Training and racing… after a week to digest the result from London I can say that the “train easy race hard” approach still works even when taken to the extreme. Doing all my training miles near or around 5 mins/km and racing at 3:50 min/km was a success. The attached plot shows the distributions of my 9 weeks of training pace and my pace in the London marathon (race shown in red). There is a little overlap caused by two 5k race-pace tests I did in the week leading up to the race and a few fast kilometres from a relay race I did 5 weeks before London but that’s it. It’s really quite an incredible result to see that applying the stress of the ‘blue’ training load to the system can give a performance in a marathon of the ‘red’ distribution – one which you would think is way outside what your body has been exposed to and therefore not capable!
So what now, how am I going to claw my to under 2:40 and even to 2:35? Although the approach of metronomic miles at easy pace does work, there is certainly plenty evidence that having a larger range of pace-work would give an improvement. So, I will take an approach with the same flavour as my pre-London training but with some modifications. I will add a few more races and race-pace practice to add a little bump (emphasis on the little) to give a larger range of stress to my system and spread the speed out more to the lower pace range to compensate for the stress of higher speeds. Watch this space!