Learning From Experience: Drawing Lessons From a Marathon Experience
So, all those miles in training, all that mental preparation and it's over....just like that.
What a race the 2016 London Marathon was! I cannot believe the level of performance at the very top end of the field. Kipchoge's performance, running the record so close despite running the last 5 or 6 miles into a north westerly wind, was something truly special, and to see a 23 year old Brit (Calum Hawkins) defeat world record holder Dennis Kimetto was inspiring.
I finished in 2.25.04 to squeeze into the top 50 (incl. elites). I am pleased with this, however I was hoping for a little more.
Here's a few things I would take from the experience.
1. Sometimes you have to put it on the line.
I was really pleased I went for it. I wanted to go through the first half in around 69mins to give myself the best possible chance of running 2.18-19. I blew up and ran the second half in 76. I wanted to give it a shot and I'm glad I tested my boundaries so that I know how far I can push myself next time and where I need to physically improve
2. Experience counts for a lot...so a few more hard road races would have been helpful.
I ran the first 14miles in a pack with a bunch of experienced guys including Steve Way, Tom Payne and Kojo Kyreme. Although I thought I was aerobically matching these guys I dropped off when the going got tough and struggled on my own into the wind.
I haven't run a lot of Half Marathons over the last few years as I have been concentrating on other things. I think I would benefit from running them on a more regular basis. The practice of racing in packs on the tarmac would have been valuable.
3. Mileage is important but specific pace practise is vital.
Although specific long runs and Marathon pace sessions are a key element in the coaching plans I write for others I failed to properly nail this myself this time around (what's the old saying about Dentist's kids?). I came into a lot of the key sessions too tired to really attack them and struggled to complete them. In retrospect my mileage was perhaps a little high to give these sessions the respect they deserved (particularly those I did with the guys down at Battersea on a Thursday). I will be slightly reducing the miles and hitting mid- long runs in and around Marathon pace with greater regularity in the build up to Amsterdam.
All in all though I had an incredible day. Thanks to all those who cheered on the way round- it really is inspiring to hear the shouts!