Wednesday, 6 April 2016

12 Days to go!

12 Days to go!


12 days until I’m running the Boston Marathon.

When I started this blog 3 and a half years ago, I’m sure there were many doubters.  4:33 marathon pb, and you want to run under 3:35 in 2.5 years time?  Yeah right!  Good luck with that one!

I’m quite frustrated at the moment.  I really care about people’s health, and that includes mental health and self esteem.  It frustrates me when I hear ‘reasons’ for why they can’t be happy.  Or excuses for why they can’t do stuff.

I’ve set 2 major goals in running.

#1 When I lived in Sydney, working for APS growth, I set the goal to run the London Marathon before I was 25.  I was 22 at the time, I lived in Sydney, I had only done one half marathon before and I had to walk regularly from about 8 miles in.

#2 With the start of this blog, I set the goal to qualify to run the Boston Marathon before my 30th Birthday.

I’m 12 days away from ticking off both.

Here are my excuses:

  • I live in Sydney

  • I’ve just moved back to London

  • I’ve started a new job

  • Raising £2500 is too hard (that’s how much I had to raise for my charity place in the London Marathon.

  • My dad was diagnosed with cancer

  • I’ve just bought a flat

  • I’ve changed jobs

  • My boyfriend broke up with me

  • I want to be promoted (and was)

  • I’ve got a new boyfriend

  • My dad died

  • I’ve just gotten engaged

  • I’m planning a wedding

  • I’m retraining to be a PT

  • I lost my job

  • I’ve started a new job

  • We’ve just gotten married

  • I’ve started a business

Some of these were absolutely devastating, some of these were intensely joyful, and some were a bit, eh?  But despite all of them, I still hit my goals.  And you know what, I think it is predominantly down to running, and working toward these goals that I was able to cope with all these changes in my life.

So, some lessons I’ve learnt along the way:

  • Happiness is a choice

  • If you are struggling with something, seek help - 6 months after my dad died, I was struggling with believing that I shouldn’t still be crying everytime I thought of him, I found commuting to work and doing the work almost impossible, and actually ran myself into injury - its probably the rest I took that meant I hit a block, but eventually I spoke to my boss about how I wasn’t coping, and he recommended I seek counselling, which I did, and in about 3 sessions, I made huge leaps.  It actually gave me some great skills to handle stuff that’s come up since as well.

  • Do the work, like seriously, if you want to be, do or have something, do the work to get you there.  Small actions repeated daily is pretty much all it takes

  • Listen to your body - I created a pretty awful string of injuries from running too much when I was an emotional wreck - I didn’t have the strength and so parts of me broke

  • Be grateful.  Always be grateful for the blessings that you do have…

And to that end, my gratitude extends far and wide.  On this running journey, I’ve met many people along the way, but also in my non-running journey, I’ve met wonderful people too.

Too many to name them all but I will try to mention some of the really important ones!

  • Elle!  My friend from CCHS who is very kindly putting David and I up when we’re in Boston.  I am eternally grateful that we haven’t had to pay for accommodation.  It really did take the pressure off the trip.  2 months ago I was considering not going because our previous plans fell through and it would have cost too much to stay at a hotel with this short notice.

  • My Parkrun buddies - its so nice to be able to runchat every Saturday, and be met with encouragement and support :-)

  • My RW forum buddies- I’ve been absent lately, but some of these folk have given me such valuable advice over the years

  • The Running Community in and around Colchester- Like seriously, I feel like the whole of Colchester is behind me in this!

  • 4Networking - a networking group I have been part of for the last 18 months - they have provided an important support network, and again, they are so excited for me to be achieving my dreams of running in Boston

  • My Colleagues at Playgolf - Each of the Personal Trainers at YourGym has their own specialty, and they are all exceptional.  They all support me in my running, even though for many of them, running isn’t their thing!

  • My wonderful clients.  Your dedication to training and bettering yourselves despite all the things that happen in your lives (see above) inspires me each day.  Added to which, you have shared in my excitement about reaching this goal, and even understand (as many won’t) that running this event is of similar importance to me as my wedding day was - and in fact, its taken far longer to prepare for!

