Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Race a marathon? there's a thought!

 The only race I am entered for at the moment is the Great Manchester 10K in 6 weeks time. My prize for the category 3rd. last year's race!!
   I am looking at the options for a 5K, 5 miler or another 10K in between now and then.
  Once I've run the Manchester event it'll be a case of looking for another target to keep me motivated.   No half marathons this year yet so that is a real consideration.  But what about an autumn marathon? Now there's a thought!
   Every morning I receive by email from R.W. (U.S.) a "quote of the day". No doubt many of you too. Invariably the quote , from a whole variety of "celebrities",  is concerned with the marathon.
I'm not generally inspired by what the quote says but just there is a great "buzz" at this time of year  with so many spring marathons taking place and the thought keeps coming back for me to race another marathon.  
 I particularly use the word "race" as opposed to  "complete"  or just "run".  I believe there is a distinct difference. Racing to achieve a predetermined time or  simply participating.
 To "race" a marathon I would have run a build up race of a half marathon. I would take that half marathon time, say 1:37.30, double it and add ten minutes. That would determine my target time for the 26.2 miles or 42 kilometres is I was running abroad.  Hence 3:25. 
 That target time of 3:25 would then dictate my race strategy and pace per mile or kilometre.   Anything faster than 3.:25 would be down to excess adrenalin! a time between 3:25 and 3:30 would be down to bad weather (probably!) , anything over 3:30 would be considered as failing.
  Just completing is not the aim.  It would be about racing to that target time.
 Now having run 26 marathons, with times listed on this blog and a slowest of 2:50,  I have to ask  am I prepared to put myself through the training I would demand of myself to achieve 3:25?
 Am I prepared to lift my longest training run from 12/15 miles at present enabling to race a half marathon to 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 at the very least in the past?
 Am I prepared to start running twice a day most days again,  as I used to? 
 Am I prepared to do lift my weekly mileage from 40/45 to 70/ 80 miles per week? 
 Am I prepared to tackle sessions like 3 x 2 miles ,  6/7  x 1 mile at 10K pace? 
 Am I prepared to risk my 62 year body breaking down and ruining the reasonably comfortable daily running regime I have?
 All this to achieve a personal worse, an hour slower than my P.B?
                                                          Answer being NO!  
I have to be sensible and realistic.  I  have to keep my targets sensible and realistic,  mindful of the training I am doing and generally coping pretty well with.
  We continually hear and read about runners who have set themselves totally unrealistic targets and challenges whether it be to do a marathon or perhaps an off road event of equal distance.  With numerous work and family responsibilities  the preparation required to achieve their chosed goals very often just becomes impossible.  They invariably fail and it's often a painful experience. Physically and emotionally.   Sadly we see many turn  their back on running altogether.   We see it happen so often.     
  No,  I shall not be swayed by all the current buzz.  ( Even this morning when I walked back to the car having run around the reservoirs I was asked, "Are you doing the marathon?" )  and besides... wife won't let me!


  1. They say you should run a marathon at least once and it's interesting to see that Jo Pavey has set out her stall in RW this month on how she is tackling the LM for the first time. Having run 26 marathons, your wifes probably right - they usually are you know! As for me, perhaps a half marathon in the Autumn (the Grimsthorpe half looks a nice course) and then a full one next year? - we'll see. Good to see that you're enjoying your runs, John

  2. The thing is not to be coerced into setting yourself a challenge that, as I said, is not sensible when your other roles in life are brought into the mix.
    For yourself, work to reduce that 10K time with a few 5ks and 5 milers perhaps on the way. Look for a late summer 10 miler before your half if you enter one.
    Again refer to your handbook for half schedules and decide if you have the time to fit the training in. Only you can decide.
    Meanwhile I hope to read you are back on the road and have recovered to go again!

  3. Agree with both of you. The influence from other people and commitments is often the reason some decide not to do the marathon. Those people that are 'challenge setters' on everything they do probably know that they have to give their all and do it to a set challenge or leave it alone. Giving their all would usually mean a minimum of 6 days a week training and upwards of 60 miles per week - not easy with a full time job and family. Every time I am asked the question I can hear the wife shouting no way and that is enough to stop me swaying.

  4. Late reading this entry and agree with most of the thoughts but I really do not believe that running twice a day is a necessity. Maybe if trying to go well inside 3 hours but not for what to you would be a easy-paced race.