To run or not to run a race – Doubting yourself

Hello! Ever get it into your head that the race you are about to participate isn’t at the right time for you mentally? That it is probably just best to not go and just go for a little run somewhere in the opposite direction, even if it ends up being the same distance? Well, I am there right now and let’s dig a little and find out why…

Back to the back of the pack

So right now I am sitting down trying to work out if it is worth my time to run the Belfast Half Marathon tomorrow (Sunday 23rd September) I really want to run it, but through a mixture of things I have simply just not ran enough or gotten enough mileage to go into this race in any way to feel confident in myself. I am not an elite or even decent runner (especially at the minute) but I like to aim for the middle of the pack. This has been a bit hard for me over the last while since my weight gain and thus I am now firmly back to being at the back with the stragglers. Which of course is not a bad thing, but I had thought after improving my own fitness and running ability that I was past these times of KNOWING that I would finish at the back.

It is quite a struggle to know to go into the race and even going into after signing up that I am going to be at the back and I can’t rid it from my brain that this is a negative thing for me and that I am just going to struggle from the start. a 10km race is fine to have a bit of a struggle. Getting in at around 1 hour 10 is alright as it is a short race. But any distance beyond this becomes a bit more of an embarrassment for me and my head. The winner will most likely stride through at around 1 hour 10 or somewhere around there. If I stagger in at 3 hours I would actually be happy at this point. I do not like this feeling and I really need to shake it off before Dublin Marathon. If I have the struggle before I do a marathon, then I am in a whole world of problems.

Run Walk? Ugh

I know I am going to run walk, I know I am going to run walk A LOT more than I would ever like to admit. I don’t mind having to do that, I do it for marathons. I do it for the occasional half. But again my brain has it in my head that I am going to walk way more of this race than I should or even need to. It honestly feels like I have hit the wall and it is only 11pm in the evening BEFORE the race. I still have another 10 hours to go before the race even starts. Bloody hell…

If I run this race I am going to have to devise a little plan for myself to stop the demons from creeping in on me during the race, as I know they will. I have almost always fought through the wall and the mental issues (the only times I haven’t is when I was legitimately hurt and stopping was the only sensible option) But I don’t know, I just feel like this race could be the one where I really struggle.

I have been trying to think back to when I did the first ever Belfast Half Marathon and I was one of the last finishers, getting across over the 3-hour mark. I was sore and annoyed and frustrated. But proud. It was my first half and I did it. I know (I hope) that I will be faster than that time, but the frustration of being that slow again is a sore point. So some planning is going to have to be involved.

What’s the plan if you run?

Well, I am glad you asked! I have a feeling I might do a truncated 12-hour running race plan on this one. I would like to run at a nice 11-minute mile pace all the way if not faster, but you and I both know that isn’t happening. So if I can get to at least 4 miles comfortably then I will see where I am as it is always good to think of the remaining distance in numbers. Got to play that numbers game ya’ll. Get past 4 miles and I will have 9.1 left. Then I have to just work it either in miles of kilometres. If it involves just running a mile at a time before walking a little bit then so be it. I know the route so I know that at worst as soon as I get to mile 10 that the worst is over and it is just a parkrun to go and even if I am struggling, I can do that in 40 minutes at my absolute worst. I will figure something out more definite I am sure.

But why are you like this?

My training has not gone to plan at all, in fact, the most I have run is a couple of 10k races and the last race was two weeks ago since then it has been nothing but on off shorter runs with lots of disappointments in between to cause a steady growth of doubt to fill up to the point it is overfilling.

I think this is because it is probably my longest “race” since the Belfast Marathon (I think) and the doubts and frustrations were in my head about whether I should do these distances again then. I had a horrible run personally during the Belfast Marathon and I finished it and almost broke down (I probably did break down) because I was so frustrated with where I am at. I know I need to run this race to get a feeling of where I am for the Dublin Marathon next month, but I have been putting off running longer than 6 miles for too long now that I feel I have almost ruined the prep for that race as well.

So in my head, if I don’t run the half I won’t be disappointed with KNOWING where I am in my preparation for Dublin. But I also know I NEED to run tomorrow so I can at least clock up the 13 miles and hope that it is the kickboard to getting my arse in gear and try to get to at least 21 miles on a long run before Dublin, which I know I can do, but mentally at the minute I think that I can’t.

So will I run tomorrow? I guess we will see. I would like to hope I will, but nothing is certain. I apologise for this post, but this was very much a vent type post, as I can only badger the ear of my poor girlfriend for so long. She should prob get my medal if I run tomorrow! I will come back on Monday and let you know what I did and give you all that great chat. Until next time.

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