Final Preparations For Oxford Half

As I sit here now, Sunday the 15th of July seems a very long time ago.  Over the last 13 weeks I have completed 41 of the 52 scheduled work outs in my build up to my first half marathon since the 2005 Great North Run (I know I’ve previously quoted the 2006 GNR as my last half but, it turns out after reviewing my medals, that 2005 was my last!) and hopefully my first under 2 hours.

The decision to run a half marathon again followed my rediscovery of running last year due to my 1,100km running and fundraising challenge for Maggie’s Centres.  After raising over £2,000 (which, after being doubled by my employer and including GiftAid ended up at nearly £4,500) I took a brief hiatus from my year of running for charity – a well-earned rest you might say.  It was July when I chose a new focus for myself.  A slightly more selfish goal this time: beat my half marathon pb.

I chose the Oxford Half Marathon.  Mainly because it was my closest but also because it had some romance to the route, with the middle part of the race tracking through the centre of Oxford and along the Thames, passing the Iffley Road track where Roger Bannister ran the first 4 minute mile; somewhat quicker than my intended pace tomorrow.  The race is only in its second year but I’m encouraged to hear of improvements being put in place since the inaugural race last year, including more road closures and a longer stretch along the Thames.

With 13 weeks to train I knew I had every opportunity to beat my pb and achieve the extended goal of getting round the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours.  The challenge would be coming up with a training programme and sticking to it.  Having done some reviewing of running apps during my charity challenge I opted to put the adidas miCoach iPhone app through its paces, in turn for it putting me through mine.

As I mentioned, I have missed some of the training.  It doesn’t seem like I’ve missed that many but looking at it, I have missed 21% of the scheduled sessions!  Fortunately, most of the missed sessions have been short, easy runs the day before long runs so the impact of missing them is hopefully minimal.  I may have even benefited from not running 4 times a week, giving my legs more recovery time.  Certainly, from a pace and strength point of view I’m feeling good.  With only one sleep left, there’s no time to squeeze any more training in now.  Continuing the positive focus into the race is the only thing I can do now.

All there is left to do is have a relaxing evening, keep hydrated and get my kit ready for the early morning start.

Pre-race kit check
Pre-race kit check

As you can see, it’s a mish mash of all sorts.  From my trusty adidas generic sport shorts from the early 2000’s through to my Run365 anatomical running socks and Ronhill technical hi-vis, a towel and spare shirt for post race freshening and a couple of bananas for breakfast, it’s all important.  And yes, as was spotted instantly by Lowri Jones when I posted the photo on Twitter, the most important of all my kit is there – my good old M&S y-fronts.  A man’s got to have the right support!

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