I did my first running race after the pandemic, Battersea Park Half Marathon, on last Saturday. I originally wanted to do a running race October last year but it was postponed to February this year due to a storm, and got blown out again on the 5th attempt of running the race so the race was cancelled. I signed up this half marathon just 3 days before the race.
Before the COVID pandemic, I ran my first half marathon in 1:41:50, and not long afterwards I signed up an overseas marathon in 2020. Then the world was shut by the pandemic and I stopped running completely as a result.
As pandemic restrictions eased, I started to return to running and signed up a race in October, but it was blown out and eventually cancelled. Afterwards looking at the race calendar I found this race happening 3 days afterwards, on a perfect loop course without elevation, so I signed up to see where I was.
As I signed up this race just 3 days beforehand, there was no structured training. What I was doing in the past half a year was a session with my triathlon club a week, and some orienteering races only.
- Name: RunThrough Battersea Park Half Marathon
- Date: 2022-03-12
- Place: Battersea Park, London
- Distance: 13.1 miles (21.1 km)
- Website: https://www.runthrough.co.uk/race-information-battersea-park-hm/
- Result: 2:10:57 (2:10:51 chip time)
- Rank: 438/544 finishers
The race is 8.75 laps of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) flat loop in a park.
Because I lived so far from the city, and there was a lack of flat course road running races near where I lived, I had to take the first train of the day to get to the race. I got just enough time for preparation to my start.
The markers in this race were in miles, which is a non-standard unit. 1 mile in Britain is equal to 1.609344 km. I configured my Garmin to auto-lap in 1 mile, which became 1.61 km in metric mode.
I started off aiming for 8’3″ for a mile (equivalent to 12 km/h, which would give me 1:45:30 finish time), however despite my best effort in controlling my speed I still hit the milestone at 7’51”.
I tried hard to keep myself on pace, and hit the milestone at 8’12”.
It seemed to me impractical to keep to my original intended speed any more, and adjusted my speed target to 11 km/h. I hit the milestone at 8’45”.
Mile 4 – 9
My legs started to get painful in mile 4 and as a result my speed dropped every mile. My speed became lower and lower but my pain was stronger and stronger. By mile 9 my speed was already dropped to 8 km/h.
Mile 10 – 13
At that stage I believe that my suffering was enough that switching to a walk-run strategy might be better off, if I could walk at 6 km/h and run at 12 km/h, using 1:3 walk:run ratio in distance. so I walked 400 m and ran the remainder of the mile. It worked in mile 10 but in mile 11 I could no longer keep to that, and I had to switch to shorter intervals to complete the race. At the end of the race I was walking 100 m and running 200 m each time.
My finish time was 2:10:57, about 29 minutes slower than my PB.
It was so painful afterwards. I originally planned to visit 2 museums in the afternoon and only got to 1.
I didn’t expect this to happen if I didn’t have systematic training, and now this race meant if I wanted to get back to running I would need to start training again from 0 for months. I now no longer have any motivation to run again as I was even having trouble getting enough swim training when I had a full time job so far away from the city.