The Auckland Marathon on 28 October 2012 was my 12th road marathon and the 6th time I have run the Auckland Marathon.
Disaster at Rotorua and aims for Auckland
I ran a fairly disastrous road marathon at Rotorua five months earlier; it was run in a personal best time for the marathon but I wasn’t at all happy with my effort. I ran too fast and paid for it at the end: I thought I could maintain 5:00 pace for the whole thing but blew out after 30kms.
Rotorua put me off road marathons a bit and it’s quite possible if I hadn’t already entered Auckland that I might not have run it. So I decided I’d not run any other events for the rest of the year (other than Midnight Midwinter Madness and the remaining Auckland Xterra events) and concentrate on training for the Auckland Marathon instead.
My aim wasn’t to finish in a PB time, although that would be nice, but to go back to basics and run at the fastest most comfortable pace I could and achieve negative splits (i.e. run the second half slightly faster than the first half) and not walk at all. This would mean something like 5:20 pace.
I had a bit of a break after Midnight Midwinter Madness and started to get into the training in mid July. July and August were great and got up to 30kms plus for my long run on Sundays.
Then things sort of slowed down a bit, a bit too soon. I found myself at the end of September struggling to run a 22km circuit. Two weeks out from the marathon I was really worried about my training and made myself go out for a 34km run.
The last 6km was mostly a walk and I got home a bit distraught, pretty much ready to pull the pin and not bother running the marathon at all.
My headspace had cleared by the next day, and the muscles in my legs felt a lot stronger as a result of the walk/run. I wasn’t feeling too bad at all. Just as well I pushed myself through that run and come out the other side!
I went into the marathon hoping to run about 3h45 with negative splits and to not walk at all. There were a lot of people I knew running, and a lot of them running around the same pace, which made the day really good. Lots of chat and laughter as we ran.
I won’t bore you with the details of it too much, but I managed to run a nice even pace of around 5:20 until about the 36km mark when I slowed down a touch to kms of 5:30 to 6:00. But importantly, I was managing to keep running without having to stop and walk.
The hard thing at this stage is the end was still far enough away to make picking the pace up seem too hard. It wasn’t until the last 500 metres or so that I finally managed to dig deep and get in a a good sprint down to the finish line. I ran the last 400 metres at 4:08 pace, according to my watch!
The result and the future
I finished in 3:49:48 and ran the second half 2:06 slower than the first half, and didn’t walk at all. I didn’t quite manage to hit negative splits but this is by far my best marathon when it comes to running an even pace. It was one of my slower efforts but it’s probably the road marathon I am most pleased with.
So now what? I had a couple of easy weeks but then started to pick my training up for the Tarawera 100K in March. I’ve already been training much better than I ever have, putting in minimum 60km weeks over the last 6 weeks (with one exception) including running 41kms yesterday.
I’m feeling good and I know if I can train better next time, I should be able to achieve my goal of negative splits and hit a PB for the road marathon.