Training for my third Tralee International Marathon is going well. I went out for a 5k training run during my lunch break last Wednesday, and, to my surprise, ran my fastest ever 5k! This happened without me even realising it – my new years resolution of not checking my pace while running, but instead running at the fastest pace that is comfortable seems to be paying off.
On Saturday, I decided to run a training half marathon, as I was still unsure what pace to run the marathon at – I feel I have a marathon PB in me, but I’ve come unstuck (several times!) in the the past by going out too quick to chase a PB, and then dying long before the finish!
I decided to try the old formula of Half Marathon time x2 plus 10 minutes to decide what pace to aim for in the marathon, and to run a training half on a hilly course to get a base time.
So off I went early on Saturday morning on my usual Tralee-Caherleheen-Ashill course. This course has lots of challenging hilly sections, and a mixture of road types similar to what you encounter on the Tralee Marathon, so is excellent for training – it’s also nice and near to home for me.
I ran the course fairly hard (for me!), but not exactly flat-out – I wanted to get a realistic time, but not kill myself, or risk getting injured. I found it fairly tough, but not as bad as I expected – I was mildly uncomfortable on some of the hilly sections, but I never got to the point where I wanted to puke, die, or walk. My aim was to do it in an average pace of around 9:55 min/miles, which would give me a half-marathon PB. My PB is based on training runs – I’ve never actually run a competitive half-marathon – it’s the only distance between 5k and 100k that I haven’t run a race in.
I was pleasantly surprised to finish it in 2:09:34 – a decent enough PB for me, at an average pace of 9:53 min/miles. Even better, I did a negative split – running the second half 4 minutes faster than the first half.
Based on the Half marathon time x2 plus 10 minutes formula, this gives me a marathon target of 4:30 or thereabouts. This would be a considerable PB – my previous marathon PB is 4:53 (yeah, I know, I’m slow), and that was on the much flatter Dublin course. If I stay uninjured and fit for the next four weeks, this will be my first time in 3 attempts running Tralee in good shape – last year I ran it with a dislocated hip bone – something I wouldn’t recommend.
Well, no guts, no glory – I will aim for a PB in Tralee – if I fail, it won’t be the first time I went down in flames, but I’d rather burn out than fade away!