It’s always good for a distance runner to be confident. In fact, it is absolutely crucial. However, there is a fine line between being confident and delusional.
It’s all Killarney’s fault. Of course. When I ran 2:56 there in May I learned that I was now able to easily run a sub-3 marathon in a training run without having to do the usual marathony things like race pace runs or tapering or any such like.
When I saw that last year’s first M40 runner in Clonakilty had run 3:05 I figured I had an excellent chance of taking that position myself. There was no prize money for age groups, which meant I wasn’t going to win any prizes, but that’s not the point anyway.
What I had not considered was the fact that I had been in excellent shape following the Tralee marathon in March, and it was that fitness that got me the 2:56 in Killarney. I’m not in the same shape right now – even literally, seeing as I weigh 8 pounds more now (the diet begins after New Year). In the meantime I have run things like 10 marathons in 10 days and a 100 mile run, which means that I can now easily run a marathon whenever I want to, even in 20 day intervals, but not particularly fast ones.
The marathon distance needs to be respected, and if you start the first half in a delusional state you will learn a lesson or two in the second half. Smart people learn that lesson and benefit from it. Others repeat the same mistake another 20 days later. Doh!
The other lesson, also one I have encountered before, is that I cannot trust myself when I have a race number pinned onto my chest. I was well aware that I was running faster than I should during the first few miles, but there is an obvious difference between rationally knowing what one should do, and what one actually does when the adrenaline is flowing. I know I can run easy marathons – if I carry a pacer’s balloon. If I run entirely for myself, things are obviously different. How that will work out next March in Tralee might be interesting.
So, right now I see myself as a runner who can knock out a 3:10 marathon whenever he likes, but it’s probably not a good idea to test how long that theory would hold. I’ll skip any longer races for the next 10 weeks.
First things first, and in this case that obviously means recovery, even I managed to work that out. I have run 5 very easy miles every morning since the marathon and it took until Wednesday for the soreness in the quads to go away. Until Thursday I’m a single dad with 2 kids at home, so training would have taken a back seat anyway.
- 9 Dec
- 5 miles, 43:02, 8:36 pace, HR 131
- 10 Dec
- 5 miles, 42:04, 8:25 pace, HR 135
- 11 Dec
- 5 miles, 41:22, 8:16 pace, HR 148