    My friends - you've shared the joys, you've empathised with the disappointments and you were all rooting for me last year at London marathon when I had to run the BQ.

  • My family - for putting up with my talking about running, and sponsoring me for events when I did fundraise for them, for example, my first marathon.

  • My parents - they taught me that anything could be possible for me, and I truly believe that.  Anytime I think of can’t, I also beat myself up to get out of my own way.  If anything I’m super fragile at the moment, because I so want to tell Dad about my excitement - even though he wasn’t a runner, I know he’d have taken an interest, and probably come to watch as well.  BUT, my mum is taking an interest now, and has even bought me a lucky elephant charm to wear for the race.

  • My husband!  Again, for putting up with me.  He’s gotten a bit bored of watching marathons now, but he doesn’t stop me from doing my training.  This goal tool 3.5 years of dedication, and he has let me get on with it, and not gotten in my way (except for asking me to marry him!!)

So, come on Boston.  BRING IT ON!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


So, yesterday was a key date. 16 weeks until the Boston Marathon. 
I'm not going to lie, my training has been a bit haphazard since the Norwich half.

I spent some time working on my training plan up until the great bentley half marathon in February. The plan is to work on speed together with increasing overall fitness with some time on the rowing machine. And of course plenty of strength work.

Strength work is crucial.  I feel soggy.  I've noticeably lost muscle tone- down to eating as well as haphazard training.

Today, I feel doubly soggy, and in fact sweated through my pjs in the night due to this nasty flu.  Luckily, it does seem like I've had the worst of the symptoms.  Still, it did floor me, so unfortunately, the first few days of my training plan are not going to contain ticks and smiley faces!

Hopefully 2016 will be a less soggy year, both in muscle tone, and in pyjamas! 😷

For anyone interested in what my training week was going to look like:
Monday : core
Tuesday: 6 mile easy, and strength work for legs, chest and arms
Wednesday: 20 min row in morning.  3x300m @10k pace in evening
Thursday: 6 miles steady and strength work for posterior chain and core
Friday: 12 miles easy
Saturday: parkrun 
Sunday: rest

Slightly unorthodox weekend as I'm hosting a running technique workshop on Saturday and a Marathon preparation seminar on Sunday.

Who's started their marathon training already? Hopefully you've had a better start than me...

Monday, 21 September 2015

The time is now


Today, I did it!

Today, I entered the Boston Marathon.  

Two and a Half years of work, and it all came down to filling in an online form and paying an entry fee.

Simple right?


It turns out that entries are up on last year.  There are only 5000 places left for us remaining competitors.  At the same stage last year, there were 8000 places left, and 10,000 applied for the spots.  If you were less than 62 seconds quicker than the qualifying standard you didn't make it.

I have 4 minutes 13 seconds leeway- perfect, if I had had that time last year.


Ah well. If I make it, and even if I don't, I'm in training now.  And the stretch goal I'm training toward is 3:15.... 

This far out its impossible to know how it will go, but my next goal is a London Marathon Championhsip place.  And that means a sub 90 half, or a sub 3:15 marathon...

Monday, 14 September 2015

A little update

Hello all!

I've had a very varied summer of racing, with many highs and lows.  The highs were most definitely coming First Lady in Mersea round the island half marathon, a local multi-terrain race, and coming 3rd overall in the female pairs category at Thunder run 24.  The lows were my 2 triathlons.  Gosfield lake Olympic, and the vitruvian half iron, which both reminded me exactly what it feels like to be chronically undertrained for a race.

anyway, the reason for this blog post isn't to talk about that, but to talk about the Boston Marathon.

Lots of people have been asking me when I'll know if I have a place.  The short answe is not yet, the long answer is to explain the process.

