Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Half Marathon Training

Last fall when we returned from Oktoberfest, we were feeling especially indolent and out of shape. Three straight days of liter steins and Bavarian food will do that to you.

We agreed that after the New Year we would train for and run a half marathon, and we picked one for April 6 in Madrid.

Neither of us have run a marathon or half-marathon, so this is new ground for us. Several years ago we'd participated in the Madison to Chicago 200 mile relay with ten others, but the longest leg of that event was 8 miles.

Training through the winter in London isn't as bad as I may have feared. The temperatures never go below freezing, so running outdoors is still viable as long as it's not a torrential downpour. Not helping, England just had its wettest January since 1766!

The only major drawback with our neighborhood is that there aren't any sizable parks close by. The blue arrow on this map of London's most popular running routes points out our location (notice the absence of popular routes nearby). Regents Park is two miles West, the Thames River Path is a little bit less than two miles South, and getting there involves running through many busy intersections.

We joined the Virgin Active gym that is right up the street, and it's also part of a large network allowing us access anywhere across the UK. I took advantage of it when we were in Edinburgh last month.

We've also found a great informal group that meets every Tuesday evening, the London City Runners. Usually there are 60-80 people on a given Tuesday, and we run a six kilometer loop starting from Bermondsey, crossing the Thames over the Tower Bridge and following the river path until returning via the Millennium Bridge. And like almost all other British get-togethers, it ends at a pub and people tend to stick around for a couple drinks afterward.

Training is going well thus far, and I can feel myself improving each week. This Sunday's task is an 8 mile run, and we'll keep building upwards from there.