Leading into the marathon I wanted to get in another two or three races. Unfortunately my work roster, some other commitments and race calendar have combined to make this unlikely. At this stage, it looks like my next race won't be until the 42.195km itself in October. Not quite ideal, but a slightly different challenge to find the best out of myself.
On paper it looks ideal. A simple, uninterrupted lead-in of consistent training. However, that in itself is the problem. Yes it does provide an excellent framework to develop a strong fitness base. What it usually lacks are those extra parts of fitness and mental adjustments that racing brings. These are important when looking to achieve challenging personal bests.
There are two options. The first is to find a way to get in a race or two. I am working on it, but haven't come with a good idea yet. Second option is to get a little more creative in the training and try to get a similar response in a few sessions. It might be as simple as hitting a measured course, and really hammering it. For example, instead of covering my semi-regular 15km threshold run at a set intensity, I should get out and aim for a race like effort, focusing heavily on setting a fast time. Mentally this may be very hard to do, I can usually get a lot more out of myself in a race. But that difficulty in itself might be part of the extra I am looking for.
At least it is some food for thought.