I’m not really a sports person. Before running I never regularly participated in anything that gave me a good amount of exercise (apart from a paper round). Running was something on my radar because my Mum and Uncle both ran. Running for me started over a decade ago, during a break up. I needed to get out of the house and clear my head so I went for a run. Running’s great, you pretty much just go outside and do it (like that slogan). No membership fees, no coordinating other people, great.
When you’re a runner, and you learn about marathons, it soon becomes the almighty; the one day; the bucket list item. My grandad, mum and uncle have all run them. My mum has ran five marathons.
Before Quinn was born, Sarah started asking me on my birthday “what do you want to have done by this time next year?” In 2016 I said “…run a marathon”. Quinn was only a few months old at this point so I wondered if it was possible. Sarah on the other hand had no idea what she had let herself in for. She had no idea what training was involved and how much it would impact on her and Quinn. I had an idea, but wasn’t prepared for how straining it would be on the three of us.
The new year came. The 2017 Gold Coast marathon was the obvious choice: it takes place in the middle of Australian winter and the course was as flat as hell. I fished out a training plan. I needed to figure out if it was even feasible for me to commit to entering in the first place.
Bupa provides plans online for different experience levels. The intermediate plan was my fit. A 16 week plan that prescribed five training days a week. Five days a week, and in the latter half of the training, some of those days took me away from home for up to 2 hours on a Saturday and 4 hours on a Sunday. I still wasn’t sure if it was possible.
A couple of weeks went by, and it was still on my mind. I revisited the plan and looked really closely at what the distances were, what days, how long they’d likely take me. If I had to do it, when are these runs happening? I started by identifying the disposable time I had; mainly my work commute and lunch hours. Theoretically, the three midweek runs wouldn’t have an impact on work or home, leaving just the short Saturday run and Sunday’s long run (the LR).
Another week or so went by. Following an indulgent Christmas period I had started my normal running routine again, just 5km a couple of times after work, and maybe a bit longer on a Saturday morning if I could be bothered, Quinn was ok, or if Sarah didn’t need my support with him. During the work week I’m not there to help in the mornings and Sarah dealing with a small child without support for long periods was clearly starting to show. So when it came to a Saturday and I wanted to run, it wasn’t easy. I still hadn’t committed to the marathon.
Unexpectedly, Sarah tells me she’s interested in running the Noosa 10km, as a way to motivate her back into some kind of an exercise routine. Noosa had a half marathon on the same day as the 10km, and it fit nicely into the right week of the marathon training plan. I could do the half marathon, and then follow up with the marathon. She agreed. It was enough to get online and book all of it. It was around 18 weeks until the marathon, and 2 weeks until training officially started as per the training plan. It was happening.
Running a marathon is not the same as running a 10km. Running in my 30s is different to running in my 20s. The next four months showed me that you can plan for something as much as you like, but life will happen. Life will attempt to derail your perfect, tidy, little plan.
I get a lot of my daily information consumption from Twitter. I follow people and accounts that reflect my interests and stuff will appear in the feed in quick consumable chunks. I Googled “best running twitter accounts” and started following. A lot of it was rubbish to begin with, slowly unfollowing the stuff I didn’t find useful. Runners World was pretty relentless at recycling articles about specific topics:
- Top 5 stretches after a run;
- Most runners make this mistake (click bait); and
- I always keep these items in the car (also click baity).
That last one baited me, and then it solved a small problem at the back of my mind – nipple chafe. Part of the author’s list said “Body Glide, I don’t leave home without it”. From the name, I knew what it was talking about, but I wasn’t aware something existed that wasn’t as messy vaseline, or involved painful hair removing plasters. Another Google, Body Glide was like a roll on stick thing to stop chafing. Awesome. Got some the next day.
Running in the right shoes is important. If you run in a pair that doesn’t give the correct support for your gait you could be doing some long term damage. Each time I’ve forked out for shoes I’ve made sure I’ve got them from a shop that will examine my gait first, then tell me what options I have. Normally around three pairs get put in front of me with no control over the colours. I have a bit of an instep which gets pointed out to me from time to time, so my shoes also need to give good ankle support. There’s three main foot types running shoes cater for, I think mine is ‘Neutral Pronator’ .
