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The 2011 carve-up

January 1, 2012
The runners' village at the end of the Royal Parks Foundation Half-marathon

The start of a new year is always a time of simultaneously looking forward and backward. So this is a summary of my 2011 and some things to look forward to in 2012.

I recovered from a foot injury at the tail end of 2010 in time start my marathon training in January. It took a while to build form, but my form returned and I got into what I considered to be PB shape.

The route I actually took, adding a few extra miles to the half-marathon

Not the course of the Waltham Forest Half-marathon. Note there are cows everywhere.

My pre-marathon build-up race went badly wrong. I was on track to finish in a PB of around 1:23, but there was a problem with the marshaling and a few of us ended up running a few extra miles as we missed one of the turns on the course.

Disappointing, but I’d run strongly. The remainder of my build-up and then taper went well until the last week before the marathon. At which point I felt a cold coming on, and despite doing everything I could to shake it off, I wasn’t at full health on marathon day.

The Virgin London Marathon itself was hot. I knocked out the first mile or two too fast and spent the rest of the race getting progressively slower. The niggles of a burgeoning cold are one thing, but never underestimate how much of a marathon is run in your head. I finished in a good-for-age time, but disappointed with how the race had gone.

There then followed several races over the summer months where I came within seconds of my PBs, but just didn’t seem to be able to break through them. I had reached a plateau and had lost some of my racing confidence.

With the Royal Parks Half-marathon on the horizon, I tried something a bit different. I normally keep a close eye on my pace in training, but instead I left my Garmin at home and opted for a simple stop watch. I ran an unmeasured circuit around Regent’s Park, then tried to cover the same distance again in the same time or less.

The runners' village at the end of the Royal Parks Foundation Half-marathon

Royal Parks Half-marathon

The half-marathon itself went well, particularly as I’d started focusing on how I felt rather than whether a split was too fast or too slow. Every few miles I’d remind myself that I was feeling good and maintain the effort. I finished in 1:21:53, knocking a good couple of minutes off my PB.

Winter came and I found a way to focus on building my base fitness. So, while at the same time the previous year I was off running through the time and effort required to move to London and a foot injury, this year I’ve clocked up to 80 miles in a week.

2012 holds two marathons – London and Edinburgh – with the Silverstone Half-marathon as a build-up race. The first quarter of the year will be focused on building distance and speed, then recovering and maintaining between the two marathons, but then I’m going to need a running project post-May.

Perhaps a winter half? Go for a 10k or 5k time to mix things up?

Having had a tough 2011, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings. It could be a great year.

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