As I took on so much good advice from you during training, I thought I should let you know how I got on at VLM. Well, I didn't hit my gold target (sub 4), but thanks to you, I had a silver target and did meet that. I finished in 4 hours 9 mins 42 - within my 4 hours 15 silver target. To be honest, it was much harder than I had expected. The first 19 miles went according to plan, and I averaged 9 mins/mile. But after that, my legs got heavier and heavier, and it took all my determination to keep running (I would have been too ashamed to walk in front of all of those people!).
It was an amazing experience. So many supporters cheering us on. It was much hotter than the weather I had been training in, which was draining. Also, I did not realise how crowded the course would be for almost all of the way. I would be running at the pace I wanted, and then come up against a wall of runners going just a bit slower, with no gaps to squeeze through. So I ended up hanging back until a space opened up, and then taking the chance to move through. This definitely slowed me down, and it took much more effort to slow down and speed up than it would have done to keep a steady pace. I kept with the Runners World Pacers to about 13 miles, but after than lost them in the crowds. Enough excuses!
Straight after I finished, I said to myself "Never again". But people say that running marathons is a bit like giving birth - you soon forget the pain. That's happened already. (I have 3 kids, so maybe that's not surprising...) I have found myself googling to find a flat autumn marathon in the south east. Do you have any recommendations? I live near Dorking, but the marathon from here (Bacchus, organised by our local running shop, Run to Live) is really hilly. Does anyone know anything about Bournemouth? I've seen online moaning about the entry price but not much else.
Good luck to everyone on this thread with all your future running exploits. You've been a great help!
Ady - congratulations. Like so many others I have watched your progress with interest and more than a little awe. Your race splits above are amazing - what a machine. When you said you hit a wall in mile 25 and were struggling, I had to do a double-take; you still did that mile in only around 40 seconds slower than the average.
Thanks for all your posts, and all the encouragement that they have given to me (and many others) as I struggle for the motivation to stick to my schedule. I won't achieve anything like you have done, but if I come near 4 hours in VLM I will be over the moon!
Ady, thanks for your advice a while back about setting a Gold, Silver and Bronze target - I really like that idea. My Gold is definitely to complete London marathon in under 4 hours; Silver is probably 4:15, and Bronze is just to get round. Can I get the advice of this forum about my next few weeks.
My LSRs over the last few weeks have been:
8 Feb - 18 miles - avg 9:06 m/m
15 Feb - 16 miles - avg 8:39 m/m
22 Feb - 18 miles - avg 8:52 m/m
3 Mar - 20 miles (Spitfire) avg 8:51 m/m
8 Mar - 9.5 miles (pouring with rain) - avg 9:10 m/m (hilly)
15 Mar - 20 miles - avg 9:00 m/m
I can do a LSR this Friday (22nd), then am off skiing for a week. When I get back, there will be 3 weeks to the marathon, so I won't be doing any more long runs - following the advice on the forum.
So the question is; should I try to do another 20 miles this Friday, or something different?
I have been watching your distances and times get longer and faster, and can see that your focused training schedule has really paid dividends. Best of luck with Paris; I'm sure that you wll hit your target.
Congratulations on completing 20 miles - a massively long way, whatever pace you do it at!
One piece of advice that I got from an experienced marathoner was; when you get to the race venue, join the queue for the loo. When you have been, rejoin the back of the queue, shuffle to the front and go again. Keep circling in the loo queue until the race starts.
I tried that on my 20 mile Spitfire and it worked for me!