After last years Amsterdam Marathon I set myself the goal of breaking 3hrs for 42.2km. Speaking to one of the coaches at Kent AC he suggested that I get a couple of fast half marathons under my belt before I tackle another marathon to give myself some confidence. In November last year I set the goal of achieving a good time in the Reading Half Marathon.
My training has changed a lot since I prepared for the Amsterdam Marathon last year. I'm no longer a 'single pace plodder' and a lot more structured in my sessions. I've boosted my weekly mileage, am doing specific speed sessions and deliberately running more slowly during my recovery and long runs. Running more slowly was counter intuitive at first, but it's definitely having benefits.
Encouraged by other runners in the club I'm also trying to believe more in my abilities, discover where my limits and try to unleash the potential that I have. I'm finding the mental side of the sport as limiting as my physical abilities. I get too concerned with 'hitting the wall' and hold back too much as a result.
A few weeks ago I went to a lecture where they mentioned people being 'ruled by their watches' and setting target paces before they run which actually limit their ability. In last weeks Dulwich Park run I made the concious choice not to look at my watch once during the run and managed to take 42 seconds off my Personal Best. I need to believe more.
I pushed hard, but finished strongly in the Ashford and District 10km back in February and felt more refereshed and energised than tired when I finished. Logic would suggest you should run a half marathon at a slower pace than you can run a 10km race. In the spirit of trying to remove the mental demons, I decided to try running the Reading Half Marathon at the same pace as the Ashford 10km and see what happened. Could I keep it going? Is 'hitting the wall' just an irrational fear?