Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Last Half

Many people say marathon running is all about the last half. Plenty of folks can start out strong, but it is those who "bring it home" who typically do best. Greg McMillan's ideas on the long run are all about training yourself to do just that - finish strong.

Today's run was one of those - the "fast finish" as he calls them. The others I have attempted have not been terribly successful. I have not really found it possible to lift the pace late in a long run. Holding it steady is about the best I can manage.

The goal today was 24k at 4.44m/k so I was planning to run a half marathon race (Sri Chinmoy at Burnley) with a few k warm-up to get me going. The plan was to run the half at target marathon pace (4.38m/k).

Things did not exactly to plan this morning and I got to the race venue later than expected. In fact, with only a couple of minutes to go to race start I was still trying to make final 'evacuations' in the loo. I just made it in time for the moment of silence and the official 'go' so no warm-up k's today.

The weather was not like anything we've had for a while in Melbourne. At 9pm last night it was still 29 deg's and by race time it had cooled to about 18 deg's. Couple this with some bursts of rain and it was rather more humid than we normally get. But, at least the wind had subsided!!!!

As for the race itself, I think I am happy, at least with the end result. But I totally stuffed up my pacing. I thought I was taking it easy at the start, but ran the first couple of k's way faster than target pace. And died! For the next 8k's all I tried to do was get my pace back under control so that I could at least finish. It was really that bad. I went through 10km in 46.51min with a string of 4.40+ k's.

At 10km, with everything back in control I decided to give it a bit of a go and pick up the pace. After all, it was supposed to be a 'fast finish' run and I had comprehensively managed to do the 'slow start.'

And, miraculously, I did get faster, putting together a group of 4.30+ k's for the next couple of laps. It was great to pass people again who had disappeared off into the distance earlier in the morning. I ran to 20km in 92.49min, with the second 10km in 45.58min, so a big neg split for those.

I ran strong to the finish, notwithstanding my 5 year-old daughter Brooke joining me for the last 100m and, in her words, once again "crushing me like a paper cup!"

Total time for the event was 1:37.41hrs so - bizarrely - 4 seconds under target time for the day. Hmmm, not sure how I managed that. It looks like a well executed fast finish run, but trust me, it wasn't!

Part of my cheer squad (Keira) after the race

Race Splits
1km 4.17min (4.17)
2-6km 23.33min (4.24/4.43/4.46/4.52/4.48) Full Lap 1 - 4.42m/k
7-11km 23.32min (4.48/4.42/4.43/4.48/4.31) Lap 2 - 4.42m/k
12-16km 22.51min (4.32/4.33/4.39/4.42/4.25) Lap 3 - 4.34m/k
17-21km 22.55min (4.29/4.35/4.45/4.46/4.20) Lap 4 - 4.35m/k


  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog recently! Congrats on an awesome run. They're great times!

  2. Paul, Your steadily improving fitness is very impressive. Running 4:17 per Km by mistake when you intended 4:38 must be a good sign. You just need to get the measure of your own fitness


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