Half marathon training diary – 15 weeks to go (and the Quidditch Cup)

I’m overdue a training update, and we’re way over halfway since I started training! I can’t believe I started training in November, that it’s now April (just, almost May), and only 4 months until I hit the pavement and attempt to run 21.1km.

The last time I posted I was mid-March, and I had just managed to come down with my first few injuries:

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Calf strain
  • Sore right knee (my bad one that I had a knee recon for)

I’m happy to say those injuries are now gone, and I’m back on track with training.

Let’s see how the last 4 weeks have gone.

Revised training plan

I had to take off a few weeks to let my body get better. I was walking a little bit, but there was zero running whatsoever. My physio had given me some strengthening and exercise stretches to do, and thankfully they have really helped. I’m still doing them before/after training sessions just to make sure I’m ready to go.

The problem was that because of the break my training plan had advanced beyond what I was comfortable with. I wasn’t ready to head off for a 10km+ run on the weekend; at that point I was worried about 5km again.

I cancelled my plan in the Nike+ training app and started again. I’m at the tail end of week 4, and last week I only ran twice but of that I did an 8.5km long run. This week I’ll have clocked up about 15 – 16km for the week; excluding all my walking workouts I’ve been doing (some tracked in Garmin, some tracked in other apps). My body is holding up great, which I’m super happy with. There was a little tightness last night after my run, but a few stretches and this morning there’s no niggles at all.

Visual progress

Here’s how the last two months have looked.


Click to view full size


Click to view full size

Upcoming plans

This month the goal is to just stick to my running plan as best as I can; do my workouts and don’t get injured.

There’s a huge complication though.

I’ve made the team for a competition with my running club, Potterhead Running Club. It is competitive. If you’re familiar with the Harry Potter movies, essentially I’ve just made the Quidditch team for Ravenclaw, and as I’ve come to learn, not everyone gets picked for the team so I’m pretty excited. I’m also extremely daunted.

The next Quidditch cup competition starts on the 1st of May and runs for 2 weeks straight. It’s intense. I didn’t realise the extent of what I was getting myself into when I signed up, and I’ve come to realise just how big an event this is for the club. There are teams of cheerleaders with a purpose of cheering and motivating those of us that made the team! There are substitutes, and reserve runners. There are people who have made public posts about how devastated they are to have missed out.

This thing is serious.

What is the Quidditch Cup?

Here’s what’s involved:

  • The competition runs for 2 weeks straight, no breaks
  • During those 2 weeks you need to get as much intentional mileage as you can each day, to a max of 15mi per day (approx 28km)
  • Intentional mileage means that you have gone for a walk or run intentionally. For example, getting miles from going to the shops or walking around the office doesn’t count. But if you walk around the shops just for the sake of walking, not shopping, that counts. If you go for a walk around the block before buying a coffee, that counts. If you park your car further away than usual so you have to walk further to get into the office, that counts. Get it?
  • There are ways of earning and losing points
  • Each “house” within the club has 3 teams that are competing against one of the other house teams, and then there are other teams who has a goal purely of getting more miles than others (not one specific team)
  • I’m on a team that is competing against one other specific team (they’re from the Slytherin house)

This is going to be nuts. My strategy is to get as much mileage as I can without sacrificing my body or affecting my run training. In plain words, there will be a lot of walking.

My strategy

I’ve worked out that I can potentially get up to 11 miles (about 17km) per day without pushing myself too hard.

  • I’m going to be getting up early in the morning and walking for an hour on the treadmill before my husband/son wake up (about 3mi/5km)
  • Once in the office, I’ll be doing a walk around the block whenever I go to make myself a coffee, approx 2-3 times a day. I’ve timed myself and it typically takes about 5-10mins to get around the block, the same amount of time it would take if I was ordering and waiting for a coffee from the coffee shop. Each lap of the block is 0.5mi (800m).
  • I’ll go for another walk at lunch, or if I have a run scheduled for < 5km, do my run. (3mi/5km)
  • More coffee walks in the afternoon (part of the 2 – 3 per day) (another 0.5mi/800m each time)
  • Eat dinner in the office before I get home (since I don’t finish until 6pm anyway I can eat my dinner at 5.30 while I finish up work, something I’d been trying to get into the habit of doing anyway so when I get home I can dedicate it to time with my husband and son or just relaxing)
  • More walking on the treadmill at home at night (I can do 3mi in an hour – approx 5km without walking too fast, bonus miles for walking longer)

The cool part of all of this is that I’ve been trying to make time for reading, and failing. I tried walking on the treadmill the other day with my kindle propped up in front of me, and it was completely doable! So now I can finally tackle the books that I have been hanging out to read for a long time!

Learning Opportunities

This is also going to be perfect for me to practise my post-run recovery. I’ll be trying out some different Epsom Salt bath recipes that have been shared amongst the group (adding Eucalyptus oil etc), and foot soaks. Nutrition will be a big thing with this extra mileage as well.

It’s also going to be teaching me discipline in a major way – particularly how to not go out too hard and burn out or hurt myself. When it comes to my half marathon I’m going to be swept up in the excitement and potentially run a bit too quick at the beginning. I need to remember to pace myself; exactly what I’m going to learn over these next 2 weeks.

I’m very driven by team events. The responsibility to my team makes me push myself much harder than I could ever inspire myself to do. I hate letting anyone down. Being part of such a large event, representing my house, having cheerleaders motivating us to keep pushing – it’s going to be exciting! I’m going to want to do as much as I possibly can.

It’s exactly what caused me to get injured in the first place. I was enjoying my running and started ramping up the mileage before my body was ready.

This is going to be more mileage than I have ever done before. By my calculations I could potentially be doing somewhere in the vicinity of 230km in 2 weeks. That’s crazy! I need to make sure I’m looking after myself – the bigger goal is my half marathon.

Hence the need to walk, not run. Walking at a reasonable won’t push my injuries, running will. If it takes me longer then so be it. And like my team mates have all told each other – as long as you do your best that’s all that matters. This event is not worth putting your body on the line for.

Looking forward

If time allows I plan to chronicle the Quidditch journey. It’s the perfect time, since I’m completely new to it all. There are so many newbies that have never competed in it, I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot that will help future rookies too.

Once that’s over, I’ll be taking a break for a week. I’ll treat it like the post-marathon week.

Then at the end of May I have a 10km fun run I’ve entered with a friend. I’m already making the distance so I know that’s not a problem, but I’m curious to see how I go time wise. Last time I did a 10km event I ran with an injured hip and it was before I was pregnant. That took 76mins. Now I’m about 10kg heavier and coming back from a zero fitness base. No matter what happens, I’m going to be proud of making the start line.

Can’t wait to update you all again soon!

Let me know your thoughts!