In October last year, I made myself a promise that Johnson Crane would be my first half marathon of 2013. I started training in November and kept to a disciplined routine of weekly running, even managing to sneak in a 16km LSD. But it came as a surprise to me when I ran Johnson Crane this past weekend that I struggled so much. Even though the route is quite flat and fast-paced, I did not manage to make 3 hours (story of my life!).
Wait a minute. Why am I so critical of myself. When I sat down and thought about it, I realised that this race is my first 21.1km race since Two Oceans in 2011. That’s almost 2 years since I’ve run that kind of distance. I’ve run a couple of 10km races here and there, but the training and dedication for half marathons was put on hold last year as I rested a foot injury (and a mental block).
It was good to experience a half marathon again: The familiarity of the nerves at the starting line, the crowds, the vibe, the discussions I have in my head as I negotiate each and every one of those 3 hours and the absolute joy of crossing the finish line.
However, it did get me thinking and when I do any running analysis, I like to consult my “Lore of Running”
bible handbook. This is what I found: there are 15 training laws listed. The very first law says this:
Law 1: Train Frequently, All Year-Round. If you want to be a good athlete, you must train all the year round, no matter what. What is really required is a little exercise constantly; this will benefit you permanently to a far greater degree than single heavy doses at long intervals.
I needed the break. But running does not come naturally to me and while a 10km race is easy, the 21km races requires me to dig a whole lot deeper, both physically and mentally.
The lesson in it for me is that to be good at something takes practice. Constant practice. Not only with running, but other areas of my life too. I can’t neglect certain aspects of my life and come back expecting everything to be the same as it always was. It’s about frequency, all the time.
For now though, it feels great to once again be able to say the words I ran 21.1kms. I’m proud of myself.