Training for a half marathon is hard, yes it’s only 13 miles but when you’re carrying around that little bit of extra weight and you’re not the fastest runner in the world it can be challenging. The task is made slightly easier when you’re sad, confused or upset – unfortunately I signed up to this latest half marathon feeling none of these things.
My first thought was, I’m not at university – I can’t skip a lecture and go for a casual 11am run, I’m not free at 4pm so have to do a full day at work and then run. Yes, I hear you I could get up earlier but I’m not an ‘early riser’.
1. When I first started in training in London it was easy to blame ‘the smog’. Yes, it’s not Beijing but you know it’s not the north. You don’t have sea air or walk down the pier and think “wow, that’s fresh!” Then I started to blame my general laziness, and the fact that when I got in from work spending an hour of my evening on a run was not even comprehensible.
Now, I am very much in the training mindset, and I am realising more and more the difference between running in the city and running outside of it.
2. Career People
Up north we have stereotypes of you southerners – true. We see the very career driven Londoners as people who dress up during the day and then slog themselves running, or at the gym, during the evening. I can find a few examples, so it’s definitely not untrue, but now I feel like one of those people.
I work all day, train in the evenings. Completely ridiculous when if I was at university I could spend the whole day at university and go for a run in the evening. But still, now I feel like a proper Londoner.
3. The Hills
Last half marathon I trained in the Peak District, however, when in London I feel like I could be training in the Lake District. The hills. There should not be so many hills. Granted, I know I live in a place called Tulse HILL but still, unexpected and unnecessary they are.
4. Smaller than you think
London is huge – one of the reasons I find it so impersonal and sometimes difficult to live in, then I started spending time on Map My Run. Great app for routes and running, but manages to make you feel like a half marathon is an impossible task. From my house it is 10km to The Globe Theatre – in my world, on public transport, it is about 45 minutes. That then makes no sense. I would have to run to The Globe and back to complete the half marathon – gutted.
5. N0 running club
I love running down the road and seeing someone and knowing we are in ‘the running club’ – we are both in the same boat. Our joints are hurting, we are struggling to breath and don’t even mention that incline that I have just seen that car climb. In London there is no such thing. You are focused on what is ahead, your target so to speak – not other runners. No smiles, no waves, no “I know how you are feeling” – it’s lonely running in London!