Starting a Half Marathon training plan roughly 3 weeks before the race is never a good idea, even if you’re already running at almost 10k level. Well, not if you’re looking for a fast time anyway.
It was around 3 weeks ago that we signed up for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh on 14th April. It ‘sort of’ became the plan when I missed out on signing up for the Alloa Half and we looked at different races to do. The entertainment on the course can be a good distraction, it’s a race I haven’t done before and it represents a good test for me at this stage before the Loch Ness Marathon in September
My running has been rather sporadic with the odd short run during the week and the regular Sunday run. I felt doing the two races in the same day a fortnight ago would be good endurance training and this was followed up with an 8 mile run around Moncrieffe Hill in the snow last week with my friend Graeme was also valuable. Today was a different beast though, I needed one ‘big’ run and where better than the Rhynd Road loop?
The Rhynd Road loop in Perth is one route I recommend to anyone who is planning to run a race of more than 10 miles. This is a loop I believe will benefit everyone and teach them all they need to know. It’s undulating to say the least and you have the choice of which way you want to tackle it. Following an uphill section for about a mile, I tend to favour the downhill stretch towards Bridge of Earn and respite for a couple of miles before tackling the hills rather than the brutal way of coming up the arduous Edinburgh Road and turning left and tackling the hills there and then.
I was feeling fresh in the first few miles thanks to my new pre-run drink of espresso with some coconut oil stirred in. We all know caffeine is a stimulant but this stuff is like rocket fuel, amazing! The section from 2-6 miles was fairly comfortable, mostly because it was either downhill or flat. I took a mouthful of Science in Sport gel at the bottom of the hill and felt pretty good all the way to the top. The SIS gels are pretty effective, and easy to digest as they don’t require washing it down with water. Even on a tough part of the route, my pace was fairly good and I felt I was able to push on. I felt pretty good the rest of the way round to 11.5 miles. I can tell the last mile or so in Edinburgh might be a bit of a challenge.
I would normally do my biggest run 3 weeks out before a big race but without having a great deal of choice, I needed to do it today. The next 2 weeks will be about winding down my training, a couple of speed sessions this week and keep ticking over in the build up to the race.
All in all, today is exactly what I needed and shows me where I am lacking in my training. It’s days like these where you learn the most about yourself and provides a great springboard for the future. The next time I visit this route will be towards the end of July when I start picking up my training for Loch Ness Marathon and I’m actually looking forward to it already!