Building up to Rio Marathon put on the backburner
COMMONWEALTH Games runner Melanie Panayiotou says she is using tomorrow's Sunshine Coast Half Marathon as a stepping stone on her road to Rio.
The Mooloolaba-based athlete returned from Glasgow with a personal best time after finishing eighth on the tough inner-city course.
Having taken a month off following the Games, Panayiotou is primed for a strong showing.
"I stepped up my mileage this week and am starting to feel like my normal fit self again and just in time for the race," she said.
"Running a big personal best at the Games, I expected to have a big break to let muscles repair themselves.
"The fastest you go, the longer it takes to recover."
Panayiotou is looking to win her second Mooloolaba Half Marathon after taking out last year's event.
The 30-year-old said jumping straight back into a marathon could have had a devastating effect on her Olympic preparations.
"It's too risky to do another full marathon and I don't want to get an injury as I try and get Rio," she said.
PANAYIOTOU said the half-marathon distance would help get her speed back, although she wasn't worried about her race time at this stage.
"I am using it as a really good-quality run to get my body back into the speed work to get everything moving again," she said.
"I won't be too concerned about my time, but I will give it a good crack on the day."
The Australia Zoo head vet record a time of two hours, 35 minutes and one second in Glasgow.
That is only one second shy of the time she believes she needs for Olympic qualification.
But she will not be running another marathon until next year when she ramps up her training.
"For the rest of this year I will focus mostly on 10km and half-marathon road races," she said.
"Early next year I will choose an overseas marathon that is fast and flat, which will give me the best opportunity to do a personal best.
"I don't know how much further I can go, but I have improved so much over the past little while, which tells me I can continue to improve.
"But for now I am looking forward to running well here at home and putting in a good performance."