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Windsor Half Marathon training blog: week 1 – not getting Croc'd

About six months ago, I made the deeply regrettable decision of volunteering to run the Windsor Half Marathon. I was to receive no money, no new running gear, and probably no sense of achievement or satisfaction. Yes, I was to get free entry into the race, but should anyone really have to pay to have 13.1 miles of suffering inflicted upon them?

In fact, all I really got out of it was more work, as I’ve committed to writing a weekly training blog in the lead up to the run on September 29. This is the first. I think the part of me that’s an optimist thought it would motivate me to get fit over summer, but as I write this blog the rain is pouring down. It appears that summer has come and gone and I’m not really any fitter.

Now, with the run about a month and a half away, I’ve had second, third and fourth thoughts, considered feigning injury, and done plenty of whinging to friends, family and colleagues. Nobody had any sympathy, so I’ve accepted that I’m just going to have to get on with it and have started to sort of set myself some goals.

I have actually run a half marathon before; when I was 17 I did the Reading Half Marathon in just under two hours - a time which I was (and still am) really proud of.

To me, it seems reasonable to aim to go slightly faster this time - maybe about 1hr 50mins, but recently a friend who has done the Windsor Half Marathon before told me it was a hilly course, so now I’m not sure if I should set myself a concrete time goal. I’m aiming to get around the course in roughly 1hr 50 to 2hrs, with a secondary goal of not getting Croc’d - that’s running speak for not getting overtaken by someone wearing Crocs - the greatest humiliation there is.

Over the last three or four weeks I have been doing a few short runs just to blow the cobwebs off, but this week I’d say my training began in earnest. I set off on a five-mile jog around the streets and parks of Twickenham, where I live, with my dad, who I will be doing the event with come September 29.

I have always run with my dad. He does it for fun, I do it out of some warped sense of responsibility. He’s a member of a running club and has recently got a coaching qualification. Meanwhile, I enjoy doing other sports, and occasionally go running just to keep myself fit. I did my first half marathon with my dad, and we’ve done a few other runs side by side too. I even jogged/walked alongside him for the last 10 miles of a 62-mile (100km) ultramarathon he did along the Thames a few years ago.

Needless to say, dad will be running well within himself when it comes to my half marathon, but he’ll help to motivate me and keep the right pace on the day.

My five-mile (8km) training run went about as well as I’d hoped. I felt tired and my legs felt heavy after the first half-mile, and I moaned a bit on the way around, but I finished it and wasn’t even sick.

Soon, I’ll start stepping training up to two runs a week and will look to add a few hills to my routes to help me prepare for a fairly gruelling sounding course. This will be a weekly blog, so if you are interested in following my progress, or just excited to read about my pain and suffering, I welcome you with open arms and empty lungs.

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