I’ve always thought that Olympic athletes were a little strange when as one games finished they started to plan for the next. The games are four years apart and the majority of these top athletes are professional sportspeople and train on a daily basis. So why does it take four years to plan? Listening to one of our top runners, interviewed on TV, it came quite clear that even for a 10K something in the region of a hundred miles a week in training wasn’t uncommon. Having given it some thought I decided that I’d look to do a marathon in 2014, London ideally but anyone would do. Moreover I wanted to crack the four-hour target and to do this I aimed to do a half marathon in under one hour 50 minutes as a starting point. In December 2012 I paid to enter the North Lincs half for the following April. My reasoning for running this particular race was two-fold. Firstly, it would be run around my father’s home town of Scunthorpe and I could stay with family on the night before the race. Secondly, the route is advertised as flat and fast with PB potential! If I could crack the half marathon target in this race I’d be, psychologically at least, half way to my marathon target of sub four hours.
The training went well and as the early weeks of 2013 went by I felt good about my running targets and my mind was firmly of the opinion that my legs would carry me through the races. Around four weeks before the North Lincs race I was given the opportunity to run the Blackpool half marathon. it was right as far as distance was concerned and it would give me the chance to try out some race tactics. The aim on the day was to start just slower than race pace and then pick up the speed after three or so miles. Things went well and at 10 miles I was feeling tired but with the clock in my favour I carried on to a sub one hour 50 finish. Four weeks later I managed another PB at the North Lincs race. It was only ten seconds quicker but I’d set my standard.
Fast forward to today and I’ve just paid my entry fee for next years London marathon. My mind set is that the effort of completing two halfs in target time in the last year has given me the confidence to tackle the race. The long term goal of doing a marathon in a good time does need some planning and taking a few years to build up to it isn’t something that should be ignored. We aren’t all capable of smashing PB’s month after month with minimal training. In fact I doubt that anyone can do that. Training with a goal in mind is probably the best sort of training.