There is a multi-stage entry system, and achieving a qualification time is not a guarantee of a place in the Boston marathon.
Today at 10am EST, entries opened for those who have run a time 20 minutes or more faster than their qualifying time.
On Wednesday, if space remains, entries open for those who have run a time 10 minutes or more faster than their qualifying time.
On Friday, you get to enter if you're 5 minute or more quicker.  Registration then closes on Saturday night.
The following Monday, 21st September, all runners with a qualifying time can enter, and entry closes again on Wednesday [THIS IS MY WINDOW] 

All these windows are about getting the fastest runners in each category, so it's not 'first come, first served', but fastest come, fastest served.

Add to this that BAA must verify your qualifying marathon time for every applicant, we are told that it could be 3 weeks from application to finding out if you have a place.

Having read the FAQs I'm fairly confident.  My qualification standard was sub 3:35, and my marathon time is 3:30:47, so 4 minutes and 13 seconds leeway.   In 2014, you needed 98 seconds leeway, in 2015, you needed 62 seconds leeway.  2014 would have been very popular to show #bostonstrong following the bombings in 2013.

Nonetheless, still, wish me luck :-). And, send me a reminder next Monday!!! ;-)

Monday, 27 April 2015

London Marathon 2015 - did she get a BQ?

It was race morning and the conditions were perfect.  Overcast, grey and drizzly, nice and cool.  Too cold for standing around but not too cold for running.  My husband drove me to Deptford bridge station, and I took the dlr a couple of stops to meet Malcs and Nick at Lewisham.  From here it was a walk to the bench on Blackheath where we were planning to meet some friends from the Runner's world forums.  Unfortunately we were there a bit later than we'd said, so only Sean, Mr P and Helen remained.  We had a quick photo, and then Malcs walked me to the green start.

From being fairly relaxed on the morning, as soon as I reached the green start I stopped being relaxed. Announcements said we must put our baggage on the lorries now, or else, and as soon as I'd done that I joined an incredibly long queue for the toilets.  The green start being smaller than the others seemed the worst provisioned- I never had an issue going to the toilet on the blue or red starts in previous years.  In the queue, my friend Hannah caught up with me and we were waiting together for about 20 minutes, and getting closer to the toilet, but not close enough.  At 5 to 10 we gave up and found somewhere to go discretely.  This was awful for me... I'm terrible at peeing  when people can see me, no matter how much I want to go, and as a result, I don't think I fully emptied my bladder.

Nonetheless we walked over to pen 3 to get ready to start.  Hannah put her headphones in, we hugged each other and wished each other luck.  This experience in the start area really seemed to bother me.  I was annoyed that I had been on my feet for almost 2 hours - usually pre-marathon I sit down as much as possible and stay calm.  When we got going I was surprised that I still felt my pace was being held up by the crowds, especially when the green and blue starts merged.  It certainly warmed up with the greater volume of people.  I knew mile 3 and 4 were supposed to be a bit quicker as they are net downhill, so was looking forward to them to stretch out a bit.  Some people still seemed to brake a bit on the downhills, and then others were using them like me, so still a bit of a feeling of congestion, however, I was pretty pleased that I went through 5k in 24:12, a little quick, but if I kept it up 3:25 would be possible.

I thought once the congestion eased I would start to feel better, but around 8 miles, my left quads started to tighten.  Not quite as severe as cramp, but I had to kick up to my butt a few times and hit my thigh with my hand to ease it.  I wondered about stopping to stretch it, but thought that would start a dangerous downward spiral, so pushed through.  I eased my pace to a sensible 7:55, and tried to hold it here.  Every time the crowds were loud, this spurred me on quite a bit, and I pushed too hard at these times, only to ease off when it was quieter.  Between miles 9 and 11 I looked out for Malcs with his infamous Swiss flag but didn't spot him.  I already knew that today was not a great day for my marathon, so it disappointed me that I didn't get to see him as I could have done with the boost.

I really enjoyed going across tower bridge and shortly before half way I saw a friend, who called out my name! This was brilliant, as I really didn't think I would spot anyone on the course at all now I'd missed Malcs.  I crossed halfway in 1:43, so a couple of minutes quicker than target pace, but I thought that was just about enough time in hand to account for the inevitable slow down in the later stages of the race.  The band was playing YMCA and I joined in with the arm movements... Every time I did, the twinge in my thigh came back again, and I knew that I would have to play it safe for the rest of the race, keep a strong mind and make sure I was on top of my fuelling for the rest of the race.

