Basingstoke Half Marathon. Could I keep pace?

Coming into this race I was unsure of my form having not been focusing on run training specifically over the last season, simply due to my triathlon commitments and goals. Plus recently I’ve not been able to train as much as I’d like. So this race was a bit of a test to see what’s what in run performance terms.

Having thought of my previous half marathon PB, this courses time and how to be on track to beat it I opted to pace evenly. This also taps well into my GSR goals in a few weeks time.

The target was set! 19 minute 5km pace, repeats.

After going through my usual pre-race routine (includes eating at the right time, and the right foods, mindset time, kit and warm up I made my way to the start line… Could I keep that pace?

I looked at the pacer markers as I drew forward through the masses in the start funnel, “under 2hours” yep forward I go, “under 1.45” yep forward I go, “under 1.30” yep forwards i… Eer and there it was, the start line with a few very quick looking runners! Relax i thought, “just run your race” i told myself. After saying hello to a few familiar faces we were under starters orders and ready to set off.

Little did I know that all the runners were in together. (this year an additional 10km race was included so to be more inclusive of new runners 👍).

With little hesitation 54321 and we were off! A few meters in and the lead pack flew off at madness pace! I checked my watch to see if I needed to keep pace, I was at 5.30min mile pace!! Wow, I thought, telling myself, “easy does it, over 13 miles some of these guys will come back to you” so i eased up and clocked more like 6 minute mile pace.

We pealed out of town and I was behind the lead pack, ahead of which a few runners that I could see were flying off infront. Trying to keep my pace as well as not loose the pack at the same time the 5km marker came along… 19min bang on 5km pace. ✔️ #OnPace

I could see a few runners ahead that I thought I’d catch but staying patient I focused on easing into my stride only and thought, “if they come back to me great, if not dont worry just run your race”.

I passed one smoothly a few mintes later and was on the shoulder of the second way before 10km showed up. I could tell he was working hard and didn’t want me to pass, increasing his cadence to stay just ahead of me.

By now some rolling inclines were coming along as we had some rather nice down hills already. I opted to shorten my stride and run the hills easy but with a swift cadence which worked well as I passed him at the top of the hill where I then wasting no time getting back into my stride and rythm. I new that the hills were costing me time so I needed to be running more like 5.45 pace for a while. I couldn’t wait for the 10km marker to come along to check my pace so looking at my mileage on the Garmin doing the maths I was bang on pace still.#Check ✔️#OnPace

Refusing to look at my Heart Rate I searched for a hard but sustainable rythm and focused on my mantra of “”posture, rhythm relax, breathe, keep the leg speed up”. All in a bid to loose as little time as possible due to the rolling hills.

10km popped up and bang on pace still. I was pleased with this which motivated me to just carry on.

I now had my eyes set on two runners up ahead who looked ripe for catching. The rolling hills were now taking there toll on pace however, but I was spured on by one of the runners ahead as he gapped the other runner who was now drawing back towards me. It wasn’t just my pace that was starting to struggle with these hills.

Again doing the maths for mileage and pace I was 30seconds down, then a minute down but the runner was still coming back to me and i passed him smoothly after half way. He tried to spark up conversation as I went past but I had to ignore it, with a polite nod i stayed focused and carried on trying to keep my pace as best I could. (sorry runner).

The second runner was now up ahead but he never came back to me. We seemed to be equal pace for most of the race and I couldn’t have an extra injection of pace this early on to catch him. I’d over cook it, i could feel I was on my limit so needed to use my mantra and say disciplined. #UnderPace

I opted to stop the pace equations and changed mindset to simply racing! Not to be caught by the guy behind and not to let the front guy out of my sight incase he fades! #Refocus

As we ran past the crowds I could hear how far the guy behind was as they cheered and shouted encouragement, I got a positive lift from the support which was really good at this race. Big thanks to all you who shouted, cheered and took the time to be there 👍

Some serious down hill action later and still no change, the last 5km ticked by, 19 minutes I told myself, “come on just don’t lose your hard-earned place now”.

The last part of the race is on a straight road as you head in towards the park to finish I tried to work on my mantra here but by now it really was anything but easy!!

A Marshall was very well placed and encouraging to runners, telling me I’m 10th don’t stop now! Thanks Marshall great motivation with 2km to go!

2km 8 minutes of hard work, it’s suffer time! By now the 10km runners had been passing by as we shared some of the course dodging one or two as I came into the park I just tried to run as fast as I could to the finish line!

I finally looked at the Garmin for my overall time just 400m before the line not on for 1.20 pace but I can dam well get under 1.25!! Those hills took their toll but I finished with a new PB all the same.

I couldn’t get under the 4min km Avg speed I wanted but over all given the course I’m pleased.

My average pace was 4.01 per km or 6.27 per mile.

15kmph or 9.3 miles per hour.

Running a half marathon just before I head off to Great South Run is ideal. 10miles is the next distance and coming close to 1hour 3minutes is the target. #HardWork

I learnt after the race that the quick front runners were the 10km runners! Good decision not to keep pace with them!! 🤣

Basingstoke half marathon is really well organised event I’d highly recommend it!

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