Aberdeen Half Marathon – ‘race’ report

Once again an early weekend alarm woke me. 5.45am this time.

Today’s plan called for 18 miles, with the last 8 at goal pace for the marathon. Joanna had planned a long weekend in York with Rebecca, so I decided to enter the Aberdeen half marathon rather than do another long run on the same roads at home.

We lived in Aberdeenshire for almost ten years before moving back in 2013. Aberdeen will always hold a special place in our hearts, so it was nice to go back and race on familiar streets.

I got there for around 8.30am, parked at Union Square then went for an easy 5 mile run down Riverside, past my old office, through Duthie Park, and back up. I’d forgotten how lovely the park is.

I was back at the car by 9.30, topped up my water bottle, changed my top, loaded up with gels, and then wandered up to Union Street. I’ve never seen it so busy!

It was also lovely to bump into some old friends, both before, during and after the race.

However I wouldn’t actually be racing today. I’d agreed with my coach that I’d run the first 5 miles at easy run pace, then the last 8 at 8:23 – my goal Pace for the marathon.

On the easy run before the race I’d noticed that my heart rate was elevated by about 10 beats, and the same thing happened on the first 5 miles of the race. They felt much harder than they should have! I guess my body hadn’t fully recovered from Thursday’s track session.

By mile 5 the sun was out and it was getting warm, but miraculously when I upped the pace it started to feel easier. How does that work?

I got into a rhythm and started chalking off the miles. I managed to hold my marathon pace for 6 of the 8 miles. The 7th was in the high 8s, and then mile 11 was a shocker!

Passing the flag at mile 12 was a great feeling, and from here to the finish I was back on top of the run. Mile 13 was my fastest mile for the day, and I almost sprinted down Union Street to the finish.

So I ended the day with 18 miles in my legs, plus the experience of pinning on a number for the first time since 2015. It was good to get used to that again before the big day in 4 weeks time.

I’m gonna take a rest day tomorrow, run easy on Tuesday, then I have another goal pace run (12 miles) on Wednesday.

But right now I need food……

This week in numbers:

  • Miles run – 42.1
  • time on my feet – 6:19:58
  • Half marathons run – 1

4 thoughts on “Aberdeen Half Marathon – ‘race’ report

  1. Welcome to the weirdness of marathon running. Running slower than pace hurts so much because your style changes slightly to run slower. Be very aware of this on the day of your marathon. There will come a point where you want to slow down because it hurts, but going slower actually hurts more as you move out of your comfortable style. If you can hold your planned pace through that bad stage it makes a huge difference to your overall time and your enjoyment of the last 6 miles.

    1. I had no idea that was even a thing, but after today I can believe it! The thought of maintaining that pace for 26.2 feels impossible though, I will certainly give it my best shot!

    2. Kevin, that’s also something I never really considered before! I ran a half marathon yesterday and blew up after the ninth mile; I went out far too quickly, but never really considered running slower and holding back might physically be challenging or painful (I always considered it simply a mental challenge). Thanks for the insight.

      Alasdair, do you wear a wrist-based or chest-based heart rate monitor? I train with a chest-based one for slower runs where I’m aiming to keep my BPM low, but I’ve always found it slightly uncomfortable or restrictive when running at a slightly faster pace.

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