of a lot!
Now, we’re here to share those learnings with you. Before we go on, if you’re expecting the solution to a plain sailing pace formula to have you flying over the finish line, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. These points are simply lessons we’ve learned having run with many, and talked at a few during times that haven’t been easy and trails that haven’t been kind.
- There is no one journey fits all. Despite us putting on sessions that we’d hope suit all, and satisfy the training needed to make this HM a good one, every single body requires something a little different, so really all we can do is support. This isn’t a negative point by the way, it’s just an honest insight into the way us runners run. For some speed is the focus, so intervals and power packed hours are what are prescribed alongside the longer steadier stints they dread. For others it’s the double figures that can cause doubt and actually all they need is someone to chat them through. As we grow this running community we’ll be putting more focus on the individual and the variety of sessions we offer to ensure we have something to suit you all.
- There is no such things as fast or slow. One person’s fast may be another’s recovery, whilst another’s cruise may be the key to a new PB. When training within a group it can be so easy to get caught up in the speed everyone else is running and forget the heroic nature of your own two feet. We’re not saying don’t set time goals, of course they can be extremely beneficial in some circumstances and allow an easily measurable way of ensuring you’re moving forward. All we’re saying is ensure you’re chasing chopping time off your own speed, not anyone else’s. Having a number of pacers, (otherwise known as total lifesavers) has allowed us to keep every pace a powerful one and keep our runners improving in their own right!
- Be ready to accept the days it doesn’t feel so easy. We’re strong runners, no maybe we’re not olympic gold medalists or ultra running demons but we are relatively strong runners. That’s not to say however that we don’t have days that feel damn tough. Previous to this we tackled these with a tough front, and the intention of powering through with a positive singalong, which all though served an uplifting purpose was not always what those struggling around us wanted to hear… especially when it was H attempting to hit the high notes that Destiny’s Child master with such sass. Bad runs are cool, they happen to us all and when they do it’s ok to admit defeat. We’re not saying give up and go home, we’re saying recognise the challenge and use it to test yourself. Of course if injury is niggling, or tiredness is at a real low there’s room to give your body what it needs and save the miles for another day BUT if it’s just a case of ‘cannot be bothered’ or ‘lazy legs’ let’s show this body what we can do. Over the past few weeks we’ve turned to our HM training crew and admitted today is ‘one of those days’ and whatever their response we’ve supported each other. For them to know that we too struggle is a relief and a check in with reality that it’s ok to have these days and more often than not they can teach you more than you think!
- Community is power! Week in, week out we have a strong squad of heroes that turn up and give this training time their all. Whether they’re running off a bad day at work, or chasing a challenge set my themselves to bring to life on October 14th, each arrives with something they want to achieve during the Thursday evening hours. What makes these achievements super special is the crowd they get to share them with. New friendships are made every week, and new running groups are formed with every hour. Having support is something that cannot be questioned when training for such a big challenge, and although we are technically that support the true heroism is found in our fellow attendees. We simply just provide the space for them to shine! If there’s one thing we had to be most proud of throughout the TTH years, it would be making moments and memories like this, bringing like minded individual together to achieve something they may not have thought they ever would have, with others they may not have ever met. Now that’s cool!
These, as mentioned are the learnings of two TTH’ers still trying to work this whole thing out. They are learnings we’ll take forward to training for future challenges be that for both ourselves and others. Let’s create some more of those fabulous finish line feelings shall we?