Paul Walters runs the London Marathon

Report from Sunday 12th February 2006

Another PB

I ran the Wokingham Half today, with a running friend who paced me around the course.

Evidently to be on a 3 hour 15 minute marathon schedule, you should be able to run a half marathon in 90 minutes, so this was the secondary target of the day, the primary target being to beat my previous personal best of 1 hour 34 minutes and 9 seconds. I tapered down to this race, running a short training session last Thursday, and not running at all on Friday and Saturday. My running performances of late have been rather eratic, so I was wanting to give it my best shot at Wokingham.

We set off from the gun at 10AM, although I was not wearing a watch - I left my friend to watch the time as he was pacing me, and I had little idea of how we were running until the end. The start was a little congested, but after the first mile we were running freely. After a few miles I thought that I was feeling tired in my legs slightly and thought I was breathing more heavily than others around me, but I didn't want pass my concern onto my running colleague - I thought that we'd come here to do the run, so I might as well give it my best shot. This was probably my worst time during the race.

I followed behind and found that I could run without too much difficulty mile after mile. At about 6 miles I went in front, and was given a warning that there were 8 miles to go! We passed through the 6 mile mark, and I knew that we had done approximately 10Km distance, and I felt okay, so that gave me confidence. We passed drinks stations 3 times, but I only picked up water at the second, as it disrupts my rhythm.

I was expecting to slow up badly after 10 miles, but on the day we went through the 10 mile mark running over a motorway bridge, and I was informed that I'd completed the 10 miles in a new personal best of 1 hour 5 minutes, with over three miles to go. I felt okay though, and the fatigue that I expected did not appear.

At the ten or eleven mile mark, I started feeling a small problem in my left upper hamstring, but I wanted to get the job done, so thought I'd carry on and ignore it. This problem did not effect my running performance at all.

At the 12 mile marker, my pacer left me to run my own race for the last mile. There was a guy who had been tracking us for the last 3 miles or so, and he and I set off for the finish together. I gradually picked up my pace through the mile. With a fifth of a mile to go, I started my run in, up a slight incline, and went ahead - that's the last I saw of him until after the finish.

I turned the corner and saw the final straight, and looked at the clock - I couldn't believe what I saw - we were in the 86th minute! My finishing time was approximately 1 hour 25 minutes 20 seconds.

Evidently we ran the two halves of the race in approximately equal time, and my fastest mile was my last one (in under 6 minutes I think).

We had a welcome cup of tea, before we got some warmer clothes on and set off walking back to the car which was in a car park in Wokingham.

I have been feeling this problem in my left upper hamstring for the rest of the day, but I suspect that the damage is minor, and I'm really hoping to be back in training by the end of the week if not before.

Having finished in 85 minutes, I hope that I might be able to have a crack at 3 hours 15 minutes on the big day, but that depends on whether I can put in the appropriate distance training from now on, without picking up an injury. Time will tell. I suspect that I might try to run the marathon 7 minute 20 second each mile, to give me a little cushion for slowing up at the end - to run a 3 hour 15 minute marathon evenly you have to run it in just under 7 minute 30 second miling I believe.

My fellow running colleague has given me the confidence to be able to run this race at a speed I wouldn't have dreamed of, taken the time to drive me to this event and throw his own race to pace me around this course, and has illustrated to me that I am on a schedule to obtain my target time in the marathon. I am indebted to him, and very appreciative of what he has done for me.

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