Hi Michael, like you I was targeting under 4 hours, after finishing dead on 4 three years ago; Sunday became a struggle after 20 miles and I'm sure a lot of people will testify that their strategy went out of the window, possibly due to the radical change in temperatures we have been training in.
The disappointment doesn't stick with you for too long, just serves to drive you on again and you will get that time.
I'm slightly the other way on as I ended up run/walking between 20 and 23, but managed to finish in 3:57 - still think I could do better though, so the fact that you spent those 20mins away still means that you are not a quitter and better than you might be feeling right now.
Done two lots of eight miles this week, one on tuesday, one just got back from. Between six and eight on tuesday I thought I would collapse (it was a bit warm mind) and I've been running these for the past three months and running every tuesday, thursday, sunday for 3-4 years! Didn't feel great as I'd targeted this weekend to move up from 14 to 16 miles and was thinking better of it.
Went out today to go real slow, felt ten times better and actually only ran about 6 seconds slower - I can't work it out. Also, I'm the complete opposite the first 100 metres all feel the same, at about the first mile I can tell how it's going to be....but not tuesday as I felt great.
Still might do that Sunday 16 now but having a barbecue on saturday!
Thanks you two, might challenge myself to 16 miles this weekend, see how I go. You're spot on about the drinks bottle, thirst quench at eight miles is a must and it's at the exact point between a long slope uphill and a sharp uphill incline (on my present run) but I've been told that the first half of the Nottingham Marathon can be quite hilly too so trying to build in for that.