As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently adopted quite a minimalist running ‘schedule’, in that it consists of only running once a week. Especially now it’s winter, it suits me pretty well to only go running when I have enough time, which limits me to running during the weekends only. Even when I was running three to four times a week I often had trouble motivating myself to go running during weekdays, because it either had to be a quick one before dinner or I’d have to wait until at least an hour and a half after dinner, which is enough for me to lose my running appetite for the day. With the dropping of my time-based running goals I have allowed myself a far easier running regime, which basically comes down to one long and easy run per week, either on Saturday or on Sunday. I’ve been building up the distance gradually in the past few months, slowly but steadily working towards my 30k trail running goal. In the meantime, I’m putting a dent in my 12 half marathons goal by running one every couple of weeks. Besides being a goal of its own, I’m starting to notice that running a race every now and then is a very welcome change from the easy pace I run my solo weekend runs at.
Yesterday was the day of my second half marathon, and this time it was the province of Gelderland where the race was held. I had no idea what time I would be able to achieve, but I’d be happy if it was around the same time as the previous half (around 1:52). I drove the 50 minute trip and arrived at the starting point nicely in time to change clothes and do a bit of a warm up. This seemed to be a good idea as it was around -5C, with a bit of wind that made it feel even colder. The race ran through a great area consisting mainly of forest covered in snow, but volunteers did a great job clearing the road, so running there was never going to be a problem. Very well done!
Even though time wasn’t important (I’d left the Garmin at home again to be able to fully enjoy running for the sake of running) I was tricked into starting a bit faster than planned. Might have something to do with the cold as well, the faster you run, the sooner you can get inside again! I wasn’t sure whether I could keep up that pace throughout the race, but I decided to give it a go and hold on to that pace, partly as an assessment of my newly adopted running schedule. If things wouldn’t work out as planned and I had to slow down considerably later on, I’d take my losses, learn from it and start slower the next time.
But that moment never came. I was able to keep on running just that bit faster than planned throughout the 21.1k, helped by running in a small group, which is always easier than running alone. I was amazed at how long I could keep this up, and yet also a bit frightened that I’d hit a wall before the race was over. However, I managed to hold on pretty well until the finish line. The last couple of kilometres were, as expected, a little harder than the first 17 or 18, but I’ve gotten used to that, it happened when I was running 3-4 times per week as well. Having thoroughly enjoyed the snowy forest scenery, I returned at the track which was the starting and finishing point in 1:46:34. That’s almost six minutes faster than the half marathon four weeks ago, something I’m over the moon with and also something that I really never expected. Granted, I’ve run a half in 1:34:09 once, but that was four years ago and as said, on a very different running schedule.
It seems like my current running regime is paying off already, and I intend to keep at it for a long time, if only to see what I can achieve this way. I especially like the fact that I’m already looking forward to my next run, despite having just finished a half. I haven’t experienced this eagerness often when I was running 3-4 times per week, so in some way you might say that less is more in this regard. Win!