Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Half-marathon time trial

I haven't blogged since last Wednesday... after that I did a 4 miler on Friday to stop my legs from freezing up, and then a 2 hour run on Saturday which must have been 14 miles or so. That was the first time I've run that far before breakfast! Yesterday I ran a couple of miles in a few spare moments, keeping my legs fresh for today...

I had planned on running a half marathon (13.1 miles) this week to help me work out what kind of pace to aim for in the full marathon (most runners using the Internet will have come across the McMillan running calculator). I've not run an exact half marathon before. I was just running against myself and the clock, but tried to put myself under some mental pressure - as if it were a real race. I ran 3 miles up the A6, and then back down, then around my 5.0 mile circuit, then the 2.1 miles down to the next village and back.

At the outset my goal was to break 1:40, and I thought that 1:36 would be about the best I could realistically manage. In the event, I just about did that, finishing in 1:36:40. The last 10 miles were done in 73:45, slightly faster than my best 10 mile run of 74:11 from 17 days ago.

It felt very good. I was definitely feeling the pain; I don't know if I could have done it much faster - maybe in a real race a little boost of adreneline would have shaved another half minute off, or an earlier start (I ran at 4 p.m.). The conditions though were very good - not humid at all, a bit damp but not raining. My legs testified that this wasn't a pace they could have really kept up for any longer, so I think it was a fair trial. If I trained for a marathon again (I have no plans to), I think I would get a heart rate monitor so that I could get a more objective evaluation on how hard I'd pushed myself.

Based on this time, I think it is realistic to aim to go under 3:30 in the marathon, if all goes well. There are just 4 weeks and 6 days to go!

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