TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca

TUI Marathon – Palma de Mallorca 2010

This was my first marathon, when I entered in April my goal time was sub 4:00, however after following the F.I.R.S.T. “Run Less, Run Faster” plan on the RW schedule my goal was revised to 3:30 which is 8:00mm and I was planning to run even splits at this pace for the entire race.

I got into Palma on Saturday afternoon, checked into the hotel and headed into Palma to register, pick up my number and grab some food. Palma has a BIG German community and this was obvious by the amount of mullets and moustaches on display, (apologies to any German Fetchies – but it’s true!) Anyway, picked up the number / chip and headed back for an early night.

Up at 6:00am on Sunday morning and onto the bus into Palma. The bus passengers were a strange mix of runners and local drunks – the clubs / bars obviously throw out around 7am in Mallorca! It was still dark and cold when I arrived at the start somewhere around 7:30am.

Decided to queue for the toilet around 8:00am and just about managed to get ‘sorted’ by 8:45am which left a bit of a rush to drop off my bag and leg-it over to the start line. Saw a fetchie in a black vest top on my way but only managed a wave as I was in a hurry! Got to the start with 5 minutes to spare but was starting right at the back of the field… Fetchie ‘Jogging Jon’ came over and said hello while we were waiting for the gun!

9:00am and we’re off, took about 4 minutes to cross the starting line…

Miles 1-7
8:52 8:06 7:55 7:57 7:58 7:52 7:58
Very crowded and congested at the start and I spend the first few miles weaving through the masses – many of which are doing the half / 10k which is a bit frustrating but finally manage to find a bit of space and settle into my target pace. The course is a little hillier around the town centre than I was expecting, but the crowd support is fantastic “Vamos, Vamos” shout the pretty senoritas – woo!

Miles 8-13
7:46 7:38 7:53 7:59 7:58 7:56
Right – finally settled in now and a couple of miles a little too fast, probably due to the crowds but I manage to reign it back in around the 8:00mm mark before any lasting damage is done. Somewhere around Mile 9 I drop a gel on the ground and turn around just in time to see a german squash it mercilessly underfoot, spraying the life-giving carbohydrates all over the cobbled streets of Old Palma – Noooo!

Miles 13-18
8:01 8:01 8:11 8:10 8:12 8:10
We lose the half marathoners and the field spreads out. I go through the official halfway point – my Garmin reads 7:59 average pace but 13.4 miles and 1:47, so I’m about 2 minutes outside my 3:30 goal.
I keep up the 8:00 pace for a couple of miles but we’ve lost all crowd support and I’m running on my own. Around Mile 16 I decide to go for a sub 3:35 and drop the pace a few seconds!

Miles 19-24
8:17 8:19 8:17 8:22 8:22 8:23
Finally, we’re through the desolation and back along the coast to the finish line… I’ve mentally worked out I can ease off a little and still hit 3:35 so dig-in and keep going! The markers are in km, and a spanish chap and I high-5 each other at the 32km mark – only 10km to go – hooray!

Miles 25 – 26.52!
8:07 3:54 (7:30mm pace for final 0.52m)
The finish line is in sight! The crowds get bigger, I get an ‘Oi Fetchie’ off a supporter with 1km to go and sprint for the line, it’s all over in, (drum roll please)

3:34:25
Half Splits = 1:46:36 / 1:47:50

Am I pleased with that? Oh yes! Sub 3:30 can wait for another day… I actually went through 26.2 in around 3:31:30 – so I guess, in a perfect day with fewer crowds and a less twisty-turny course I might have made it?

The F.I.R.S.T. Training Schedule Experience?
So – did this plan work for me – I would have to say “Yes”… I don’t know if it’s any better or worse than any other plan, but it has taught me more about pacing, speedwork and consistency in 12 weeks than I could possibly have done by myself.

Would I follow it again? Maybe, when training for a autumn marathon as it would allow me to use cycling as cross training. Over the winter a higher mileage schedule will probably suit me better as I do less cycling in the dark, cold months! However, I will take the basic elements of tempo / interval / long and incorporate them into the plan…

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