Sunday 5th February saw me return to London Winter Run. After a poor run in 2016 I was rather apprehensive about running this race again.
However, with the London Marathon fast approaching it was the perfect opportunity to try out my training pace in a race atmosphere.
Many people asked in the lead up “what is your estimated time?” “are you aiming for a sub 60 minute race?”. I am not sure If I am the only runner to feel this way, but there is far too much focus on time and chasing a personal best. Sometimes it is not about your time, but your journey.
In fact this time round I was 3 minutes slower than I was in 2016. This did not bother me. After ramping up the marathon training in recent weeks I have started to maintain a slower pace in order to cope with endurance and keep my heart rate steady whilst running. In doing so I am finding that its working – I am building up the endurance to keep running when I would have previously stopped and I feel stronger both in mind and body.
Sunday was a clear indication of my progress. My mind was focused and in a good place, my body rested and, with the aid of my trusted Garmin, my pace remained steady – meaning not only did I feel great when running throughout but I completed the whole 6.2 miles without stopping and I even managed a sprint finish (and I never sprint).
The route itself is always pleasant; starting at Trafalgar Square, running through the City to St Paul’s Cathedral then back into the centre; along the Strand and ending in Whitehall. With the roads closed, plenty of spectators and a generally flat route it is a perfect race to enter to aid training or just to have a little fun.
When I first started running the London races I was overwhelmed by the number of people running; with faster runners darting in and out and myself having to dodge the slower runners/ walkers around me. Now I welcome the runners around me and the complete strangers shouting my name. There is something spectacular about the spirit and atmosphere during these races. The feeling that you are not alone, that no matter where you are in the race you have someone nearby and encouragement in the crowd even though they are not there to cheer you on.
If have often heard the statement “if you are loosing faith in human nature, go out and watch a Marathon.” From my own experience I have come to realise it does not have to be a Marathon. Watch any race and you will find complete strangers chatting to help each other round or shouting out from the sidelines with words of encouragement.
Roll on London Winter Run 2018.
10 weeks/69 days until London Marathon Sponsors welcome here.