I'm not a worrier by nature but it's fairly typical for me to start doubting myself in the week before a major race. Equally, I'm well aware that this is extremely common or should I say normal. I know that most athletes doubt the training they've done. Thoughts that come to mind include:
- Did I do enough?
- Does my knee hurt?
- I feel really tired and lethargic
- My legs look thin and weak
- I feel heavy
- Am I coming down with something
I say with the exception of feeling tired and lethargic I've felt all of the above recently.
The marathon really is such a tough cookie to crack. Every year it's a different test with factors such as illness, work, family and of course injury getting in the way of the "perfect" build up. I refuse to use any of these as excuses for not achieving my goal this year. I'll talk a little more about the goal though. The goal is to break 2.45. There you go, I've said it, although I think I said it back in November when I started training properly. In fact the quote was as follows:
"The primary goal is to dip under 2hrs 45 mins although I do feel I'm capable of closer to 2.40"
I still concur with the later part of this statement although I'm not going to allow any goal creepage. One day I'll go close to 2.40 although I'm setting my stall out to just run 2.45 on Sunday by aiming to run the 1st half marathon in around 1h.21m.30s. that translates to 6mins13s per mile. Assuming I run the dream race and don't fade at all that will bring me into the finish in around 2hrs43mins. If by some miracle i run a negative split………yeah whatever. If you look at the splits for people who do the London Marathon in under 2.45, very few run a negative split. The top elite runners will though.
My preparation has had the following flaws:
1) I had 2 weeks off in January and 1 week off in February due to colds that turned into infections (and antibiotics)
2) 3 weeks out from the marathon I developed acute ITBS. I've not been able to taper properly and missed the last long 20 mile run.
There have been times when I've doubted whether I'll start and also times I've felt like packing the campaign in and entering a late season marathon instead. I actually believe I can run sub 2.45 even off an imperfect build. Kingston was run at 5m54s per mile which using the many race calculators that exist out there would bring me home in around 2.39-2.41. I'm calculating that the lack of miles over the last 3 weeks will take the edge of this as most calculators assume you've done the miles (although it's anyone's guess as to the definition of what this actually is). In 2003 when I ran my marathon PB I didn't exceed 45 miles, but then again I was riding 5-6 hours on the bike. This time I put in 2 excellent weeks in early March to compliment all the steady mileage I'd done in January and February. I've never run over 60 miles in one week before. This time I managed two weeks of over 70 miles (even a 75 mile week!).
So I'm signing off now having talked it all through. Writing it all down is like self help therapy! Watch this space to see what happends on Sunday.