After feeling so at ease the whole 21.09kms for the Onehunga Half Marathon, I was interested work work out why this was – so I could try to replicate it in the future.

I came to the conclusion that it was a few different things coming together – Blood Lactate testing so I knew my optimal pacing for flat/mostly flat terrain, a knowledge of the course from running it before – so I knew when to tweak this absolute pace into a relative pace when required (hills/rolling terrain etc) and nothing, zero, nada on race day that I hadn’t tried out at least once before.

The first one is easy,get another test done a week or so out from the Auckland Marathon – job done. As is the final point. Everything I need I’ve already trialled – if there’s anything I’ve missed or think of later, it’s for next time, and not happening this time. Now it’s te middle point that is (or at least can be) tricky. For Onehunga it was easy, I’d already run a lot of it before, and filled in the gaps on 2 training runs. For the Auckland Marathon, I was going to do the same – One run over on the North Shore, and one on Tamaki Drive. The rest of the course is not really feasible as it’s either inaccessible (Motorways/bridges), or pointless in open traffic (too much stopping at traffic lights etc).

I had to go over the shore today anyway, so it became my ‘route knowledge’ run. My first mistake was forgetting my paper with the route info on it, so most of the time I didn’t know where I was going(!) and underestimating the amount of ‘rolling’ and/or hills on the course. There’s nothing crazy steep or long, but it’s definitely undulating for the first 11kms of the Auckland Marathon! Knowing this means I can adjust my absolute intensity (pacing time) relative to the course. There will be no starting out too fast (intensity and speed wise!) and burning out, adding extra time at the end of the race. I hope!

Auckland Harbour Bridge during the Auckland Marathon – It looks steep! I hope it’s just the angle!

The only thing I didn’t get to do was run over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, because there is no walkway – They have to close part of it to traffic for the marathon. While driving over it I thought “This looks steep… that’s not a good sign!” I’m sure it’s not that bad… lets check out some photo’s of previous marathons… Okay, it still looks steep on this one maybe it’s just the angle?

Far away view from the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Okay, I don’t think I can blame this one on the angle!!

Okay, I don’t think I can blame this one on the angle?! At least we know all those hill sessions were not wasted!

My next long run will be at race pace on Tamaki Drive – nice and flat with fewer road to cross, so should be a bit easier to get my pacing right on this one!