First marathon, first steps

I’ve finally decided to run my first marathon. I’m tempted to write that I’ve finally succumbed to the pressure to run one, but I know it’s my own decision and one that I’m fully committed to. There are external influences though; my sister started running after I did, ran her first half marathon in the same race as I did and has gone on to run marathons and ultra marathons. Also I’m aware that for many non runners only a marathon performance has cultural weight; many non runners are aware of the ‘sub 4 hour’ marathon barrier, but have no equivalent feeling for what makes a good 10k or 5k time. I doubt whether my best marathon time will be as good as my performances over 10k and shorter, but I am keen to record a performance that will register with my non running friends and, in particular, family.

All the same, my main reasons for running a marathon are my own; it’s the one event where completion is a real challenge, my longest run to date is no more than a mile over the half marathon distance and despite being an established runner I do feel some trepidation, not to run a particular time, but rather the mental challenge of running for so long. My most difficult races mentally have been half marathons.

I have, of course, spent some time considering my target time. My half marathon PB currently stands at 88:16 which suggests a time close to 3:05 is possible. (The two guides I have come across to estimate marathon time from half marathon time are ‘multiply by 2 and add 10 minutes’ and ‘multiply by 2.1’ which produce 3:06:32 and 3:05:22 respectively.) Having said that my feeling at this stage is that my main target will be sub 3:20 (not coincidentally also the Virgin London Marathon good for age time for my projected age) with anything below 3:15 being cause for celebration. If I ran something close to the projected 3:05 I would be ecstatic and, on the other hand, would consider anything slower than 3:29:59 a disappointment.

So, my first marathon is on the horizon. You may have to squint a little to make it out though; having made the decision to run I’ve decided on Brighton 2016 2017* for my debut. Most significantly this is because in the preceding Autumn my youngest daughter will start school giving me the time and energy to commit to the training that winter. Also I’ll be 50 in that same season and it seems like a good milestone at which to run my first marathon. I’m also planning to have earned my parkrun 50 t-shirt during 2015 and intend to use that on race day if the material is light enough. If I had to pick a religion numerology would seem to be as good as any. 😉

* [Deferred one year due to an injury affected 2015 and early 2016, read my post “Zero” – the total mileage I ran in November and December 2015 – and subsequent posts if you want to wallow with me retrospectively.]

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