A PW at PW

So in 48 hours time I’ll be somewhere in the first couple of miles of the Brighton Marathon. All the training is done, I did an easy 3k in the early morning sunshine this morning, and came home to find the ‘it’s going to be hot’ email from the race organisers in my inbox. Not that it came as a surprise, like many others I’ve been checking the weather forecast for the last two weeks, so while I’m not happy about the temperature it is what it is and I’ll have to deal with it. It’s actually going to be very similar conditions to when I raced Brighton in 2015, when my attempt at running around 4 hours was derailed by the warm weather on race day. I was OK for the first half, but I started to struggle from then on, the long straight out and back in Hove was mentally tough, and I was pretty much broken by the time we reached the infamous Shoreham power station loop, and it was run/walk (well, mainly walk) from there on in.

Waving at Sooty (yes, really!) Photo from @tomsprints

After my 22 mile long run a fortnight ago my legs were pretty sore, but after a couple of easy runs in the week I felt good and decided to stretch my legs at Maidstone Parkrun, as I felt like I’d been doing a lot of slow paced running recently. I managed to get a reasonable spot near the front at the start (but not too near) and got into an early rhythm, and came home in 23:12, which was around what I was hoping for. The following day was the Paddock Wood half-marathon. I didn’t want to race it, and just use it as a last slow distance run instead. I entered it as it was designated as one of the Harriers Club Championship races for 2017, so I knew there’d be a lot of us there, and it’s always good to have some company like that at races.

In 1997 I set what is still my personal best time of 1hr 26 minutes at Paddock Wood, and 20 years later I found myself setting off with the intention of setting a personal worst! I just wanted a nice easy run in the spring sunshine around the flat Kentish countryside, and that’s exactly what I got coming home in 2hrs 7 minutes. I took the first 10 miles easy and just upped the pace a little for the last 3 miles to see how it felt. My legs were a little sore afterwards, but a good session on the foam roller and a walk in the afternoon soon sorted that out.

What’s the plan for Sunday then? I’ve gone with three targets – gold, silver and bronze. Bronze is to run all the way round, with no walking, which should bring me in around 4:25 to 4:30 I would think. Anything inside 4:25 would be a silver, and if I can get inside 4:20 that would definitely be worthy of a gold! If the weather forecast had been a few degrees cooler I’d had probably knocked 5 minutes off those times, but I have to be pragmatic/realistic and set off slowly, and then just see how things develop, but I’m feeling confident and really looking forward to the race, and especially the post race beer(s)! Apparently there’s a special marathon beer available in the race village at the finish, so that will be a fine incentive for me if I’m feeling the heat towards the end.

I’ll be back with a race report next week, and good luck to anyone who is also running Brighton, or any other marathon this weekend.

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