As expected, this week was a bit of a reverse taper building up to the Wokingham half-marathon. It was only a reverse taper in as much as I did near to bugger all training last week and did a fair whack this week.
The week started off nice and easy on Monday. I had a great long intervals session on Tuesday and then settled into more gentle running for the rest of the week. As I was racing this weekend, I switched my rest day to Friday and added Saturday as another rest day when I woke up feeling tired on Saturday morning. It also didn't help that I had to take over an urgent ticket so probably wouldn't have been able to get out for a run anyway.
The Wokingham half it normally the first race I do each season and normally a good indicator of how my winter training it going. This year's race was no exception and I used it to see how the almost exclusively MAF training was working for me. I think I can say really well.
As I had no idea of what kind of speed I had in my legs, I thought I'd see if I could get somewhere in the 81-82min range so planned a negative-split pacing strategy. The plan was for the first 5km to be around 3:52/km, the next 10km around 3:50/km and the final 6.1km at 3:48/km or quicker.
All went to plan until about 10km when the route started turning into the wind and boy did this have an impact. The wind was very blustery and when it blew it was really strong. I managed to keep things close to plan until about 16km, precisely when the route turned back into the wind and also includes the largest uphill section. I think I would have had the legs for the uphill on its own, but the wind made it incredibly tough and my pace slowed significantly with me barely cresting above 4:00/km. This strong gusty wind was in my face for the final 5km with the only real let up being the final 100m.
I finished in a watch time of 1:22:30, a gun time of 1:22:34 and a chip time of 1:22:24.
Now comes the interesting thing…
My gun and chip times were exactly the same as in 2013. 2013 was my best running year to date - almost all my PBs were set in 2013 - and also the year I spent a considerable amount of time running at MAF. This year I've done a lot more mileage as MAF and much less intensity and I've got the same results. I'm definitely going to keep this up and see how it translates at the Fleet half in a month's time.