Running my first half-marathon – 74

PhD Life

The results are in; I completed the half-marathon in two hours and three minutes – tell my knees that.

For the first time in my life, I have entered a physical event, a half marathon, and I have done adequate training. During my training, I took note of how I felt during each run and what meals I had eaten before. Salad sat it my stomach and felt horrible, as did any relatively large meal. Two hours post-meal seemed like the best time to run.

On the day I woke up at 7 am and had 50 grams of oats with a teaspoon of honey; I also had a black coffee.

I felt great for about ten miles, slowly running past all the people that had under-prepared in some aspect of their race, and generally having a pleasant time. One of the biggest surprises to me about the event was the number of people that came out to support the event.

Every few minutes someone would read my name on my running card and give personalised encouragement. There were over 15,000 people running, so the people who were standing at the sides shouting for hours had their own endurance challenge. It was one of those moments where you forget all the strange politics us humans can get caught up in and really appreciate humanity.

I would certainly be tempted to run another one, and if anyone is on the fence about doing something like this I would certainly encourage it. I will certainly be trying my best to complete a half-marathon in under two hours.

Completing such a big challenge at the weekend makes the rest of the week pale in comparison. There were two particularly contrasting days that I had this week.

On Wednesday I attended a training course in a town just outside of London called Stevenage. Most things in the UK are close to London, which is because this is where most people live, and therefore where events are most profitable. The knock on effect of this, for those that do not live in London, there is a relatively early start to the day.

I had to wake up at 5:45! This is not what the former twenty-year-old warehouse worker in me went to University for. In fact, it was to avoid situations like this entirely. And get meaning and purpose in life, but that is more of a side-effect.

The course was about the maintenance of HPLC machines. This is a standard scientific instrument that most people who study a scientific subject will be familiar with . I went on the course to improve my knowledge of how to use these machines, and, consequently, boost my CV.

In contrast to all of this, I spent all of Friday morning weighing out 50 mg amounts of ground Rocket powder and all of the afternoon grinding dried Rocket leaves. By the end of the day, I had powdered Rocket all over me. It is interesting that when you take a shower after doing this all day, the powdered that is trapped in your hair gets wetted and quite pungent.

I am not sure if there is any evidence out there with respect to the hair regenerative prowess of dried Rocket powder, but if I find any I will let you know!

For those of you that are runners, or have run in the past, what would you recommend for increasing speed?

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

25 thoughts on “Running my first half-marathon – 74

  1. Congrats! I used to run in highschool and during my time in the Army. Ever since my leg was broke in Afghanistan in unable to run any more and miss it dearly–that second and third wind is a feeling of accomplishment in itself. I do walk a lot these days, but it’s just not the same. Continue pushing yourself, and you’ll get more endurance under your belt. Congrats again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done on completing the half marathon. For increasing your speed for a half marathon, try beginning your speedwork with one tempo run a week. This allows for some adaptation time to this increased intensity. Include a one- to two-mile warmup period before picking up the pace for the tempo or speed part of your workout. Keep the tempo portion of this run to four to six miles for the first few weeks. As you adjust to this new intensity, then you can increase the tempo distance of these runs to six to eight miles.
    I hope this helps πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

    Liked by 4 people

      1. No problem Louis. If your planning on running another β€œhalf” in the near future and would like a bespoke training plan, then let me know?
        I’m a retired marathon runner athletics coach, so if you wanted a personal schedule, I could email you a weekly plan say 3 months before your race? πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘


  3. Nice piece of work..πŸ‘Œ No matter of how long you did cover in your pace…what that matters is how fit you become after it…
    An additional tip that i would like to suggest would be to keep going ahead
    without any stress as stress gets defeated when you are fit ..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congrats ! Again..any form of cardio is bad for me, I prefer the weights ! Nonetheless, I’m curious as to whether you had any “carb-up” ritual the night before you run, besides the breakfast on the day itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Simmy. I didn’t do any form of nutrtional strategy prior to the run as I didn’t do any in training and didn’t want any surprises whilst running.


  5. Congratulations ! Running a half-marathon and completing a Doctorate require similar skills : patience, endurance, planning , and a sense of humour. And, as you pointed out, we give special thanks to people who encourage us along the way to achieving our goals.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wow, awesome job on your first half-marathon! Sounds like an amazing experience.
    Someone already mentioned tempo runs, which are definitely great for building speed. I did cross-country in high school, and another thing we used to do was interval training, alternating fast/slow for the duration of the run (usually on a track, but could also be done on a regular route). Short sprint series are also effective. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats! I just completed my 5th Savage Race on Saturday so my son’s trying to convince me to do a half marathon before the end of the year. I don’t know if I’d like running (and only running) that much but I might give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice! 2:03 is awesome, especially for your first half marathon! I’m a runner myself, and running have given me plenty of mental/physical benefits, and I’m sure you have likely experienced these benefits too, so I hoped you have kept up running over the past several months. As for some tips on getting faster at the half marathon, keep doing long training runs, but also incorporate speed workouts (fartleks, intervals, tempo runs, sprints, ect.). Add in strength training (planks, squats, push-ups, jump roping, etc.) too, for running really does use every muscle of the body, and it’s important to fine tune these muscles for more power. Hill reps (running up and down hills repeatedly) are a form of strength training, and I have found them to be very beneficial in my running. Pay attention to your running form ( so you can run more effectively and reduce the chances of injuries. You could also take some days to cross-train, which basically means doing any other exercise but running. This could be part of your rest days. Rest days (days that you slow jog, cross-train, or completely take a break from running) are important. While the days you workout break down your muscle, the days you rest build your muscles back up and make them stronger.

    What I like to do, is have a rest day two days a week, a long run two days a week, speed workouts two days a week, and a strength training day one day a week.

    Articles online, like this one ( can help a lot too.

    That was probably too much information, but whenever the topic turns to running, I really get into it. Running gives plenty of mental and physical benefits, so I really do hope you continue running and pursuing to better your time.

    I hope this helps!


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