Mile 15 and Sarah, David and Bernadette gave me a cheer- again a lovely surprise as I didn't know where they were going to be.  There seemed to be less support than usual around the docklands and the route change was a bit more direct, but I wasn't a fan of the uphill ramp at mile 19.  Despite the little niggele in my thigh I started to feel a bit more confident that this was going to be ok, then bang, my right calf cramped, such that it totally messed up my gait.  It was like those videos you see of people getting cramp toward the end of the marathon, and I was only on mile 19.  Time wise I was right on target with 7.2 miles to complete in an hour to get 3:30, however, I had already done 0.2 miles more than the markers at this point.  I didn't factor this into my calculations and I was sure that even if I maintained a 9 minute mile from here, I was still on target.  Herein lies the risk of trying to do these calculations during a marathon, as I was clearly wrong!

The calf didn't feel right.  I felt strong enough to push on, but each time I did my calf cramped up, sometimes for 4-5 steps and I had to consciously point my toes up to stop it so that I could keep on running.  At 21 miles I made the decision to stop and give it a proper stretch.  I didn't want to wallow for too long, but figured this would give me an opportunity to continue.  In truth it didn't last and I couldn't run much quicker than 8:30 without the calf cramping up.  I was so disappointed as I knew that I was fit enough to go a bit faster but because I haven't been doing strength work recently, my calf just couldn't handle the full marathon yesterday.

I knew I was still on target for 3:30 (and in my mind could slow to 9mm still), but the calf cramp was coming more frequently and more severe, such that I might fall over from a strong cramp.  Just after mile 24, I heard my sister call out, I was so glad that she and my husband, brother in law and new nephew had come out to watch and I waved at them but knew if I stopped, this could be it, so I just kept running.  One foot in front of the other.  When they saw me later they said I didn't look good.
I was quite surprised when the blue 3:30 pacer passed me just past Big Ben, and I tried to keep up with him.  At this stage, I had lost the fight and looking at my pace on the watch I still thought I was on for a sub 3:30.  With  400 metres to go my watch said 3:29 and I thought I was just going to make it, but as I passed under the 385 yards to go sign the time flicked over to 3:30. I was crushed!  I had just missed it.  I could have stopped right there, I was so disappointed.

When I crossed the finish line, I was a bit numb.  I had really battled during those last 7 miles and in fact no part of that race felt easy.  I had gotten my BQ, but I had not got my gold or silver goals.

It took my talking to a few friends after to see the positive in this result.  The fact that I have indeed got a Boston Qualifier, and a 9 minute marathon pb.  I know that a few things could have really made a difference on the day, and I will remember these for future goals:
- strength training- I backed off this mid feb in favour of more long runs, but I think more resistance training in the legs was more important than some midweek easy long runs
- trainers- my trainers were really due replacement, and I wonder whether the wear on them caused a bit too much work for my calves 
- on the day, I should have gotten to the start earlier and sat down- kept off my legs
- also the Friday and Saturday I spent a lot of time on my feet which I wouldn't usually in the run up to the marathon

Maybe I'll have more to add in the next few days, but for now... I DID IT!  I achieved my goal and got my Boston Qualifier.  Above, I've been quite critical of myself, but that's exactly how I got the BQ, a belief that I am in control of my results and belief that I could get better.  When I started this blog I had run 2 marathons with a pb of 4:33:57.  Now my pb is 3:30:47 and it only took 2.5 years to get here

Next stop, A half iron triathlon in August, and Of course, Boston next year!

And here are the splits, as you can see, my pace was sub 3:30 pace, I just ran a bit further than a marathon though:

Monday, 13 April 2015

Looking how far I've come

This time of year is really tough for me.  The Boat Races on Saturday were a reminder of what was an incredibly emotional week.  Highs of spending time with family we don’t see very often followed by the lows of the end of a terminal illness.