My current pair were definitely nearing the end of their life. Before training I had already run in excess of 750km in them over a period of over 3 years. Apparently you should consider changing them out after 500kms. A suitable pair can set you back a couple hundred bucks so it was going to wait. Besides, it’s not advised to make any drastic changes to your gear whilst training (and especially not to try something for the first time on race day for that matter).
I was barely a week into training and accidentally smashed the screen of my phone. I’ve dropped my phone so many times and it’s never got a crack in it. This time, even with its rubber cover on, I wasn’t doing anything more than walking from my locker holding my phone in my hand. My arm swung with my stride, and the phone’s rubber cover clipped my shorts and escaped my grip. It landed face down on the concrete. That’s all it took to smash the screen.
A short quick run without a smartphone can be liberating and peaceful, but I wasn’t prepared to train without it working properly, it was a vital tool. Determined not to let it get to me, I replaced the screen the next day for the cheapest price I could find for OEM Apple parts …$239. Note to self: buy an arm strap.
Earphones. Gone are the days of that bloody wire jumping up and down, pulling the earbuds out of my ears with every step. Such a pain. Bluetooth earphones have come a long way and now I was in the market. I got my first pair online for much cheapness. I’m not an audiophile so they sounded fine to me. I found the earhook design was the most sure fire way to stop them from falling out of my ears. I was barely 100m into my first run with them and they were falling out. The modular parts in the ears, which holds the tech and the battery, were too big and heavy. They were shit. There was no way I was training or running any race without uninterrupted audio stimulation. Back to the internet.
The main problem here is you have to be able to go for a run with them to make sure they don’t fall out, before committing to buy. Nowhere allows this. Frustrated I went into the shop one lunchtime and basically looked for a staff member who also ran. I found one! He shared my plight, and then swore by Plantronics wireless earphones. Everyone’s ears are obviously different, but he said he went through a couple before settling on these. I took the risk and it paid off. They are hopeless for a plane journey, but awesome for a run – and had an 8 hour battery life on a full charge, more than enough for a marathon.
Even in Australia’s winter, sun protection in Queensland is still important. A good tip I picked up online was to wear a cap (I don’t really wear caps). This avoided having to put sunscreen on my forehead, which would normally end up stinging my eyes because of sweat dripping it down over my eye brows. One lunch time, it was high noon on a cooler day and by the time I was out running I realised I hadn’t applied any sunscreen. My arms and legs were fine, even my neck was getting used to it, and my cap protected my face. On that particular day my ears got pretty burnt.
Cyclone Debbie came from the North, bringing things to a halt in Brisbane for a day. I like a good run in the rain but this wasn’t the same. This is wind and rain that makes public transport free in order to get everyone home quickly and safely. The office announced their closure and ordered everyone home as soon as possible.
The weekend passed. I accepted a couple of scheduled runs were cancelled. My first opportunity to get back to it was a run to work. 10km and mostly downhill. Being motivated first thing on a weekday to run to work is hard, but when I managed to force myself out, it felt good to run to work. Part of the route to work included a park. There is a path around the park, but cutting through the grass was direct. Things were still drying up from the storm so the ground was spongey. Suddenly it was boggy. Too boggy in fact – dead ahead was a body of water. I turned on my heel mid-run, faced with more water in the grass, reacted and turned again, this time slipping and falling forward.
When people fall their instinct is to outstretch their arms, then their hands and arms absorb the fall (transferring force upward, incidentally how I broke a collar bone once). Well, even though I had already forked out to replace the screen, I still hadn’t invested in an arm strap for my phone. When I fell in the boggy grass, my hand holding my phone was fully submerged. The rest of me on the ground soaking wet, I jerked my hand up right away but it was too late. Water had entered the phone through the headphone jack, the speaker, and the ear piece.
At first it seemed I’d got away with it. The music continued to play through the Bluetooth. A couple minutes later though, it was as if the home button was being held down, stopping the music and activating Siri, “yes, Craig?”, and then again, interrupting herself “yes-ye-yes, Cra-yes, Craig?”. The water had messed up the home button. I looked at the phone and the screen had lines up and down it; the pixels were playing up. What an idiot, I had destroyed my phone.
