About Me

Harpenden, England, United Kingdom

Monday, April 29, 2013

On the right track

I think. Just not moving quite as fast as I was hoping.

Manchester marathon yesterday. First, a few words about the event. Pretty well organised overall, fast, flat course and the Iconiq water pouch is a genius idea (first time ever to be able to actually drink in a marathon). But if you are planning to run this race, beware that there are no mile markers (I personally didn’t mind) and the road closures are very extensive, so extra planning may be needed for getting to the start line. Race results were also a bit slow to post, but I will chalk that up to teething problems that are likely to be worked out by next year.

The story of my race is pretty simple. I felt good and in control for 16 miles, probably pushing just a bit too hard into the headwind. Then, out of the blue, I started cramping. Hamstrings first, then pretty soon my entire legs turned into a mess. Clearly, I was not fit enough to sustain my projected 2:38 pace for another hour. This is not that surprising, given that my winter and early spring training was unspectacular at best. Once in damage control mode, it was just a matter of how much I would slow down and if I would manage to block the negative thoughts of quitting or walking it in. In the end, I was pretty happy with my 2:43:17.

Lessons (re-)learned:
  • Road marathons are hard and running them faster does not make them easier; 
  • Need to do my long training runs a bit slower. I have been vaguely aware of this for a while, but by the time I checked by looking at my heart rate data, it was too late to correct it; 
  •  A two-week taper may be too short, especially while doing intense field work; 
  •  More speed sessions needed (I know I keep saying this…)


  1. Awesome time Gancho! Good tips about the training also - agreed about the slower long runs and 2 week taper. After London, i can say that I tapered for 2 weeks, 6 days pretty much (mostly due to lifestyle circumstances) but it worked!

    1. Thanks Shelley! I look forward to reading your race report for London. How in the world did you manage to pace yourself so well?

  2. That is a fantastic time, Gancho! Really.

    1. Thanks Phil! As I have written here before, this is all your fault. I am happy with the 4.5-min. improvement, no question about that. But there is still a lot to figure out before I can run a truly satisfying marathon.