We’ll see you in September – Mr. M’s Journey to the 2017 Great North Run

It’s January and everyone starts out the year with something outside of their little bubble that they want to try. I think it’s normal for many people in the North East to want to try out the famous Great North Run. If you live in Newcastle you know you have to try it once in your lifetime which is why I was not surprised at all when Mr. M. told me he wanted to do it when I first met him 3 months ago. He asked if he could go a little series about his training up to the big day and I thought it would be a great idea. We decided to do 4 posts and this is the first installment all about receiving the e-mail to say you got your ballot place.

“We’ll see you on the start line in September!”

That’s was the first line of the email announcing the results of The Times ballot for the 2017 Simplyhealth Great North Run.

As is so often the case I met it the surprising news with a combination of excitement and trepidation, the latter in particular as I was (and still am) suffering from a chest infection and it is double the distance of anything I’ve run so far. Nevertheless, I was in!

Let’s backtrack a bit…

Up until June last year I hadn’t run more than 2.5k, a 12 minute run a few times a week to keep me fit for Australian Rules Football. Despite my best efforts I was having a disappointing season and was in need of a sense of achievement, and somehow arrived at the conclusion that I should run a 10k. With the inaugural Prince Bishops Durham City Run a mere 16 days away I decided that I would attempt a 5+km run depending on how that went sign up for the Durham City Run or not.

Surprisingly after a 5.4k run which left me soaked to the skin (it was raining), I was feeling rather optimistic and so began a crash training program which saw me run 47.8km in total in the build-up, including a 10.2km run in 51:47. I finished the event itself in 52:18 and, more importantly, I felt great! I wanted more and over time signed up for the Gateshead Trail 10k, the Great North 5k and then the Newcastle Mo Run with Melissa. My regular 2.5km turned into a regular 5.4km and I tried whenever possible to do the Park Run on Saturday mornings.

Growing up in the North East it’s hard to avoid the influence of the Great North Run and it has been on my bucket list for at few years despite my relative lack of distance running experience. It was with hope, then, that I bought The Times on 7th January to sign up to their exclusive ballot for 3000 GNR places…

Back to the main event…

What time am I aiming for?

This is my first half marathon and, as with my first 10k, my main aim is to complete it and unlike any other half marathon, in my opinion, it’s as much about the atmosphere as anything else.

That being said, entry forms for events require a predicted time and for these, I use Runner’s World Race Time Predictor. This estimated a finishing time of 1:55:03 based on my last 5.4km run. As I wasn’t at peak fitness when I ran that I am hopeful that I’ll go sub 2 hours.

So, what’s my training plan for the Great North Run? Do I even have a training plan?

I had already signed up for the 2017 Simplyhealth Great North 10k and have since signed up for the Siglion Sunderland City 10k. With these events in early May, early July and the GNR on 10th September I already have a rather neat pattern of two months between events forming. If I go ahead with the Stroke Association Resolution Run in late February that’s an additional 10k loosely fitting into this.

The footy season runs from April to August which will keep my fitness up (whilst hopefully leaving me uninjured) and I will be continuing with my 5.4km runs as a baseline.

In addition, I’ll be increasing the distance of set runs in the weeks before each major event and it is my intention to have completed a few half marathon distance runs by mid/late August before taking it easy in the final weeks.

I hope you enjoyed reading Mr. M post and hopefully his next few posts will be helpful when it comes to training.posts. So make sure you come back for them.

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