Virgin London Marathon (VLM) 2017

A new year, the Olympic challenge has ended but the sporting challenges continue in the form of the 2017 Virgin London Marathon (VLM). London will be my 5th marathon and the 1st marathon that I can focus 100% on without the distraction of other sports. London was also the venue of my 1st marathon in 2013, but I’m hoping to have a much more successful run and enjoyable experience this time around.

The marathon is on 23rd April and I’m already 3 weeks into my training plan. I’ve chosen the 18 week, 33-55 mile P&D plan again (the same as for New York), with a few tweaks where I’ve upped the mileage and long run distances and other minor changes to accommodate holidays.

And so far so good. I’ve hit the paces on my faster runs and felt comfortable on my 3 long runs (14, 15 and 17 miles), with the 15 mile run also including 8 miles and my target marathon pace.

Having ran 3 hours 16 minutes and 13 seconds for my last marathon (New York, Nov 2015), the obvious target would we to try and dip under 3.15 or 3.10. However, having not run a marathon for over a year (longest since my first marathon) and will be almost 18 months by the time London comes around, I’ve progressed significantly during this time and feel that I need to set myself a more ambitious goal. Having struggled with motivation in the build up to San Sebastian last year, resulting in dropping down from the full marathon to the half, I also feel the need to have a stretch target to get me out on the cold, wet and windy days. So, sub-3.05 is the target – not only is this going to be a challenge for me, it would also give me a VLM ‘Good for Age’ (this is running a time that VLM consider to be a suitably fast time for your age category that they will allow you to automatically qualify for one of the next 2 VLMs.

The next 15 weeks is likely to bring about many ups and downs, but if I focus on the plan and hopefully stay injury free then I think I have a good chance of achieving my goal.

To keep me on track I’ve included a number of events, which I’m going to use for my faster training runs and warm up races ahead of the marathon:

  • Farnborough half marathon – 16 miles with 10 miles @ PMP
  • Watford half marathon – 18 miles with 12 miles @ PMP
  • Thorpe park half marathon – Race
  • Clapham Riverside 20 – 20 miles @ 7.30mm
  • Fleet half marathon – 18 miles with 13.1 miles @ PMP
  • Northala parkrun – Race
  • Datchet 20 – 22 mile training run
  • Battersea 10k – Race

With any luck I’ll achieve new 5K, 10K and half marathon PBs along the way.

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