After a couple of days hoping that the phone would magically fix itself from drying out, the screen was getting worse. It was a shade of pink, with thick white lines down it. Then a lightbulb moment happened. Before forking out once more for its repair, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to return to the repair shop with the receipt from the screen replacement, and just hand the phone over in ignorance. They might think they installed the new screen wrong and just replace it for me? Part of me thought they might notice that it had taken water on board and call me out on it, but that was a bridge I’d cross only if I needed to.
They replaced the screen for free, no questions asked. My phone was back to normal. I returned to the office and bought an arm strap from eBay for $4.
It’s pretty hilly where I live which isn’t normally a problem and can give some great results for completing shorter distances. Early on it was clear it wasn’t going to work. I still had to determine what a realistic marathon pace was for me, unsure if I could complete it in sub 4 hours. Gold Coast was flat, one of the flattest fastest marathon courses in fact, so I was wasting my time with hills. I needed to keep it flat and the closest way I could do that was to do as much of my running as possible along Brisbane River.
After a few weeks of keeping it flat, I started to realise how important it was on the LRs to take it steady, really dial it down and to keep it consistent. If I ran a bit faster to begin with, my performance at the end suffered – a lot. A scary prospect considering 3-4 hours of running without stopping was totally unchartered territory for me. A 10km pace for me is around 5min/km, after about 4 weeks of LRs, it looked like my marathon pace was approx. 6min/km. if I wanted to achieve sub 4 hours, then I had to average below a 9:09min mile (5:41/km). Using my running app to report my average pace each mile to me through my earphones, I started working to this goal.
Beer, coffee, and other fuels
You’d think if there was any time you might abstain from alcohol, marathon training would be one of those times. I didn’t. I’m not exactly a big drinker, but I do enjoy a drink with friends on weekends, and if there happens to be a beer in the fridge when I get home from a longer day at work, those go down particularly well. And that might only be 1-2 bottles if left over from a weekend.
I never let it bother me. I try to look at the balance of it all and then make the decision. For example; should I have a McDonalds? Well, when was the last time I had a McDonalds or something similarly fast food or burger like? If the answer is something like “I’ve had McDonalds 3 times this week already”, then I probably shouldn’t have that McDonalds. If you can’t remember the last time, then knock yourself out, have a cheeseburger meal (regular, with water).
So I didn’t abstain from alcohol, nor was my diet perfect, but I was comfortable that I was making good choices often enough to afford me not to worry about it.
There was one time during training that I knew more than a moderate amount of alcohol would likely be consumed the night before a 9 mile LR. This was still when running 9 miles was a long distance for me. I went out on the piss with friends, didn’t hammer it, but it was consistent and for a long evening, until about midnight. When I got in, I made sure I finished a litre of water before falling asleep.
The next morning I felt it at first. The desire not to move. The din in my ears. The weight of my eyelids. The taste in my mouth. Feeling like shit. I forced myself up and ate a banana. I had water but not too much; I needed to get out on the run but had to avoid a stitch. Dressed and outside to warm up. I started to feel ok and got on with the run. Not my best performance but it was fine. I got the miles under my belt and felt like the run was a good hangover cure. I have a good idea that the run itself had nothing to do with being a hangover cure, water is really the key to ‘curing’ a hangover (alcohol dehydrates your body of fluids, so the more water you drink, the more fluids you replace and the better you feel). I made sure I had a Powerade (other sports drinks are available) for the run, I needed those electrolytes back into my system too.
In recent years I’ve become dependent on coffee. It’s hard to find a bad coffee in Australia. Ever since we graduated to having a machine at home, I notice when a morning coffee doesn’t happen. It’s not like I feel a heavy lethargy or anything, I just find myself thinking about the coffee. Is that what addiction is? Anyway, every time I find some article which declares coffee is good for runners it makes me smile. Nothing would stop me from having a coffee as soon as I woke up, then running 10km to work. I’m pretty sure that that coffee is what got me over the line each time.
I had Osgood Schlatter’s as a teen, which never completely went away. So I’ve got some knee issues. I have a big bump on my right knee where the lower tendon holding the kneecap in place has little bone fragments floating around in it. My left knee just feels weak sometimes.
After a few weeks the LR distance was getting to be more than 10km; basically more than what my body’s used to. I started to notice some faint pain in my left knee. I got worried, if it’s like this now so early on, what’s it going to be like after 4 months and whilst running 42km? Back to Google. The solution looked like a knee support.
