The five things I got wrong at Newark Half Marathon

Newark Half Marathon was one of my “Target A” races, one to see how I am progressing – with an eye on a personal best and as a stepping stone to Manchester Half Marathon in October.

I finished the race in 1:45:53, 7 minutes out of my personal best and around 8-9 minutes off my target time. Reflecting on my long drive back home, here is a short list of five things I did wrong, in the hope that I (and perhaps you) will learn from the mistakes ready for Manchester.

The five things I did wrong

  1. Forgot my gels! I know that a lot of people do not use gels, but I am used to taking 2 along the way (around 7km an 14m). The Project E2 Hydro Gels help to give me a bit of an energy boost of which I was definitely lacking around the 12km mark….
  2. Headwind – The weather plays a big part in the conditions and Newark Half Marathon had far from ideal conditions for PB – it was hot and humid but there was also a massive headwind for about 3 miles in which there was no shelter. I should have taken account for this, instead….
  3. I powered on through – Still on pace early on through to about 10km, but this included the 3 miles (ish) of headwind and the long climb to the top. I should have slowed down a little bit and use the tail wind and descent to my advantage. But by then I was too “gassed” to keep pace.
  4. Not enough hydration – I ususally start “topping up” on Project e2 Hydro from Thursday and have a bottle with me to drink through Saturday, but for reason 5, I didn’t do this and always felt thirsty, even with the five water stations Newark Half Marathon had.
  5. Too busy – Going home for the weekend is great, but I had 4 stops to do on the Saturday including to (large) meals. Not ideal prep for Sunday morning race and it wouldn’t be how I normally prepare the day before.

And the four things I got right

  1. Reframed – Once I felt “gassed” and my heart rate wouldn’t come down, I decided to re-frame the race by taking the PB target off the table.
  2. This allowed me to enjoy the race a little more and once I got to the last few kilos, I stepped up the gas again for a fast(er) finish
  3. Didn’t stop – I was tempted to stop and walk several times, but I beat the “demons” and kept moving (slowly) forward
  4. Forget it and move on – After writing this blog, and having a chat with my coach at Runstrong, I will put this in a box and move forward. Every race cannot be a PB and not all conditions are going to be perfect to achieve that perfect time

All I can do, is put these learnings into practice and prepare for the next race. A PB will come, it just didn’t happen today.​​​​​​​​​​

Wil Chung