This week was a small cutback week for me, ahead of the Brighton Half Marathon. Having already ran Worthing all-out the plan was to run Brighton as a marathon pace tester, so although I was dropping the mileage back a little, I would still put in a decent week.
Despite running a 24 miler on Sunday, my legs felt pretty good for the interval session on Tuesday. It was however a bit breezier than last time I did it, so the splits were a slightly slower 2:50 average per rep. I was still pretty happy with that overall though. It was also pretty breezy for the 15 mile MLR the next day, so the 7:29/mi average I managed wasn’t too bad at all.
It was then an easy few days before heading down to Brighton. Having run such a big PB at Worthing my original marathon target of sub-3 seemed perhaps a little soft, and several people (and a few pace calculators) had suggested something closer to 2:55 might be on. I therefore decided I would give 2:55 pace (6:40/mi) a go at Brighton to try and gauge how realistic it would be to attempt that speed for the full marathon in April. The pace seems rather daunting, but I figured I should at least see how it felt in a half, and if it felt tough I’d drop back and reassess my goals.
Unfortunately the weather was not as kind as it was a few weeks ago when I was a few miles down the coast. It was a windy morning, and I got quite wet on the warm-up as I did a few strides up and down the prom. In some ways it was good though, as it took the pressure off hitting any particular pace, and I knew if I could hold my target pace in this weather comfortably, it was even more likely I could manage it in the marathon, assuming the weather is hopefully better then!
Initially I struggled to settle in to the pace, which probably wasn’t helped by the busy course. However once we were heading out towards the marina I found my stride and was comfortably zipping along at 6:40/mi. I knew the wind would be against us as we turned back towards Brighton, but even going in to the wind I felt controlled and comfortable, and never had to work too hard. I crossed the line feeling great in 1:27:02, exactly 7:40/mi pace.
The performance was a real confidence booster, especially considering that this effort probably felt easier than my MP tester at the Bright10 last year, which was also in pretty windy conditions. That ended up being a pretty accurate predictor of the pace in Frankfurt, which bodes well. My legs felt good the next day, confirming I wasn’t working too hard for it. Assuming everything goes to plan from now until April then, I think I will be heading out at 6:40-6:45/mi pace and will see what happens…