We watched the boatraces with my Aunty and Uncle who had visited from the States when my Mum was in Nigeria for the 1 year anniversary of her mother’s death.  It was that one that had to be stopped as that chap jumped in the river ahead of the racing crews.  Mum returned home on the Tuesday, and on the Wednesday night, Dad had to be taken into hospital.  I was told when I was already at work on Thursday 12th April, so rushed back home to Colchester knowing this could be the end.  April 13th 2012 was the last day I spent with my dad.  He died on April 14th.

As such, I’m having a pretty shit day!  It doesn’t help that where I’ve worked to build myself up in a completely new industry for the past year has had an unfair card dealt such that our premises will be shutting down at the end of the month, so strangely, running has not been a priority.

The emotion and stress of it all have made all my runs in the last 10 days feel awful.  I’ve had tightness in my glute which seems to be impinging my running form - amazingly that disappeared yesterday after a massage from my hubby.  I’ve been out for runs, and had to stop and walk after only a couple of miles.  Yesterday I ran 8 miles with 3 or 4 quite lengthy walking breaks.  It was quite windy and my paces were ok, but it felt awful.  One person who saw me running said I looked strong, and a customer of my gym told me she saw me looking strong out running yesterday, which further confirms that a lot of this might be in my head.

I’ve decided to write this down for its therapeutic effect.  With less than 2 weeks to go until the London Marathon, the race that is hopefully going to be the realisation of my dreams that I started this blog with, I know that I need to be in a much better head space.

When my clients are feeling low, or disappointed with themselves, I always try to help them look back to see the progress they’ve made, so I’m doing the same for myself.

So, here goes.

When I started the blog, my fastest marathon was 4:33 in Berlin in 2011 - I had an awful year of running after my Dad’s death in 2012, so my next marathon wasn’t until spring 2013 - I ran 4:18 in Halstead, just 3 minutes slower than my goal at the time.  A year later, after applying all I’d learnt by studying nutrition and to being a Personal Trainer, I ran 3:39 in Manchester.  This was a perfect race, where everything went right.  It was the first and only marathon I’ve ever run without stopping to walk at all.

Other race times - my half marathon pb has come down from 1:59 when the blog started to 1:36 a few weeks ago.  10k was 52 (although more like 56 at the start of the blog) and is now 44:06, and my 5k is now 20:52 - it was 24:01.

I’m starting to win awards in races, and was even 4th lady in the Saltmarsh 75- a 75mile ultra marathon.

Weight- my weight has never been a key focus in my training, as I’ve always viewed exercise as a way to stay healthy.  My work in the gym has always been about training to be better at a sport, whether its Rowing, as it was at university, or Running, which I took up when I started working in London, as 12 hour + working days weren’t conducive to team sport, but I wanted to stay healthy.  My personal trainer then was a marathon runner and was fab at prescribing me exercises that would aid my strength in running, which is how I got a 52 minute 10k in my first ever running race.  A PT I had more recently, however, didn’t listen to my goals and assumed weight loss was my goal when it wasn’t - this was the start of my injury problems in 2012 as I was doing way too much high impact and intensity work for the volume of mileage I needed to run for marathon preparation.

However, I know that I was about 65kg (for my height =overweight) when I started this blog and am now about 54kg (for my height a healthy weight -bmi of 21.4).  Whilst weight loss was a focus ahead of my wedding last year, its not a constant focus.  A lot of the change has come from a change in lifestyle - I no longer work a desk job, so I don’t buy a coffee and a muffin every morning followed by lunch out and a snack on the train home to get me through to dinner, and then wine.  (I still have wine!).  I’m much more mindful of what I’m eating and how it will impact on my running.

Training - in general, my training has been much better, until the last 2 months.  It was near on perfect last year as I was focussed solely on running marathons, so I ran and I strength trained for running.  Now I’ve got a half iron triathlon at the end of August, I had been trying to fit in cycling and swimming too, which on top of strength training and running pushed me into symptoms of overtraining syndrome in February, so I’ve cut right back and focussed purely on running again, which is probably why this glute issue developed as I have not been doing enough strength work.

