I'm glad you started this thread as I am targeting my first full marathon next Spring - which will be Brighton!
I'm currently off running due to a niggle I had in my hip flexor / groin area which turned more severe and forced me to hang up my trainers for a while which leads me to my best advice tip I can offer - strengthen and stretch your glutes, then strengthen and strecth them some more!
I think they are such a neglected muscle group amongst runners despite it being the most powerful muscle group in the body. I really wish someone had told me when I started running the importance of glutes in preventing injury. They help keep everything level and in balance, from your hips down to your feet. In my case they're incredibly weak and lazy - my physio was actually quite impressed with how lazy they were. When they're not active they are quite happy for all other muscles to take up the slack - which leads to niggles which then leads to injury.
So definitely invest in a good overall strength & conditioning programme - you'll be putting your body under so much stress when training, give it a helping hand by getting stronger.
Cougie - my training for Amsterdam was very inconsistent and I was not as well prepared as I was for Reading. I missed about a month and then I did the classic cramming it at the last minute. My longest runs were 10, 12 and 15 miles. I run twice a week with a running club, speed sessions on Tuesdays and an out run ranging between 6-9 miles on a Thursday but again I had missed a few. I was very surprised at how painful the last 6k were, and I cannot decide whether it was down to lack of endurance or lack of practicing at race pace, or probably both! Reading was my first HM back in April and it was much more comfortable!
Johnas thank you for the links, really good articles. I do speed work with the club on Tuesdays, ranges from 200m efforts up to 1m efforts and sometimes fartleks. I don't think I do enough tempo running. I always thought that should be HM pace, if I want to run 1hr50 it would work out at 08:24 per mile. My tempo runs should be quicker?! But as you say build up gradually!
Ironcat - I live in High Wycombe so not far from Wokingham or Reading - I have actually entered both races next year! Wokingham is very popular with our club, and Reading because I loved it this year! Thank you for the advice on Wokingham, I hadn't factored in the weather. I guess with it also being in Febuary, the great British weather may have something special in store! I assume you have run Wokingham then?
I didn't meet my 1hr55 target - finished in 01:56:36. I was dissapointed but at the same time pleased that I set a pb on the back of not the best training. The last 6k was utterly painful, my thighs were on fire and I slowed right down. My 5k splits at 15 and 20k were abysmal
On a positive note I now have a time to work with as I have entered Wokingham on Feb 10 and I really want to set a good time - I have read it's a good course for PBs but not the most scenic! So just under 4 months of training I could do and my aim would be to get to as close as 1hr50 as possible.
I'd be interested to hear what people think are the best / key workout sessions for improving HM times?