Manchester Half Marathon 2021: race strategy

To say I’ve thought this through would be an understatement. I’ve hummed and harred plenty about the best approach.

Dialling back to August and the 16.01 5km on the Quayside, I was buzzing with the prospect of being in shape to have a shot at an England vest. Given that I was already down to run the Great North I decided a shot at qualifying for the half marathon was a good approach.

Since then arguably the Great North was fine registering a sub 79 minutes clocking and setting up a more positional race in Manchester as I need to finish top 3 V40 to qualify.

Following the Great North, however, training hasn’t been consistent. I’ve tried my best to get on the start line feeling good but in truth the performance at Wrekenton threw me off. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place as to whether I should crack on or rest hard.

I decided to crack on and actually last week and early this week went as well as could be expected. So it’s a case of seeing how the body reacts to a 3 day taper…

In terms of race strategy, to be honest I was hoping for more info pre race in terms of who was in mix for V40. In reality it is going to be very difficult to know. It’s often hard to tell who your peers are and, even if they are V40, it isn’t necessarily the case that any similar aged competitors have actually put their hat in the ring.

So the idea of an out and out race against key opponents is out of the window.

The possible race strategies I felt I had to pick from were –

1. Run a similar race to GNR, very conservative to 10-15km and then kick on aiming for an overall power average of 355w again. This strategy is pretty safe and would probably guarantee a PB over GNR on the assumption that Manchester is a quicker course being correct.

2. Aim to run a harder race to power, aiming to average >360w overall. An expected time if I pulled this off would be anywhere from 74 high to 76 low. There is nothing suggesting this shouldn’t be possible.

3. Ditch all tools and metrics and just go out and run to feel. I honestly don’t know how this would turn out as I’ve never done this over the half marathon.

After much deliberation I will be going with option 3. I will still wear my Garmin and power meter but I have removed all data metrics from the data screen leaving only a time clock…

I am nervous. I am apprehensive. I don’t know how I feel about the race.

But the decision is made and I will stick to it.

Wish me luck!


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