That said, I have achieved some great things in this training campaign.  I’m most proud of my run at Tarpley 20, where I managed to run 4 miles easy/ 4 miles marathon pace, alternating, with the last 4 miles as 2 miles easy and 2 miles race to the end.  I nailed it, with my marathon pace miles being 7:50mm, and my easy miles being 8:30s.  Runs in the last two weeks would make me question whether than was actually me running!

Speedwork has gone well too, with 1ks under 4 minutes, and yasso 800s under 3:15.

Work- well, I’m not working in finance anymore - I’m in charge of my own time and started my own business as a personal trainer.  This is scary and challenging all at the same time.  Whereas I was bored out of my mind working in the City, I don’t find spending time with people, who want to improve their lives in some way, boring at all.  I get a lot out of training people, and rarely struggle to get out of bed in the morning, even at 5:30am!  When I was planning my exit from the City a couple of years ago, I wrote down in a book what I would like out of a different path and what things I wanted to do with my Personal Training and Run Coaching qualifications.  One of them was to have an online run coaching business.  I could see how the things I was learning were benefiting me, and I wanted to help others.  There’s much more to marathon running than just the training plan, and thats what this online coaching business was about.  Well, you guessed it, my dream is a reality:

So, with all this down, I feel less like crying than I did when I started writing.  The question I have to ask myself to bring some sanity, is, does it really matter if I don’t achieve my goal at London?  In all honesty, no.  The only thing I can do now to change the outcome is to change my attitude.  If I don’t buck up soon, I’m sure to fail, but if I can remember how far I’ve come, and the good lessons about fuelling appropriately and pacing, as well as making sensible adjustments in case of adverse weather conditions (Heatwave anyone) then I will have done my best, and that’s all I can do.

So, in light of this, the gold, silver and bronze targets….

When I started this training campaign, I was training toward sub 3:20, however, a few hiccups along the way mean I’m sure this is unrealistic, however, I do think 3:25 is achievable, so that’s gold.

Silver is the BQ = sub 3:35  (If its super hot, this is where I need to focus)

Bronze = a pb - so sub 3:39

The quicker you are under the BQ, the more chance you have of actually doing the race as they open up the entries to quicker qualifiers first, which is why I’m not just taking the easy (well its a marathon so never easy) option of pacing conservative for the 3:35.  I want to do my best, and that means quicker than 3:35.

Phew - so this was all about me.  It is my blog, so I’m allowed.  But what can YOU take from it?

Sometimes life is shit.  That doesn’t mean you have to be.  Trust in the training and don’t be shit.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pacing the Colchester Half Marathon

By now your training is done, you’re into the taper and possibly considering your carb-loading strategy toward the end of this week.  See post  for tips.

This post is about how to pace the Colchester half marathon.  I’ve done this race twice before, once to race it to full potential, and another running it at Marathon pace in preparation for the Greater Manchester Marathon last year where I achieved my London Good For Age Qualification.  As I live in Colchester, very close to the race start, I’m very familiar with the route and do a decent amount of my training on that route too.  

It is described as a fast undulating course:

Because of the route’s unique elevation profile, pacing is not just as simple as pick a pace and stick to it until the end, and here’s why:

Part 1: - A slight incline leaving the stadium into a left turn that takes you down the very steep Mile End Road to the North Station Roundabout.

You are full of energy; its the start of the race; GRAVITY is on your side.  Its a long downhill, and everyone around you is flying.

Use the downhill, but not too much - the danger is you run so fast and put an awful lot of impact through your quadriceps as a result of the downhill running.  Try to relax in your hips, run with the hill, but you don’t need to feel like your foot is on the accelerator here.  Perhaps allow yourself up to 30s per mile quicker than your overall target race pace here.  If you are going at your 5k pace or quicker, you are probably going too fast.

Part 2: - Short sharp uphill of North hill.

I’ve seen another blogger suggest walking this section, however, I really don’t think there is any need for that unless you overcooked it during part 1.  This hill is over before you know it.  Your pace will slow.  If you are able to see current pace, it may be 20-30s per mile slower than your average race pace.  This means you have had a 1 min/mile drop in pace.  This is quite extreme, but its over quickly.

