A lot of things change when the distance increases. Suddenly you have to drink while running, which I never think about in training. And the belt that I usually wear right on my skin suddenly gives me blisters on my back. But the worst bruises were definitely of the mental kind.
I’ve gotten the results from yesterday’s race, and the final time was 1:45:18, about 30 seconds faster than I thought. And that makes it a new personal best by about 30 seconds. Obviously it’s on the wrong side of 1:45, but I feel that I gave it all I had on me, so already I feel a bit better about it. (And the concert I sang right after the race went very well, so I’ve now concluded that running long distance is probably great for singers.)
The reason that I’m disappointed is part that I had an unrealistic goal. My previous PB was about 1:46. I should have stuck with the primary goal of crossing the 1:45 line, instead of gunning for 1:40. People see my 5k time and tell me I could do much better at half marathon, but it ain’t necessarily so: The discrepancy in race times gets bigger as I get fitter.
And the other reason for my disappointment is that I was expecting it to be an enjoyable experience, and it was just not. I was bored for the first half and tired for the second half of the race. 4:45/km feels like a slow tempo for me, I can comfortably eat an apple or run with my mouth closed. I’m now suspecting that this has more to do with metabolism than strength or endurance. I simply run out of fuel right after the 10k mark. The legs felt absolutely great, and I had no form problems this time.
It seems all runners are different. I know I didn’t have a good food plan for this race. Pasta night(s) are on. And I am pretty sure now that I need to do longer tempo runs to improve at half marathon. I’m afraid long slow distance doesn’t work for me. I think the part I’m missing is one of fuel and glycogen storage, so that’s what I’m going to train.
But first I’m going on a 5k binge. And 400m intervals!