My half marathon experiment

The Pebble watch

This weekend I am running the Reading Half Marathon for the second time.

Last year I did it in a relatively respectable 2:07, and this year – three kilos heavier but with a year’s more running experience under my belt and some helpful advice from my friend and colleague Keith – I’m aiming to get around in under two hours.

It’s not going to be easy – can you help me out with your words of encouragement and your dodgy taste in music?

Yes, I need your help. I recently received my long-awaited Pebble Smartwatch (pictured above). While the Runkeeper app isn’t yet available, this does mean I can control my music and read your tweets, right from my wrist.

So, in a possibly foolhardy move, I’ve set up a collaborative Spotify playlist, and I’m asking you – the people of the internets – to pick my running tunes for me. I need some good running tunes that will motivate me to keep up the pace. What can you suggest?

The rules:

  1. I won’t look at the playlist before I start – I want it to be a surprise
  2. You have until 8am on Sunday to add your tunes – that’s when I’m downloading the tracks from Spotify (in case of streaming problems while running – I’ll ask someone else to do this to maintain the surprise element)
  3. I can skip if I’ve heard a tune before (henceforth known as the Rickroll Rule)
  4. If there’s a tune that doesn’t help me pick up/keep up the pace, or which I really hate (or both), I can skip past that too (the Hawkwind rule)

I also want your encouragement while I run. Tweet me/mock me @sharonodea and I’ll (hopefully) see it on my Pebble. I’ll start running at shortly after 10am on Sunday 17 March, and all being well will be over the finish line by 12.15.

Thanks! I’m still undecided about live-tweeting as I run (as I did for the Ealing Half), but I’ll let you know how it goes after the event.

12 thoughts on “My half marathon experiment

    • Thanks Ani – some great tunes there. I might start a new playlist for the next one. (I can’t believe I’m talking about a next one when I still have 13.1 miles to go)

    • Yeah, that’s the spirit!

      I am expecting a lot of Rick Astley. Which might not be such a bad thing – anything with a decent beat should do the trick. I think.

  1. My concern would be the battery life of the pebble.

    I went for a run recently while listening to spotify, everytime my arm moved the light came on (this is a “feature”) do some tests before to ensure it can last the full 3 hours.

    I only ran for 30mins so can’t be sure what effect on the battery this will have.

    • I’ve had my Pebble for about two weeks. While the battery life is nowhere near the 7+ days advertised, it does do about three days, so I’m not worried about the Pebble running flat. The phone, on the other hand…

  2. Three thoughts to help you come in under two hours:

    1) Hit the hills as hard as you can. There are only two that are troubling but if you go up them fast then (a) they’re over quicker, (b) you pass a lot of people which will make you feel better and (c) it takes, relatively, less energy to increase your stride rate and move up them faster than it does to take them with your usual stride rate more slowly

    2) Start one colour ahead of your race number colour or, at least, at the very front of the colour on your race number. It will get you ahead of some slower runners and whilst you’ll still have to dodge people in the first 2-3 miles, you will have people moving at a faster pace around you which will (if you’re like me) help you maintain a good pace

    3) The worst bit for me has always been the run up to the stadium near the end when you turn away and go out and back before turning into the stadium grounds and running round it to enter for the finish. Save your biggest, boldest music tracks for that bit.

    Good luck. Weather looks crap – rain should help you stay cool and so run faster but the wind might be ugly.

    • Thanks Alan. That was pretty much exactly my plan; I like to break free off the heavy crowd early on, then ease off a bit toward the middle before picking it up again at the end.

      I’m aiming to start around the 1.55 pacer and see how I go.

      Last time the Mile 2 hill was my personal hell. It usually takes me 4-5k to get into my stride, so the first hill comes too early on for me to have really started to enjoy it. It’s also ridiculously steep! I’ll see if I can power through it tomorrow.

      The weather looks pretty rotten, but at least the rain shouldn’t be too heavy until 1pm – all the more incentive to be done and dusted well before then, right? 🙂

  3. I’m so gutted i missed the opportunity to add dodgy 90s house, Bobby Brown’s “Two can play that game” and of course, Postman Pat. Damn. There’s always next year!

  4. Pingback: My half marathon experiment: an update | Sharon O'Dea

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