May 23, 2012

Rethinking running goals

I have had two and a half weeks to ponder my Vancouver marathon performance and what it means for the races ahead. It's interesting in that some people think I should be disappointed in not having broken the three-hour mark, but that's not at all how I look at it.
My 3:00:29 time is a new personal best and it's also a confirmation that the training I've done the last nine months in particular is helping to make me faster.
All I have thought about since Vancouver is that I managed to run 5 minutes and 37 seconds faster than I ever have in 16 marathons. Improving your time by more than 5 minutes is huge, especially when you have been at it for a while, like I have.
The last time I had a bigger leap in my personal best for the 42.2K distance was 12 marathons ago when I went from a 3:24:53 finish in the 2003 Gold Coast marathon (my 3rd marathon—excluding running that distance as part of a couple of Ironmans) to a 3:13:01 in the 2006 Gold Coast marathon (my 5th).

From there, I jumped 4:14 to 3:08:48 in the 2007 Canberra marathon (my 6th). I improved by 1:38 in the 2008 Victoria marathon to 3:07:10 (my 9th) and then needed until the 2011 Victoria marathon (my 15th) to finally eke out another advance in my personal record by 1:04 to 3:06:06.

So to have sped up by 5:37 in the 16th marathon, at the age of 41, is just such a boost to my confidence. Who cares about the 30 seconds that I have left to bridge before finishing in 2:59:59? I had a fantastic race in the Vancouver marathon 2-1/2 weeks ago, and feel that this is only the beginning of running at a new level for me.

While you haven't run Sub-3 until you have, I need a new stretch goal for the marathon as 2:59 doesn't quite do it any more.

I cannot wait to get back into training. As planned, I did no running in the first week after the marathon. In the second post-marathon week I did two 10K runs, both at an easy pace.

This week, the third after the marathon, I ran a Squamish Titans session on Monday. After a 2K warm-up, we did a 7K 'tempo' run—I opted for a pace of 4:15 per kilometre, which felt fast enough at this stage in my recovery. Tuesday I took a rest day.

Tonight, we're meeting up with VFAC coach John Hill who is leading 10 Wednesday nights of speed work in Squamish.
My next goal? Sub-39 at the Squamish 10K on August 5.

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