It’s all in my hands (feet?)


As I write this, I’m thinking of my next race, the Clare Half Marathon. It will be my 3rd straight Clare, the first one being my first ever half, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The second, not so much. Probably my worst race ever. I’ve talked about it here before and I won’t go into it now, but I’m sure it will get a mention in next week’s Race Report!

I’ve had an easy week this week. Last week I did 65km, this week just 24. I had a weekend of R&R and made the conscious decision to forego a run on Sunday for a few extra hours sleep. There are still 14 weeks until the marathon. Plenty of time. There was some talk this past week about ‘junk miles’. Running for the sake of running. That’s what yesterday would have been. No, the extra sleep was way more beneficial. And I’m sure all the Easter chocolate will benefit me in the long run too (pun intended!)

I’ve been reading the excellent running book, ‘Run Like Crazy’ by Tristan Miller, who ran 52 marathons in 42 countries (including several ultras) in 1 year.

Almost 2 weeks into my 16 week training programme for the Gold Coast Marathon, with a view to qualifying for Boston 2017, I was a bit over the whole marathon caper and thinking of ‘retiring’ from marathons after Boston. However, the book has sort of got me excited by marathons again! And has even given me some ideas of other international marathons I might want to run!

A thought occurred to me. Yes, another one!

I have played team sports before. Most recently, I played soccer (or as some of you probably know it, football) for 5 years before taking an extended break at the start of last year. In my last season, 2014, after a few early games (often coming off the back of a 30km marathon training run) I decided the risk of injury was too great and stopped playing until after my marathon.

But it wasn’t overtraining that I was worried about, as you might think. It was the unknown and unpredictable. The dodgy tackle leading to a broken leg. The quick sprint to the ball leading to a snapped hamstring. Both unlikely but not out of the realms of possibility.

Which leads me, in a convoluted sort of way, to my thought.

Running is far more predictable than any team sport. Essentially, what happens out on the track/trail/road on race day is 100% up to me!

My marathon PB is 3:38 something. I need to do that again at Gold Coast to ensure that I get in to Boston next year. And really, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that!

There are various race predictors you can use, to predict your time in a race based on your time over any distance. I’m not sure how accurate they are, but one I looked at recently, based on my latest 10km time, predicted pretty close to my current PB for the half marathon. And 3:30 for the marathon. 3:30? You must be joking, I thought. But, then I thought, why not? If I do the training, and I know I can sustain the necessary pace for an extended period (just a touch under 5 minutes per km) then why the hell CAN’T I do a 3:30? Who is going to tackle me in a marathon and stop me? (Well I probably shouldn’t say that – I HAVE been pushed over at the start of a big race, after all!) Unlike team sports, I don’t need to worry about the unpredictable. If I do the necessary training – I WILL get the desired results!

I guess only time will tell!