Part 3: The High Street and East Hill

After North hill, the flat High street where people may be cheering- this might encourage you to go faster than you should but bear in mind you are still less than 4 miles into the race.  Use the High Street to take stock and settle into a realistic race pace for the remaining 10 miles.

At the end of the High Street, yet another steep descent of East Hill.  You will really feel this if you overdid it on Mile End Road.  Try to keep the same control as suggested on Mile End Road, but its not as long and not as steep so possibly 10-15s per mile quicker than goal pace.

Part 4: Ipswich Road

The Long one- A Lot of people talking about the Colchester Half Marathon will debate which hill is worse, North Hill or Ipswich Road (they seem to forget that little one in Langham).  Truth is, if you’ve been training in Colchester, you are probably quite used to inclines of the nature of Ipswich Road.  That said, its still an uphill, and it will still affect your race pace.  Its important to keep a level head in this section.  It will feel like hard work, but its sustainable.  Focus on keeping your pace constant for the length of Ipswich road.  There are quite a few sections where it levels off, and rather than pushing the pace on these, you would do better to use those short sections to recover before the next uphill.  I would recommend only a small drop in pace from your average race pace here, perhaps 10-15s per mile.

Part 5 - Severalls Lane out to Langham

The long one is done and its flat until the end.  The thing is, your legs will be tired from Ipswich road, so you may notice the very slight incline over the A12 Road Bridge as you head toward Langham.  This is where some effective self talk is going to help.  You are over half way and this 3rd quarter of the race is where you can finally settle into even pacing.  No need to account for inclines, just focus on putting one foot in front of the other and running at your average race pace.  These roads are not closed, and the country lanes, you either love their tranquility, or hate their repetitiveness.  You have to be alert here, and this is where you may start to notice you’re tired, but still have a long way to go.  All you need to do is tick off the miles.  This is where fast finish long runs during your training will help you to dig deep.

Part 6 - That little hill in Langham, around mile 10

With all the chat about North Hill and Ipswich road, I’m amazed that everyone seems to forget this little hill in Langham.  The change in incline will probably help give your leg muscles something different to do, but I have seen many people stop to walk here, and at this late stage in the race, that could make it really difficult to start and keep running again.  Added to which, there is a downhill first with lots of potholes, which can make the increased speed of downhill running on tired legs incredibly dangerous.  Take it easy, its a short downhill and a short uphill.  No point in worrying about it, as its over before you have thought about worrying.  In terms of pacing, any increase you make on the down will be evened out on the up, so I would just keep to the same effort you have been running the last 3 miles and not worry about changing pace here.

Part 7- Boxted to the end

Not long after that little hill, you are back onto Boxted Straight Road.  You know that the Stadium is just a turn off this road, however, with no more turns to take, this could feel like the longest 2 miles you’ve ever run.  Added to which, there is often a headwind running this section.

If you’ve got something left, now is the time to start pushing the pace.  If you haven’t got much left, use other runners to protect you from the wind  - drafting, so you can maintain your pace.  If you’re running with a friend, take it in turns to run in front to give the other one shelter.  If you’re running on your own (as it is a race), then find someone taller and wider than you, if you can, to get behind and get some protection from the wind.  This only works if they are going at your pace and you are quite close behind them, but it can really take away some of the effort, and allow you to recuperate for a fast finish.

Part 8- The Finish

You’ve run a half marathon!  You crossed the finish line with a sprint finish, and now you’re exhausted, with a great big temptation to just stop moving.  Problem is, someone behind you is sprinting over the line.  Keep moving with a brisk walk, get your medal and goody bag, and get out of the way.

A little note:

The Pacing guidelines I have given are based on likely finishing times of between 1hr 40 and 2hrs 10.  If you are likely to finish quicker, the deviation from average pace is going to be smaller to run your best.  If you are likely to finish slower, the deviation from average pace is likely to be more.  If you have questions about my suggestions for your own predicted race time, then just message me on facebook or twitter @IRunSuccess and I’d be happy to help.

Finally, good luck, and have a great race!