Between August and November 2021, I decided to run a half-marathon with 12 weeks of preparation in the spirit of challenging myself and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Below are my reflections on this experience - enjoy!
Why Did I Do It?
I initially wanted to do an in-person half marathon to fundraise with a friend, but did not feel comfortable with the COVID safety measures that were going to be in place. Ultimately I decided against doing the in-person event, but still wanted to fundraise so I challenged myself to complete a half marathon distance with 12 weeks of training, which is the training period suggested by most websites I looked at. I decided to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support since they are a charity which provides holistic support for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
My Training Plan
I referenced this plan and adapted it to my own schedule to produce a training plan.
I ran three times a week: 2 shorter runs on a weekday alternating with a day of cross training such as a core workout. On Sundays I did a longer run, increasing the distance over the 12-week period.
An example of my training plan!
I used to really enjoy running but stopped with other physical activities I was doing at the same time e.g. karate and ballet. Then I developed some injuries so I never really got back to it. In fact, my first run in this training plan was the first time I ran in over a year!
By the time I started training, I was relatively “fit” since I exercised somewhat regularly but BOY was it hard to start running again. I could not move at all the day after my first run. It was tough trying to stick to my training plan as I had to fly back to the UK for university not too long after starting training. With that came the challenge of adapting to a different climate, finding suitable times to run and a safe running route, especially when my placements started and I had to factor in the time required to commute. It got much tougher to find a time to run as the days got shorter and the temperature dropped.
Despite the challenges, I enjoyed being able to focus on having a good run and forget about everything else while doing so. It was an added bonus to see my times and fitness improve as the weeks went along! I also invited my friends to join me on some runs, which made pushing myself easier. Overall it was a good experience, I’m glad to have rediscovered the joy of running and definitely want to continue running, though it’ll be tough running in the midst of winter!