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Paul Hayward eases back into running

by Paul Hayward
Monday 8th August 2016
I am not sure when it happened, but I fell out of love with running sometime last year and this “hangover” has taken a long time to go. I used to love interval training with my local running club or a parkrun on a Saturday morning. However after the Ironman (here) I felt jaded and the run was always the “last” part of training that always seemed a bore. I have still been keen to get up and race an Obstacle Course Race or two, but I will be honest after the Reading Half (here) - my enthusiasm just cycled off into the hills.
There has always been a dream though, to run the TCS New York City marathon. I would be lying if I said this is my sole dream - it was a shared dream with my wife to be. We wanted to run the race together and finish side by side. Not for time, not for qualification but for the love of a city and for us. She sold me the dream early on into our relationship and I have loved the idea ever since.  
What I hadn’t accounted for was actually 1) getting in and 2) facing this dream without her due to injury. Sadly she has been unable to run for over a year now (although she may well finally be turning the corner) and when I applied (with her), we did not ever think we would get in. Ironically 8 March 2016, whilst enjoying several glasses of red at Tobias Mews’ book launch (see our review here) including this very race, I had an email saying “Congratulations, you’ve been selected to run the 2016 TCS New York Marathon” and it appears the dream was on, albeit in intensive care and with £250 missing out of my bank account. 
I had reservations about running New York without her, as it still breaks my heart now that she missed out in her dream despite being so close and achieving so much, and it does not feel a 100% right. However, with her blessing, I would be lying if I was not getting pangs of excitement about a race described as “the biggest marathon in the world”1. The more and more I spoke about it to my old running network, the more excitable they and I became. After 4 years of being rejected by London, I felt something new, something exciting. I found I had a reason to run again, I wanted to run again, albeit it would be for my recovery back into running. 
The dream of us crossing the line together was momentarily on hold but is not forgotten. With any real luck, she will get back into London this year and I will cry more than I ever have when she makes the line. 
So the question was where to start? I think my Ironman training plan had taught me to run long distances, but not at pace and without any real enjoyment. I had tried to be quick at Reading half in March this year (and failed) so it had to be back to basics. In need of some help and some guidance, I turned to my favourite pacer, running coach and all round good chap - Nigel Pattison (@trainingthame) (here). 
Nigel kindly agreed to help me and devised a training plan with an emphasis on “clever running” through structured interval training and focused runs. Cleverly I read the plan incorrectly and proceeded to do the whole three weeks’ interval plan in one 6 mile run. I was nearly sick, I struggled throughout and I honestly thought it he was trying to kill me. But after being told I was meant to split it up, I was pretty relieved and had been good to feel pushed and my heart was beating once again. 


4 weeks on and I am in the fifth week of the six week “start plan”, I have dropped 6 minutes already off my 10 mile training run and I am feeling a little fitter. The theme of being killed is still continuing and I swear I have looked worse after each run I have done. This week marks a 12 mile run (I have not ran over 10 miles all year apart from Ironman Mallorca 70.3 (here)), and I am strangely excited by this prospect. 
Scarily there is a 14 mile run on the horizon, but for now I am pleased to have my mojo back and an aim in sight. 
More information on the TCS New York marathon can be found here: www.tcsnycmarathon.org/ 

About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 

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