Tag Archives: race

The long quick run – New Forest half marathon race report

Sorry for the lack of updates. This has been for a number of reasons:

1) We’ve just moved house and I now have a commute
2) We’re less than three weeks away from having a baby
3) Work has been manic

This does mean that I had a two week “taper” period and that the last run I did before today’s half marathon was the 11.5 miler a couple of weeks ago.

So, it was with some nerves, Sensei Paul, and a pain-free drive down to the New Forest that we braced for the half marathon. It was a beautiful autumn morning – cool, crisp, bright sunshine and blue skies. The crowds were out in force. We had had a light breakfast and I’d had a bonus rice krispie bar before the race, but was otherwise running as I had trained – mostly on empty. I took my place with the ‘120+’ minute finish time staggered staring place as Paul dodged up to find the 80 minuter starting point (!), fired up RunKeeper and Mumford & Sons… and sooner than I thought possible, we were off.

The race was ‘chip-timed’ but only at the start and finish, so RunKeeper and my trusty £8 digital watch were providing the split information and helping me manage my pace. I’d said to Sensei that I wanted to maintain a pace between 6m and 6m15 per km for the race duration – which would see me hit my 2h20minute target. Of course, in the headiness of the actual race conditions, I fired on much quicker – managing a 5.36 pace through to 5k, 5.46 through to 10k, 5.56 through to 15k and 5.58 through to 16k – the 10 mile mark. All of these translated to personal bests for me! Which was fantastic, but also slightly misjudged… and of course the final 5k felt reasonably gruelling.

The race split into three broad phases for me:

The first 10k – exhilirating,fast, passing lots of people and maintaining reasonable pace.

The next 6k – starting to get passed by the runners that had paced themselves better and struggling a bit with endurance

The last 5k – gruelling endurance, fuelled by determination and a handful of jelly babies at mile 10, and filled with the satisfaction of overtaking the people who had mis-paced themselves and were now walking

Of particulate note was the last 500m – marked as the last 0.1 of a mile – should have been 160m! But managed a sprint finish at the end, which was particularly satisfying.

Time was 2h09.39 – you can find me on this site, race number 1555 at the New Forest Half Marathon. Full RunKeeper stats available here, but include splits below too.

GunPos No GunTime Surname Forename Gender Cat Team/Club Chip Pos Chip Time
1250 1555 2:10:33 David Armand M 1261 2:09:29

Sub 2h10!! A full 10 minutes better than hoped for at my most optimistic! About 2/3rds down the pecking order (about 1,800 ran), so a lot of room for improvement, but pretty pleased with myself.


mi Pace (min/mi) Elevation (ft)
1 9:20 36
2 8:40 30
3 8:50 -12
4 9:09 28
5 9:19 -18
6 9:41 -1
7 9:30 -44
8 9:59 -46
9 10:51 89
10 10:48 1
11 10:58 3
12 10:50 -43
13 10:00 -24

Paul, of course, came third with a new personal best of 1h17.06 – and so was waiting for me at the finish – and got a very nice trophy.

I was pleased to finish without stopping, amazed with my time, and to be honest spent the whole day thinking I missed 2h10 by 33 seconds because I misread the charts. Sub 2h10 – woohoo! Next stop, sub 2h – which will be a target for next year, depending on how the baby and my running routine play together.

Thanks to all who have supported me, from my lovely wife, my reliable physio, my friends, extremely generous family, my colleagues at Brands2Life and all the people who sponsored, supported, encouraged, cajoled and otherwise helped me through this. Especial thanks to Mr and Mrs Sensei Paul for the challenge, encouragement, mentoring and a fantastic race weekend. It feels a fantastic achievement for me and I definitely have the race bug now (although we’ll see how I feel about that when the aches set in proper tomorrow).

Next time – more stretching, more training, setting up a playlist for the run in advance (much as I love Mumford, the album repeating three times was a bit much), and perhaps a bit more gentle pace at the start…

If you were waiting to see if I’d manage it to sponsor me, I have now – so chuck the cash in over here! Thanks again all.

p.s. I’m knackered now so reserve the right to edit this when I’m a bit more copus mentis…

Long Slow Run in the countryside – 16 May

The weekend’s training was a bit of a mix – first a relatively gentle 10k on Saturday (although my quickest since I started recording runs with Runkeeper) – and then, whilst staying with Amanda’s family, a 10 mile country ramble on Sunday.

The 10-miler was challenging and entertaining for a number of reasons.

First; hills. My leisurely London route doesn’t really have any. My Hampshire ramble? Did. Very much so. Yowza.

Second; jogging with JKB, my brother-in-law, for the first 35 minutes, was good – but meant I wasn’t listening to the audio prompts from my new £6 purchase of Runkeeper Pro – resulting in my early pace being relatively slow (about 6m50 per km). I also need to warm up better – if not stretch – as it took about 35 minutes to work out the tightness in my shins.

Third; Runkeeper paid edition gave me audio prompts for the remainder of the run, pushing me to hit a target pace of 6m30 per km – great motivation, and will be invaluable in training. Looking like £6 well spent. I made it up to 6m33 by the end of the run – with some decent splits for me for a 10-miler. Overall, though, it was a slow run – 1h50 for the 17k (10.5miles) that I ran. I will need to up the pace significantly to beat the 2 hour target for the half marathon (either that, or get to a point where I can run the final 4k in 9 minutes!).

Fourth; I overlapped with the Hook Fun Run for about 5 miles of the run, which meant a lot of confused marshalls when I first ran the wrong way, and then ducked off on a “wrong turning” around mile 6. Accidentally ran two races last week, ish! Still, running as part of a “race” (even though I wasn’t racing) helped with the motivation and the pace.

I survived the run happily (fitness improving!) and only slightly stiff the day after (although a headcold/hayfever has held me up for a day or so). Hoping to get back into training tomorrow but the rest of this week’s training will likely be minimal as heading off for a cousin’s wedding this weekend (in India!). See if I can find an air-conditioned gym for a treadmill-based run whilst I’m out there…

Pre-race jitters

I’ve entered my first ever competitive running event – man vs. banana in WRCF’s ‘Beat the Banana’ 5k run through Hyde Park. It’s tomorrow and I went on my first run post-half-marathon session on Sunday this morning — and it HURT. A 32 minute 5k is not going to beat the banana and I’m pretty anxious about it. Will do some deep stretching tonight, take the morning off running tomorrow and keep fingers crossed…

Wish me luck and watch out for a race report late tomorrow or Friday. Any tips on pacing myself? Or just sprint the whole way?