So that's the training completed - I'll have the usual pre-race rest day tomorrow, which seems to work well for me. I'm just praying the niggling knee holds out - I can still feel it's not quite right, but I think it's not really a major issue and I think I should just be able to ignore it and hope it won't get any worse or slow me down - I'm planning to go into the race assuming all is fine and hope for the best.
It's very hard to know how it's going to go on Sunday, and I always feel a little apprehensive at this stage. I've been waiting for 9 years to have another crack at London, after my first fairly disastrous effort in 2008 - that was my first sub-3 attempt, and I ended up with a 3:14 (after a 1:29 first half!) so I'm hoping it goes much better than that! Both of the marathons last year went so well, much better than I was expecting the day before, so I suppose I should be feeling relatively confident - but there's still the big unknown of what pace I'm actually capable of sustaining for the full distance.
Based on previous experience, realistically I reckon I'm in something between 2:50-2:55 shape now - probably somewhere in the middle of that, but not quite sure exactly where. So I want to give myself a chance of getting a time at the top end of that range if it all goes brilliantly well on the day, whilst not leaving myself open to detonation if I don't feel so good. So I'm sticking to the plan of a first half of around 1:26 or just under for the first half, which is 6:33/mile or 4:04/km, which means roughly 20:20 at each 5km split point. I'll reassess the position at half way depending on how I feel, which is exactly what I did last year in Manchester and Abingdon (where I sped up both times) - though if it all seems to be going ok I think I'll probably plan to stick to the same pace until I'm through the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf at around 20 miles and then see if I can push on from there.
It's been a very long journey to get to this stage, 5 years after first starting seriously focusing on the target of running a sub-3 and ultimately hoping to do so at London. I've done better than I expected in the last 2 marathons, and have upped the mileage by about 15% overall this time, as well as increasing training speeds a bit, in the hope to improve my performance even more. That's been a bit of a gamble, and not sure how well it will pay off, but (current niggle aside) I've coped relatively well with the
extra training - but I now await see what it translates to in terms of a performance. I know it's possible I may never get to this level again, so I've got to give it my best shot.
But most of all I want to enjoy the day and experience - it was a bit of a blur last time in London after such a painful second half - and I feel so much better prepared this time. A good performance and decent PB will certainly help with that, and I know it will still be a hard race if I'm to give it my all, but I'm really looking forward to it now - bring it on!