Paddock Wood Half Marathon 2012

Running easy – Smile for the camera!

My final warm up race for London and a very good day. The weather was perfect, sunny but not too warm and the start line was a 10 minute walk from my mum’s house so there was no queueing for the toilets!

As a warm up for London it wasn’t my intention to ‘race’ the half but run at marathon pace for the majority of the race and see how I felt in the last few km’s and if I could up the pace. It doesn’t sound difficult – marathon pace for a half should be manageable – but with no taper and a heavy week of training I wasn’t quite sure how it would pan out.

It was also a chance to try out my new Adidas Adizeros in a decent length race before the London Marathon in a few weeks.

So, I got up to the front for the start and the gun went. As always the first km was quick at 3:44 before settleing down into a more sustainable pace. I had intended to run at about 4:12/km – the pace that I had started the Gloucester Marathon – and one that if sustained would bring me a 2:57 marathon.

However I was feeling really good and comfortably managing the first few km’s at just over 4 mins/km. As both the pace chart and heart rate trace show I was consistent and comfortable at that pace so after 5 or so kms made a conscious decision to maintain that pace as long as it felt OK. There were quite a few people passing me during the first half of the race and it was quite an effort at times no to go with them as I was running within myself.

I chatted to a few other runners as we went round, discussing times for London with those that were doing it. My legs were beginning to suffer a little but it was the discomfort of running on tired and stiff legs rather than running at too fast a pace.

As the 19th km approached I made the decision to run the final 2 and a bit km as fast as I could and as my Garmin ticked over that point I said goodbye to guy I was running with and upped the pace.

I still had plenty left and despite the slightly sore legs ran the final 2k at around my 5k pace running past groups of other tiring runners. It felt good to blast that part of the race and is testament to the good shape I’m currently in and that the pace I was running when tapered hopefully will be sustainable for the longer distance in a couple of weeks.

The only slightly disappointing part of the day was that I finished in 1:24:01. If I had started my sprint for the line a few seconds earlier I was have had a 1:23. Oh well. I’m fairly sure that if I had run it as a race I would have been a good couple of minutes quicker.

With this showing I am thinking of changing my London pacing plan. I was originally going to pace for the 4:12/km again and looking to hold the pace better than Gloucester to run around 2:58. Given I was comfortable holding 4 – 4:05/km and was easily able to up the pace at the end I am now thinking of running at this pace and trying to get a marathon time of nearer 2:50. I’m certainly fitter than I have ever been and running well. I just hope that’s not too ambitious and I crash and burn.

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