2012 Edinburgh Marathon

Coach’s Remarks: Congratulations Craig on a stunning run mate, PB by 25mins….that’s Hunty levels mate… Like I say, I play mind games with many of you but in the Hunty/Jordo war, I really give it to you both. It is true though, I have the emails, you both want to beat each other. I love this s..t guys as this is how members became World Champions and how athletes went to Kona and newbies beat their team mates. Basically, it’s how we get better, using up one an other. Like I always say, the plan is worth a fraction of what we do, its the mind games, camaraderie’s, network that we have.

Brilliant running Craig, I am getting PB’s out of members who are 49 years young…  Enjoy the read team and thanks Craig for taking it all so serious, your a great example to the 50% of the team who do want to push the limits. As for the other 50%, dont listen to Craig, just keep enjoying all this 🙂

Craig Jordan ‘The Travelling Triathlete & Marathon Runner’ Race Report below:

Edinburgh Marathon Race Report

I entered the Edinburgh Marathon back in December as an excuse to come home and visit my family for a bit but also to try to run a PB for the distance and heard that Edinburgh was meant to be the fastest course in UK. The course has net drop in height of 29m but was undulating throughout with 200m climbing and 229m in descents. I found the course a little harder than I anticipated but would still have to say it is a fast flatish course for the most part with only 3 or 4 short sections to really test your legs a bit.

When I entered I put my time down optimistically at 3 hours 20 minutes thinking that would be a decent PB to get but no sooner had I done this than Hunty only goes and runs a 3:16 in Dubai so immediately changing my goal to 3:15. As most people know Dave and I have a friendly rivalry going on but we do take our times seriously (or at least I do) and keep pushing each other and this was certainly the case with the marathon times this year. For that reason I made Edinburgh and marathon distance training my main focus for much of this year. Without this dynamic I still would have trained hard but possibly not with that extra edge or intensity. Also hats off to Dave after his brilliant run in Dubai he was happy to share with me his training, race preparation and race plan which really helped shaped my own efforts. I have to say that during most of my training for this race I had serious doubts I could match Dave’s time and at other times it seemed downright impossible but you have to keep plugging away and believe in yourself on the day.

I have never planned a race quite as meticulously as I have for this one. As mentioned a lot of my training focus for the year has been on this race and I didn’t want to leave anything to chance to was extremely detailed in prep…what shoes to wear (race flats or something a little heavier that offered more support), whether I needed 3 gels or 4 gels to get me to the point in the race where the aid stations were handing them out, what my race structure would be like, even what lenses in my glasses! On my recent long training runs I had even practiced only drinking every 5km to get my body used to running that far without the constant sipping I do in Dubai.

One of the secrets Dave had shared with me was his pacing in Dubai, starting at a slower more controlled pace then ramping up in the second half of the race to run a negative split. After thinking through 101 different permutations the race plan I came up with was:

First 10km average 4:35-4:30/km (actual 4:37)
Second 10km average 4:30-4:35/km (actual 4:32)
Third 10km average 4:25-4:30/km (actual 4:26)
Fourth 10km average 4:25-4:30/km (actual 4:28)
Last 2.2km Run Forest Run with what I have left in the tank (actual 10mins)

I had a bit of luck on race morning (and I do think this played an important part in my final time and discipline during the race). At breakfast I met a German runner who asked me what time I was going for. I said 3:10-3:15 and outlined my race structure above. His PB was 2:59 but on a pancake flat course in Hanover and he knew he would be as fast in this race plus he had completed a marathon last month so didn’t have the legs. His original plan was for 3:05-3:10 but he asked me if he could run with me as he had never had such a structured run before and in his 18 previous marathons had never run a negative split. I think this was a huge piece of luck as we ran together more or less stride for stride for 30km keeping each other on pace and in check, there were a couple of times I may have backed off a bit had I been running alone but I had opened my big mouth in the morning saying my time so had to back it up now with a solid run. If you are aiming for a particular time I’d strongly advocate find someone else going for the same time with an agreed race plan and go with them.

More or less everything came together perfectly with a couple of exceptions. My choice of running flats was to come back and haunt me as those who have seen the FB picture of my foot will know. I had swithered between my race flats which I know are fast but don’t provide so much support or my slightly heavier training shoe. They don’t recommend you run marathon distance in race flats but I find they make me run faster and also I go up on my toes more so less chance of injury offsetting the risk. My knee had been niggling as bit and I knew the flats were a risk but decided to go with them anyway reasoning it was all or nothing.

I the end though it wasn’t the knee or lack of support but the roads that got me. A lot of roads in Scotland have really rough surfaces, the thinking being sheet ice doesn’t form so easily on a broken surface as opposed to the silky smooth roads we have in Dubai. There was also a section of about km we ran through a country estate and this meant running along a rough track then to top it all the finish chute instead of carpet for the last 100m they had some horrible mat bumpy mat that really killed your feet. The race flats don’t provide much cushioning at all for your feet so the result was taking a hammering on the surface and ending up with nasty blisters. Still if that’s the worst of it then I can live with that but in future I will definitely consider the race surface much more carefully before deciding what shoes to wear.

My second mistake was going too hard in the last 10km. My thinking for the final 10km was to go as hard as I could but try to hold a minimum speed of 4:30/km. I was feeling really good at 30km so gave it a bit of beans for 3-4km but then started to pay for it. I think if I had been a bit more measured and just run a few seconds slower per km up to 37km then finished with what I had I could possibly have got sub 3:10 but because I started my push for home too early I started to tire badly around the 37km mark and it was a bit of a suffer fest to the finish.

In the end it was a great day out, the weather was unusually hot for Scotland getting up to mid 20’s but I had done most of my training in hot temps so wasn’t worried all by this. Also had a bit of a laugh at the start with Scooby Doo and Super Mario and the usual cast of characters you see at these big races. There were over 23,000 competitors in the half and full marathon (I don’t know the splits but I suspect around 15,000 in the full marathon and 8,000 in the half. I ended up 304th overall with a massive PB that came from training hard and smart, careful preparation and planning and being disciplined and sticking to the plan even when you felt you could go faster.

The usual thanks go out to all of those who helped prepare for the race, Jason for his focussed training structures and advice, a special mention for Janahan joining me on a long training run then getting seriously dehydrated in the middle of nowhere for his efforts and Capt J for joining me on long runs in his prep for IM St Georg, my lovely lady for putting up with me and my dreadful addiction and finally Scotland for perhaps being the most inspiring running country in the world.