mount-runners-half-marathon

Mount Runners Half Marathon

The Mount Runners Half Marathon took place on the Sunday of Queen’s Birthday weekend (2nd June 2019).

Runner in blue was the 1.40 pacer

Training

This wasn’t one of the main races I was training for, but as I love taking part in events I wanted to do it anyway, whilst being at the mount visiting friends, I thought why not!

My training wasn’t ideal for this as I got quite sick with a virus a couple of weeks out and had a week off training. Normally I would push through feeling a little unwell, but in this instance, it wasn’t possible.

Although I lost some fitness, the benefit was giving my body some time to rest, which I haven’t done in a while (this was my 6th running event this year) so any niggles I had were rewarded with a break, and I was able to find new energy once recovered.

The other benefit of being sick for a week was I was able to do running related research online and watch some good videos. Ever since running my first marathon I have been fascinated with mental strength for running and it’s something I’ve been researching and learning a lot about ever since.

Some of the best videos I watched (links below) included, David Goggins (toughest man on the planet), an ultra-marathon runner (among many other things) and motivational speaker who talks about pushing through pain and various other mindsets to master getting the best out of yourself. Even if you aren’t a runner i’d highly recommend watching it as it applies to everyday life as well. 

I also watched a documentary on Courtney Dauwalter (my idol) as she tackled a 200-mile (320km) race (wow) and at the same time Ultra Trail Australia was on, so I watched that also and added it to my to-do list for next year.

How To Make Yourself Immune To Pain

Courtney Dauwalter Running 200 Miles

The Race

Every race I do I have a goal and a general plan, whether or not I stick to the plan is something else, but generally, I like to have an idea of how I’m going to execute the race and what I want to get out of it.

For all races, I normally want to get a PB for time, even though with different courses, it’s not always possible. The goal for this race was to run under 1hr 40mins, as my current PB for a half marathon is 1hr 39mins.

This course was a little tricky to plan out as it was two laps and was all flat except for the undulating section around the bottom of The Mount. I decided prior to the event that I would try and average 4.40 pace for the race which is about where my current fitness is at, and I have recently been training more for long distance than speed.

Getting my supporters organised for a photo
Nailed it

Nutrition

Nutrition during races is something that I am still learning a lot about, and have really come to realise the importance of it. Prior to recent times, I was stuck in the mindset of not wanting to stop at the aid stations as I felt I was wasting valuable time and I didn’t really know how to take gels or how often I should be taking them.

The best analogy I can think of is being like a car – if you run out of petrol, you stop (lol). That’s now how I now think of fueling my body during races, the body – muscles and mind, need fuel to perform at there best.

So on that note for this race, I took one gel 30 mins before the race, and three gels during the race, roughly every half an hour. I also had a cup of water or R-line (hydration) at every aid station – there were five. Fueling properly helps me to avoid bonking or hitting a wall and the caffeine helps my brain to focus. I have been taking Pure Nutrition gels for a while now and find them good, but I am about to switch to Tailwind as I think it will  be a better all round product for longer endurance races.

The Outcome

The race unfolded well and I was happy with the execution of it, I finished in 11th place in a time of 1hr 41mins, less than 2 minutes separated 5th – 11th. I didn’t have the legs left to catch up at the end. The winning female time was 1hr 28mins.

Mentally I was happy with how the race went, I have become so aware of negatives thoughts entering my mind, and waves of emotion they both get shut down very fast. I switch my focus to either my running form or thinking about how I’ll feel when I achieve the goal that I want.

The feedback from my coach was that I need to focus on my turnover more, to become more efficient. This is something I’ve lazily been working on but it will now get more of my focus. 

Running cadence (turnover) is measured by the number of steps one foot takes per minute. I average around 80-82 and good runners are closer to 90. To work on this I run to a metronome (a beep which drives you crazy) and concentrate on striking the ground with the same foot, on every beep. Running to a metronome allows your body to get into a rhythm and neurologically adjust to running with a faster turnover.

What's next?

My next race isn’t until the end of August – The Great Naseby Water Race 80km, this will be my first race at this distance and a stepping stone towards the Tarawera 100km and Ultra Trail Australia (both at the start of next year). I got an entry for Tarawera this week, this will be my first 100km race, first race as part of the Ultra Trail World Tour, and first opportunity to get points to qualify for UTMB and Western States 100, two bucket-list races that are long-term goals that hopefully one day I’ll be able to race in.  

xx

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