Long Run – Half Marathon Training

Cannon Hill Common Lake

I went for my first long run on Sunday. I have not been on a long run for a while as I have not seriously trained for an event or had a training plan for some time.

The long run was supposed to be my fourth run of the week, but it was actually my first. It was 32 degrees on Tuesday so I gave BMF Running club a miss, which I think was sensible. Thursday I was out with a friend for dinner, so missed my tempo/hill/sprints session. Saturday’s 8am BMF session was very tough and by 9am the temperatures were already soaring, so I did not do parkrun afterwards. I did cycle to work 5 days in a row, but cycling does now make you a good runner! Unless you are Chris Froome!

I have become conditioned to circuits, sprints and park runs. Shorter, quicker efforts. I am training for the Ealing Half marathon at the end of September and need to build up my endurance. I set off on Sunday morning with little knowledge of where I was going. I just planned to spend an hour on my feet knowing that that it would be around 6 miles / 10 kms in distance.

I have not really been out running from home since I moved in January. I know the local area (SW London) fairly well, but it all tends to be roads and suburban streets. As I was at a loss for somewhere new to head off to, I googled my local area beforehand and found Cannon Hill Common. So, I thought I would go and check it out. See picture above.

I struggled as normal during the first 10 minutes before I felt more comfortable. With a couple of detours across some football pitches, I found the Common. It is not the largest of places (I circumnavigated it in about 15 mins) but there are changes in terrain and enough twists and turns to keep the mind busy. There are a couple of lakes and a few woodland sections that were nice to keep out of the sun. It is good to know that I have a local park there when I need to, to knock out a 30 minute run.

I still had 30 minutes left to go! Even though I was trying to avoid it, I would have to head up the hill to Wimbledon Common. I went via a route where I had seen a little park that I thought would be good for my hill sessions. I was correct. I found a lovely little place with a bit of grass for sprints and footpath running up the hill for some hill work.

After crawling up to Wimbledon Village, I did 2 laps of the open section of Wimbledon Common and heading through the Village and Wimbledon Town and headed home and even had enough energy to pick it up a little at the end. I stopped my watch and it read 1hr 3 mins. Just what I was after!

The run went well. I had two worries beforehand. One, I would get tired as I had not run for an hour for 6 or so months. I ran at a steady pace and still felt strong at the end. If I had needed to carry on for another 20 minutes I was be pretty confident I could. Hopefully this bodes well. The other was that I would get bored and it would put me off as my long runs as they build up over the coming weeks. I did not get bored. I had my iPod on with a mix from the Housenation UK podcast mixed by Lee Harris. It is a great mix from March 2016, full of remixes of classic dance tracks that kept me nodding along. It happened to be just the right length and got me from door to door.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts while you run. I wrote a post on great podcasts here.

My first long run was pretty successful all round. I think I broke a little bit of the mental barrier about running on my own from home (not BMF or parkrun), and I feel confident I can build up the times and distances and feel strong come the half marathon. I know it is only one run, but it has put a spring in my step to hit the training hard!

Sorry about the lack of original photos. I need to remember to take my phone with me!

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