Marathon running

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It’s a bit late for me to make my first posting about running.  Last year I started training for the Frankfurt marathon, and completed the marathon (3:43.36) on 26 October.

I hadn’t planned entering the marathon, but was cornered by two friends at Liz Powell’s birthday BBQ party who had signed up that day and suggested I join them.  Being rather out of shape after having recently completed my MBA I decided that it was indeed the right thing to do (the few beers I’d had that evening already helped with the decision making …).

Last year wasn’t in fact the first time that I’d decided to enter the Frankfurt marathon.  I registered for the 2004 marathon, however on that occasion, having undertaking roughly 3/4 of my planned training I ended up getting involved in an intense project at work and ceased training, and decided that it was not sensible to attempt the marathon without undertaking proper training (that was disappointing, but made the completion of the marathon last year all the more enjoyable).

My target was to run sub 4 hours.  Why?  I don’t really know, other than that being mentioned in numerous books as some sort of round number goal for semi-serious athletes.  I’d also done a 20km run a couple of years before (in my previous marathon training attempt) in 1:36 (including hills) so decided that double that, plus a bit for the extra 2.2km, plus a bit for being slower over a longer distance, should still be less than 4hrs.  In the end I was very happy with the 3:43.36 time.   Could I have run faster?  I don’t really know – I could still walk at the end (but seized up quickly!) but when you’re 10km from the end you wonder “when will I hit the wall?!”.  Without marathon experience you don’t know whether it is worthing putting in that extra spurt of pace to keep your lap times up or whether you accept some loss of pace in order to retain confidence that you reach the end.  This all sounds so calculated – at 36km trying to calculate lap times is like doing calculus in the bar at 11pm.

I”ll save another post for my “top tips” for marathon training, based on my limited experience (but they worked for me).

For now however, I’ll end with a question.

What was your first marathon experience like?

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2 Responses

  1. I did my first (and only) marathon in October of 2007. My goal was the same as yours, to go sub 4 hours. Unfortunately I didn’t make it. I was well on track after 25k, averaging 5:30 / km. My right knee started to get sore, and the next 10km was a bit slower (6:30 / km), and then it really gave up the ghost and the last 7km was a real battle – many times nearly giving in. A friend who had run a 10km on the day came out and found me and ran (walked) with me for the last few kms, and I managed to run (shuffle) the last 500m which was a lap of the Melbourne Cricket Ground – finally finished in 4 hours 53.

    So a sub 4 marathon is still on the goal list, but probably not this year as I’m struggling a bit with the same knee still.

  2. Good call on not running in 2004. Proper training is so important for a number of reasons – namely injury prevention, but also, and this may sound trivial, but for the enjoyment factor.

    I have signed up for four marathons and run two so far. The first I ran one year after college and relied mostly on my senior year training. I ran pretty fast however, I hated most of it. The 2nd and 3rd marathons I was unable to run due to lack of time to properly train and blowing out my calf for the other.

    The most recent marathon was in April. Proper training gave me both the mental confidence to race smart, but also the strength to do so.

    Good luck on future marathons. A sub 4 marathon is more than a respectable time. Especially for a newbie.

    PS. I have enjoyed reading about your experiences being a father. I am a woman and often listen to my friends talk about the ups and downs of motherhood. It is not often I get to hear the father’s perspective.

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