Well it didn't go as well as two weeks ago. 1hr 30mins 30secs for 14 miles is 6:28 per mile - four seconds per mile slower than last time!
The weather was similar, windy, but also some cold showers today too. Running with Darren from the start we ran a very metronomic 6:21 pace for those first 5 miles. In hindsight we should have been nearer 6:15 pace to gain a cushion against the headwind later on. Darren didn't turn with me at the 7 mile mark, he was only 3 miles from his house at that point and had always planned to leave me.
The first two miles of the return went well - 6:21 pace again. In fact, of the 7 miles return leg only about 2miles seemed a struggle against the wind. Unfortunately one of those was very exposed and into a really gusty direct headwind which dropped my pace to about 6:45!
Another half mile of that same headwind when I was on the cycle track that runs just inside a big open field again had me slowing. But then it was over and I could relax and jog the mile home. I know one minute slower is bugger all over 14 miles and I 'm not really disappointed, but when running well I kind of expect to get faster week upon week though I know that is not a realistic hope.
Looking back to 2010 and also last years entries for the Jan-March period revealed that I am currently running the mile reps significantly faster, the long slow runs a little faster, and the marathon pace runs a little slower.
My long runs are feeling very easy though, well inside 7 pace without having to press on at the end to any great degree. Mile rep times reveal speed/fitness/ability has increased which is obviously good, but counts for much less in a marathon than a 10k. and the marathon pace runs of 2 years ago, which were indeed fast at 6:20 pace, sometimes quicker, were only 6 - 8 miles in January, building up week on week.
Whilst I still haven't written up a schedule for what is now 13 weeks until the marathon, one thing I do need to do is write in my races and plan a couple of easy weeks within this three month spell of training - otherwise I will end up burnt out and too tired to train.