Race notes: Wokingham half marathon 2018


Wokingham HM 2018 - the route
Wokingham HM 2018 – the route

Target time: 1:42:00
Actual time: 1:47:31
Course PB: 1:44:17

Ran the first race of the year this Sunday. It didn’t go to plan.

I wasn’t well hydrated at the start – had forgotten to drink enough water at home, or on the drive over. So, had to stop/walk at all drink stations for 2 cups of water, at each.

I was also over dressed for the weather – wearing a HH full sleeve base layer, and a Reebok running tee on top. I was sweating profusely within the first 5K, and had to roll up the sleeves of base layer soon after for relief. Also took off the (thin) gloves by halfway mark. Heavy sweating when already not well hydrated was not the start I wanted. Finished with both my tee and base layer completely drenched (and freezing cold!).

I ran the first half well within touching distance of the target pace. It was in the second half that the legs started crumbling. The 3rd quarter segment, where I usually overtake people in this race, was my undoing. I was suffering, and dropping pace, on every tiny incline. Even two gel packets within 10K didn’t help. Last year I ran the whole race consuming just a single gel packet, and still ran 2:30 faster.

I clearly paid for the hill repeats with the Fitstuff group on Wednesday night. I really enjoyed the hill repeats. But, despite taking it easy rest of the week, the legs clearly hadn’t fully recovered.

It was good to finish, relatively, strongly though. Ran the last mile or so neck and neck with another guy. Neither of us had the energy to sprint past, nor did either want to slow down. He won the sprint from final corner, and I ended up with the last km as my 2nd fastest of the race.

The good stuff

I ran the race in my Brooks Pureflow shoes. It’s my longest run in them, and I wasn’t sure how they’d do. They did well. It was good to discover that I can use them for other half marathon distances too.

The legs didn’t have the speed, but they weren’t lacking in stamina. I comfortably ran another mile from the race venue to the car park later, and then walked around the house and high street in the afternoon.

The left hamstring stayed a bit tense all through the race, but never came close to exploding/seizing. After a short massage1 after the race, it was still good enough for the jog to the car park, the drive home, and assorted activities later.

Foam roll – light and often.

Got this interesting, valuable tip from overhearing one of the physios while waiting for the massage. The other part of the same exchange was also pertinent – “many people think the hardest foam roller works best, but it can injure or put people off foam rolling”. I’ve been in this group – a hard foam roller, rarely used. Now, I’m trying her advice – 2 easy foam rolling sessions this week.


Given the unsatisfactory performance in the race, I’ve decided to sign up for an extra race – a half marathon – before the Cranleigh 21 miler. I’m fairly confident that I’ll train for the miles, but I need to get some race speed practice in as well. Currently considering between the local race – Surrey half marathon – and a race closer to sis’ place – the Milton Keynes half marathon.

I also, urgently, need to buy new shoes – a fast, light, cushioned road shoe with a wide toe-box and a medium heel drop, and a mid/low-priced trail shoe with decent cushioning (most of my long runs are on trails).

  1. The team providing massages seemed to be their first mass event. At most races, there’s a token fee (£5-10) for 10ish mins of light massage. Here, there were only two therapists, the massage was free, and they were providing long 20-40 mins massages to everyone. It was torturous!
    I wanted just a light rub to loosen up the obvious knots, and get the blood flowing. There were maybe 10 people ahead of me in the queue. 10mins x 10 people / 2 therapists = expected wait of ~50 mins. Just enough time to finish coffee, stretch, meet a few doggos, and chat up a few fellow runners. Instead it turned into a nearly 2 hour wait. Despite at least a couple of people ahead of me dropping out. The massage itself was good, but such a long wait made it a bit of a downer. I’d rather pay a tenner for a good 10 min rub down after a shorter wait.
    Logistics fail. 
Race notes: Wokingham half marathon 2018

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