“If you feel prepared, you are prepared – if you don’t you’re not.” – Matt Fitzgerald
I’m nearing the end of my 8 week training schedule for the Hampton Court Half Marathon and as I dive in to the all important taper, I’ve been looking back at my training and wondering, “Did it work?”
My coach has written a blog on being a better runner, and I’ve tried to take her advice through this training block. Of course my goal for this race is to go faster, but not at the expense of enjoying running. I am a firm believer that increased effort doesn’t have to hurt (unlike some running clothing companies who seem to think training should be as joyless as possible so you can wear a new coloured shirt at he end of it all) and my training runs are as important as my race in terms of reaching my end goal. What’s the point of hating 8 weeks of running just to get a PB one morning?
Through the 8 weeks of training I’ve done more speed work than ever before. New track sessions, tempo runs and faster pace segments within my long runs. There were some really bad speed sessions (an 8 mile tempo run at 7am will never be something I can do) but most of them were an enjoyable effort. The best speed sessions were the ones where I felt I was working with my body & mind rather than against it and that has been the most important take-away from my training. Run stronger and faster when you can, lay off when you can’t. In a world where there are a million people yelling about how hard work is the only way to improve I believe there is another way. Improvement comes from confidence and confidence comes from good training runs. A happy easy run increases my confidence more than a tempo run where I’m fighting against my legs to hit a certain pace.
These ideas are explained much better in the book Run: The Mind Body Method of Running, which I highly recommend adding to your running bookshelf no matter your running style or goals.