Monday, 18 April 2011

Down but not out!

Although I find this very hard to say, for those that don't know my result in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon it was 2.28.... obviously not what I wanted!!

So now is the time to look at the reasons why....

First let me tell you how the race unfolded. My plan was to go through half way in between 67.30 and 68mins giving myself a good chance if all went well to go sub 2.16 and achieve the World Championship team qualifying time. The first 4 or 5 miles were fine and I was spot on pace but after 7 or 8 miles my legs started to fatigue, by 10 miles they were very tired and I knew it was going to be a very long day at the office!! I hit halfway in 70.22 and pretty much jogged the second half in 78minutes, this did give me the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the London Marathon although I got a killer stitch in the last two miles loosing me another couple of mins.

I think there are a few reasons behind this result. The first few are quite minor but all had an effect on the day:

  1. The stitch I got in the last two miles probably lost me about two minutes, as this was after running for 2.15 when I should have finished I'm not too worried about this.
  2. I have had a niggiling abdominal injury ever since I have been out in Kenya which definitely hampered my running in the second half, hopefully I can get this sorted quickly and it won't be an issue in future races.
  3. This is the big one and I'm 99% sure is the reason for the result yesterday. Iten is at 8000ft altitude and pretty much all the running is up and down hills, this makes it very hard to run even at marathon pace. During the last three months the longest I have run at marathon pace is 5km (roughly 16 minutes). Looking back on things if my legs have only run for 16minutes at marathon pace there was no way I was going to be able to run at that pace for 2 hours and 15 minutes!!
So what next? The top British finisher in yesterdays London Marathon was Lee Merrien, I know lee quite well so have seen him train and roughly know what he does. If I look at his training, he spent roughly 4 weeks in Iten, came back to the UK for a good length of time then back to Iten for another 4 week period, so he got the benefit of the altitude but also had the opportunity to do the fast running when he was back in the UK. As I have said many times before this is an experiment and I'm learning all the time, I will be going back out to Iten but next time I will go for blocks of between 4 and 6 weeks with the same amount of time spent at sea level so I can get the speed work done.

I've still got to work out my plans for the rest of the year but the rough plans is to get my half marathon time down to something respectable and then go for a fast marathon in the Autumn.

One last thing I would like to add is a massive thanks to all the support I got before, during and after the race it was truly overwhelming :-)


  1. Sorry things didn't go well for you Tom. Saw you on the coverage at the start line and followed you online. Your plan for the rest of the year seems like a good way to go. I'm a massive admirer of your attitude - you are living the dream, good luck!

  2. Tom, I am sorry things didn't go to plan. Your race sounds a lot like mine, with different times in there. I went through half way in 78 minutes hoping for 2:37 if all went well and really struggled from 18 miles finishing in 2:43. A hard day at the office. Still I'm hopeful that with a summer of track and shorter stuff I'll be nailing my PB come spring 2012. Great blog for info and inspiration - keep it up!


  3. Hi Tom, really sorry to see and hear that London 11 wasn't your race. There will be other days, and with new goals there is still plenty to go for. We were up in London to watch club mates, and gave you a big cheer at mile 9 and about 25.2. Perhaps we should have been louder, although i am not sure if that would have been possible! thanks for the insightful blog. Perhaps if I was 20 years younger and about 2 min per mile quicker i could live the dream too. Good for you for giving it a go. You never know until you tried. Graham, Stubbington Green.