Hi Bud, could you recommend a great half marathon for the autumn. My coach has said that he will only allow me to run the Pisa marathon in December if I achieve a PB in late September or October, so I need a good race to get the time. My coach is a bit mean-spirited like that... Hope you're well.
My wife ran a race and was 10 seconds outside the qualifying time, so she didn't get in./ However I would say that there is a chance that the scruitineer that looks at your application might rubber stamp it, so send it in. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...
I'm looking for a marathon late this year (2012) - my choices at the moment seem to be Lisbon, Malaga, Castellon or Pisa. From what I can tell, Pisa looks to be the favourite and I was wondering if anyone has done this race and can give me any info - especially about the profile of the course and the route. Ideally I'm looking for a race that would allow me to run a quick race, provided the weather is OK (I know that last year the weather was attrocious and the race was cancelled!)
I'm going to risk being a bit negative to start with and tell you that sub-3 hours for a debut marathon is going some. It took me quite a few attempts to get there myself. I also think that looking at the runs you have done, you are definitely in good shape, but it is impossible to describe the battering that your body gets during a marathon, which is why people try to fit in as many long runs as possible so that the body knows what it is going to have to deal with. On that basis I would say that you have set yourself quite a challenge.
I am inclined to be positive when it comes to running and I would say that it looks as though you are in great shape. If you feel good and everything comes together on the day then sub-3 is achievable. Just make sure you have all the boxes ticked - take your own breakfast to Berlin and check that you can make and eat that on race day morning. Make sure your shoes are worn-in but not broken. Wear your most comfortable kit. Lubricate (seriously!) Hydrate well in the days before the race but don't over-hydrate on the morning of the race... and so on.
Then start conservatively. If you go through half way in 1:32 and you are feeling good then there is no reason at all why you can't run the second half in 1:27 and come home with a very, very impressive 2:59. Be confident, enjoy the day and (I've said this before) start out conservatively. I broke the 3-hour barrier for the first time in Berlin and it is a great course which has PB potential. If you have time check my site out at www.simonfreeman.co.uk and let me know how you get on.
Going back to mid-race fueling and gels, I have been thinking about race-day nutrition quite a bit recently because I want to make sure that I give myself every opportunity to nail the target time I want in my next marathon in February next year. I had a hard time in London this year, missing my target time by quite a bit. However I think that was more to do with the heat than anything which I found difficult to deal with and which also had an effect on my race nutrition - basically I got really dehydrated and couldn't swallow the gels I usually use (I've written a bit about the gels I use here: http://simonfreeman.co.uk/2011/09/fuel-on-the-run-sis-go-gel/)
So for my next race I am hoping for better conditions but I also think that I am going to need to practice taking gels where there are water stations rather than stubbornly sticking to the schedule that I set myself in advance.
I'm also interested in how people carry their fuel. I start from the championship start at London and I never seem to see anyone carrying gels in a belt or anything in that start pen. What do they do with them? Any thoughts on how to carry gels will be gratefully received!