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Half marathon training in 1 month

FROM 10 KM TO A 1/2 MARATHON FINISH OF 1:34:30 IN UNDER 28 DAYS

I’m not a runner, nor have I ever had a distinct desire to become one. At least, that was the case up until last Sunday, the 16th. of September 2018 where I ran my first half marathon - also my first time on a distance longer than 15km.  

3 things to know before hand

  1. I have never previously even considered running an official race, let alone one that ends with “marathon“

  2. On August 19th. 2018 I ran my first ever 10km.

  3. I now plan on running on full marathon around spring in 2019.

Here is an insight on how training plans and running with a purpose, changed my perspective on running completely.

FIND A PURPOSE OR GOAL

 Yes, boys will be boys.. We thought it was a live feed, not a camera shooting stills 😂 Also, Kasper, my friend in the blue shirt, ran the first 14km with me to keep the pace, and then sent me off - please note that he completed an Olympic distance triathlon the day before (national championships), and finished second (by 2 seconds) - what a lad!

Yes, boys will be boys.. We thought it was a live feed, not a camera shooting stills 😂 Also, Kasper, my friend in the blue shirt, ran the first 14km with me to keep the pace, and then sent me off - please note that he completed an Olympic distance triathlon the day before (national championships), and finished second (by 2 seconds) - what a lad!

For me, this whole “journey“ (very marketable term I know, but nevertheless) began with signing up for the Half Marathon to begin with. I have done sports all my life, the majority of it being tennis, but I had never considered running a race. The only running I have done, has been the runs you kind of feel like you have to do - you know, because it’s trendy, it’s a “thing you do”, I’m sucker for Nike who has all the fancy slogans, it sounds good to say you went for a run etc. - you get it. BUT, as the Danish Crown Prince H.R.H. Prince Frederik turned 50, he arranged a national event called “The Royal Run” where it felt like the whole country went running on all sorts of different distance, and he would then join in on some of the races. I went to the 10km race that was run in Copenhagen, his final run of the day, and it left me with two questions - “I wonder what time I could run 10km in“ as well as “Why on earth have I never tried running 10km before?!“

Because I had never done exactly that. Despite being in decent shape throughout my life, I had always only been running to finish - to get out of the situation because I didn’t necessarily enjoy the experience. As a consequence, I’d be running quite fast, because the fast I’d run, the faster I’d be done with it.

The next day I signed up for CPH Half - the yearly Half Marathon in Copenhagen.

TRY A TRAINING PLAN

Then however, I didn’t train for a while. By a while, meaning that I didn’t start focused and committed training before the 19th. of August, with Raceday being the 16th. of September. For the first few months I didn't prioritize training, thinking it was months away - pprhff, plenty of time, right?! Then, mentally I reached a point where I thought of it was now being too late, meaning that I had sort of decided on not actually running the race. In the week leading up to Sunday the 19th. of August, during a conversation where the subject of the race come up, a very good friend of mine told me “well of course you are running! You signed up, now do it - what else are you going to do? Pass on your bib number (the race number attached to your name), you can’t do that, so train and run the race.” That was apparently what I needed to hear, since, on that following Sunday I suddenly found my self running 10km without having planned for it. The same night I reached out to one of my best friends, Kasper, who is a triathlete, asking if he could get me ready for race day, under 1 month away. He said that he could at least make me able to finish - perfect.

Over the next few weeks I ran all my kilometers on his plan - intervals, distance, time spent, everything decided by him. Out on every run I would think of race day. If I felt fatigued, I would try to feel and sense more of every stride, look around to take in the surroundings, before then returning to thinking of race day again. Not having to plan the runs on my own, made it a lot easier somehow. It took away the “stress“ and some of the mental barriers related to the process of going on a run; from finding you clothes and deciding what kind of run you are in the mood for to the action of actually running the distance. Don’t neglect the power in having someone to decide what you have to do - that’s why personal trainers can have a really good business on their hands!

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Accordingly, I can only recommend trying a plan, and by the same token, Kasper knows what he is doing, so hit him up if you need advice or training plans!

For the statistic nerds our there, I can only recommend Strava to track your runs or whatever distance based sport you do. I love getting home from a run and dive into all the stats, and I can sit there for an entire hour going through everything; the route, pace, how it compares to previous runs, puls etc - it’s great!

In terms of the actual training, Kasper will know more of the reasoning and the logic behind each session. We’ve done quite a bit of longer interval training, focusing on getting me ready to run the first 14km of or so of the race, at a 4:40min/km pace. Furthermore there is an adaptation aspect in getting your body used to being active at that intensity for longer periods of time. To be honest, I have neglected the details of propper training for long, but I know really see the value and the logic in doing it right from the get go. Wether you're comfortable with googling your way to a plan, or by getting a coach to advice you, I must admit that the training plan made the biggest difference in my experience.

Because the satisfaction and feeling of “I did it“, beats the pain you feel underway

WHAT’S NEXT?

As I’ve mentioned, I never saw running as a sport I’d identify with or associate with my persona. Now however, having done quite a bit of focused training, and completed the half marathon, I can’t wait to race another one. If you’re an experienced runner or distance athlete a half marathon might not seem as much of challenge, but I ended up caring about it a lot more than I thought I would. Physically I knew I could at least finish, one way or the other, but mentally, keeping the pace and remaining focused on the task ahead, I had my doubts - especially based on my previous experiences with running. I distinctly remember texting Kasper, right after that 10km run mentioned earlier, telling him that I at that point, understood why he trains as much as he does, as well as competes in triathlon (the kid flipping won his age group in the 70.3 Ironman Dubai). He responded with “Because the satisfaction and feeling of “I did it“, beats the pain you feel underway“ - I couldn’t agree more.

Accordingly, I now plan on running a full marathon next year. Coach Kasper and I had talked about running the one in Hamburg, but after experiencing the CPH Half, I really want to do the one here in Copenhagen. Other than that, I have a small 13km race in a few weeks and then of course loads of training runs in the calendar!

If you are already, or plan to be, a fellow runner, hit me up on Strava - other than that, thank you reading along and getting to the end of this post 🙌🏼

All the best,
Sebastian

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