Archive for April, 2015

WMM trophyYep it is. Sorry about that.

Last year I had a very sporadic build up to London, not many miles and almost no long runs (one). On the day I ran out of my skin. Felt like I was running on a cloud for 2:43. This year I had a text book build-up, lots of good miles, lots of long runs, and I had a very mediocre day out for…  2:43.

What conclusions can be drawn from this? Clearly training is a waste of time. But let’s move on.


One thing seems obvious – going in with fresh legs is very important. I don’t mean final week tapering. Taper Schmaper ™. I mean building light weeks into the final 8 to 10 weeks of training. Seems obvious, but I’ve never paid any attention to it before.

Two miles into this year’s race I was feeling flat and heavy legged. Whilst my legs were strong, they weren’t feeling

light and full of running. My fitness was good though, and allowed me to tick off the kays in metronomic fashion in a newly formed window of safety between 3:48 and 3:56 per km. Nothing faster than that was possible it see

Ezekial Kemboi warmup routine

Ezekial Kemboi warmup

med, with a few exceptions here and there. I had hoped and expected for low 3:40’s but couldn’t get there. I knew early on that a 2:30something goal was out, and shortly after that that 2:40 was out as well. The added seconds each kay were accumulating and had become a couple of minutes by 15k. At 20k my split was 77:37, a number which the night before Dan and I had discussed as a possible halfway target. Now here I was a full kilometre behind schedule. Nothing for it but to keep on keeping on.

Halfway in 81:51. I wasn’t disappointed. The writing had been on the wall from a few miles in and the disappointing realisation of the day I was on had settled back then and mostly dissipated by now. So 81:51 was just what it was. I had verbalised my 2:45 adjusted target to someone who recognised the vest and asked me what I was aiming for. Each 5k timing mate was ticking over in 19:15-19:30 when what I had hoped for pre-race was 18:45. I imagined what my mates following the splits would be thinking. “Why doesn’t he get onto pace?” “Is he saving it for a big second half” “if he is really struggling surely he’d be slower”. Stuff like that.

why doesn't he get on pace?

why doesn’t he get on pace?

As it was I just clicking even paced miles off, one after the other, trying to coax my legs through with minimal damage. I settled in as part of a trio of guys who were visibly strong enough to keep the pace honest without any of us needing to shoulder all pacing the work. We took turns at the front and it worked pretty well. At about 20 miles I said to them, we’ve worked well up to this point guys. Let’s keep it going and bag the sub2:45. I had realised from their race numbers they were both Fast-Good-for-age entries which meant they hadn’t run under 2:45 before (or they’d have been in the championship start with different numbers etc.) so this was unchartered territory. We banked a few more miles in the zone, and as we drew into the final few miles I started picking it up, conscious that I really didn’t want to mess up the pacing now and not get inside 2:45. One of them came with me and one dropped off.

The final stretch is always tough and always memorable. Running alongside the Thames, and over the 40k timing mat. The end is almost in sight and the crowds who had been bonkers all race anyway, seem even louder. A wall of noise. Right hander past Big Ben, then Birdcage Walk, Buckingham Palace and the mall. What a location to finish. Like Tower Bridge, the novelty of running in these locations never wears off.mid race?

I turned into the home straight and saw the clock on 2:43. Phew the 2:45 was safe. It was only a good while after I’d crossed the line that I realised I had just missed a PB. How on earth I never thought of that during the race escapes me. I can only think my focus was so much on the 2:40 pace that once the splits were outside that I hadn’t considered any middle ground.

Some post-race thoughts. Disappointing not to achieve what I’d hoped. But these things can seldom be planned with any degree of confidence.

refuelingPositives I take are that I now know I can run 2:43 when I’m not having a particularly good day, and that’s reassuring. I also learnt a bit more about what I need to do in the weeks leading into the race. This is never an exact science but small building blocks of knowledge gained from each outing.

Last year it took an outstanding day for me to run 2:43. This year it took a very average day to run 2:43. Surely that’s progress of a sort.

Some shout outs to friends. Martin – you absolutely smashed it buddy. Your marathon class is unrivalled. Breaking 2:30 (again, after 6 years) is amazing. Dan – thanks for the pacing, sorry I couldn’t make better (or any) use of it. Next time it’ll be different (that’s never been said before). Nick – well done on the championship qualifier, so pleased for you. Kevin – 2:48 – brilliant. Well deserved. Long run training partner Ed – 2:52. Great PB and more to come I have no doubt. To Cath and Anna supporting us like stars around the course, thanks guys. To the Hajj in SA (and Cambridge) – we have a special group, lets never take it for granted.

Onwards to bigger (and longer) things.

5 weeks to Comrades. Watch this space.


Official results here

first half 81:51, second half 81:54

Kilometre splits

Projected finish
1 00:03:55 02:45:17
2 00:03:49 02:43:10
3 00:03:50 02:42:42
4 00:03:51 02:42:39
5 00:03:45 02:41:46
6 00:03:46 02:41:18
7 00:03:49 02:41:16
8 00:03:56 02:41:51
9 00:03:54 02:42:09
10 00:03:56 02:42:32
11 00:03:55 02:42:47
12 00:03:56 02:43:03
13 00:03:52 02:43:04
14 00:03:53 02:43:07
15 00:03:57 02:43:22
16 00:03:54 02:43:26
17 00:03:54 02:43:30
18 00:03:52 02:43:29
19 00:03:53 02:43:30
20 00:03:59 02:43:44
21 00:03:59 02:43:57
22 00:03:52 02:43:55
23 00:03:54 02:43:56
24 00:03:49 02:43:49
25 00:03:59 02:43:59
26 00:03:54 02:44:01
27 00:03:47 02:43:51
28 00:04:01 02:44:03
29 00:03:49 02:43:57
30 00:03:59 02:44:05
31 00:03:46 02:43:55
32 00:03:42 02:43:41
33 00:03:58 02:43:47
34 00:03:54 02:43:49
35 00:03:52 02:43:48
36 00:03:49 02:43:43
37 00:03:54 02:43:45
38 00:03:59 02:43:51
39 00:03:45 02:43:43
40 00:03:57 02:43:47
41 00:03:59 02:43:54
42 00:03:44 02:43:45
42.2 00:00:47 02:43:45
Total 2:43:45
Ave/km 0:03:53
Ave/mi 0:06:15

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