2013, Challenges, Half Marathon 2013, Health & Fitness, Musings

Settling Scores and Picking a Playlist

Tomorrow I’m running the Cardiff Half Marathon. It’s safe to say I’m not quite in optimum shape for it, but I’m in ok shape and I should be able to get round the course.

There are 16,000 people running it this year and many of those runners will be doing it to raise money for charity. When I ran it in 2011 I was one of them, raising money for mental health charity Gofal, but this time round I’m doing it for myself.

Settling A Score

You see, I’ve got unfinished business with this half-marathon. In 2011 I only managed to run for 6 miles before my knee gave in and halted my progress. I spent the remaining 7 miles hobbling round the course to the finish line where I managed to just about jog over it unaided with a final time of 2:52:29.

This year I’m running to settle the score with the course. It’s a different route to the one I ran in 2011 and I’m really looking forward to giving it a good crack and (hopefully) running it all the way this time.

I originally set myself a target of finishing in under 2 hours – but I’ve since scrapped that idea for another year when it became clear that there was no way I would be able to hit that time with my current fitness levels. Now my target is just to run the whole thing from start to finish and get a respectable time on my record.

Running Routines

I’m a fussy runner. I don’t like holding things when I run because it affects my rhythm, I don’t like my arms being covered when I run because they get too hot (as does my chest – but that’s where zip vests come in handy), I can’t run without music because all I can hear is my heavy breathing and thumping footsteps. I know I’m not the only one who has their little nuances and routines though.

I’m also quite specific about the music I listen to when I run and this is one of the most important things that’s helps keep me going. A lot of people like to have fast, upbeat music to spur them on but I can’t get on with all those heavy beats and loud noises. My musical choices tend to lean towards film scores and classical music – especially Hans Zimmer and Ludovico Einaudi.

Picking a Playlist

For a two hour (plus) run it’s important to get your playlist right. You need to start off at a steady pace – too slow and you’ll have too much catching up to do later, but too fast and you’ll run out of energy later on and struggle. Finding something smooth and rhythmic for the first couple of miles is essential.

You need a pick me up in the middle of the race, a boost to get you going when the tiredness starts kicking in – something uplifting to get your adrenaline flowing for a few more miles but doesn’t push you on too fast so you wear yourself out.

Then you get to the final couple of miles and it’s time to kick into overdrive. This is where you need the most inspirational music in your ears, something that builds you gradually, mile by mile, until you’re getting to the final straight and the music reaches it’s crescendo and it’s finale as you sprint towards the line.

Getting the timings right is tough, but with a little tweaking you can find something that suits you. My playlist for tomorrow isn’t finalised but will consist of:

  • Ludovico Einaudi – In A TIme Lapse
  • Hans Zimmer – Man Of Steel (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Hans Zimmer – The Dark Knight Rises (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Max Richter – On The Nature Of Daylight

Not everyone’s cup of tea but they work for me. What do you listen to when you run?

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