The knee support took some getting used to. It would bunch up at the back and chafe. It would slide down the knee cap a little to begin with, but would stay in place by the time you’re sweaty. I started to use the Body Glide on the back of my knee for the chafing. When the LRs started getting much longer, I was happy the support seemed to be doing its job. I was completing LRs without knee issues.
Sometimes you envision an idea and look forward to it. On the lead up you imagine how good it’s going to be, visualising the detail of it in your mind. Then the day comes, and with it realities, challenges and obstacles you didn’t even consider in your perfect stupid vision. One particular time this happened to me was on a LR day on Stradbroke Island.
A camping weekend was planned. Life tends to happen around the marathon training and you have to look closely and see how you can keep it up. If you didn’t train each time something else was planned then you’re gonna fail.
It was the part of the training where the LR distance reached a half marathon. Looking at Google Maps, I could see Main Beach offered the best opportunity. Perfect in fact. I would get up before everyone, head to the top end of Main beach at the foot of the headland, run south on sand for 6.5 miles then back again. It was ideal, and I was excited for the change in scenery and the effect the reduced impact on my shins would have on my overall pace.
The morning came. Even though it would have been best not to, I had a few beers the night before followed by water before bed. I threw on all my gear and drove to the headland car park. I got out of the car and realised I forgot my water bottle, “Shit. Shit. It’s ok, use the Powerade bottle you saw in the car.” I stood at the top of the headland and looked south down the beach whilst stretching and warming up. The sun started to rise, but the cloud cover was too much to make any kind of spectacle I hoped for. I headed down to the beach and started the run.
Straight away the sand was a problem. I’m not talking about running on sand Rocky Balboa style, no. Normally, the wet part of the sand being lapped by the tide is solid enough to run on normally without extra effort. The idea was I’d stick to the wet section for the run. This beach was different from what I was familiar with. With each step on the wet stuff, my feet sank a few centimeters into the sand. There was no way I was doing an LR like this.
I thought maybe it was just a small area where it was happening, but nope. I had slogged around 2-3kms in the sinking sand (ave pace around a minute longer per KM), until I was faced with a bigger problem – the tide was coming in and I was running out of space. I know when to quit; probably when my safety is at risk. I turned around and finished up with about 6km of a difficult run in the bank. The LR was a bust.
When running short distances, I use music to motivate me. Normally movie soundtrack stuff, stuff from games, mostly music that doesn’t have lyrics (with some exceptions). I can often visualise action sequences with them if I’ve seen the movie or played the game. Once again early training teething issues reared it’s head. I realised that listening to this stuff doesn’t work for LRs; because the pace that I was aiming for is slower than a general 10k pace, and had to be sustained for longer periods, I didn’t need music that got me pumped. I needed something that’s going to occupy my mind for long periods of time. The answer for me was podcasts.
I enjoy podcasts when I’m travelling on long car and plane journeys, so I had a good tried and tested selection to choose from. I’ve got really into this American history podcast by these two comedians; called the Dollop. On one LR something on the Dollop tickled me so much I started laughing out loud as I ran. Suddenly I was short of breath. I panicked. I discovered I couldn’t listen to comedy podcasts during LRs for risk of this short of breath problem. I resorted to something more muted. Some time went by and it occurred to me that would be good if I could listen to my favourite movies. So I ripped the audio from both Jurassic Park and The Matrix. I’ve seen both films many times, and listening time totalled more than four hours. This worked like a charm for LRs (though it was tempting to run faster during the raptor scenes). It was like watching movies in my head as I ran. After the initial concentration to set the correct pace, time passed quickly.
Noosa Half Marathon
The training recommended slotting in a race day at some point. I think the logic behind it comes back to “don’t do something for the first time on race day”, including race day itself. The atmosphere and conditions present on a race day are totally different from solo runs. Your performance changes too. It makes sense to identify anything you hadn’t considered during your solo runs that wasn’t obvious until a race day. From logistics to the effect of other runners running around you.
The course layouts for the Noosa 10km and the Half Marathon shared certain sections. I could not have planned or timed for Sarah, who was running the 10km, to emerge alongside me at the exact point both courses merged together, around 8km into my race and 1km into hers. That was exciting and good to see her on a run. I had to return to my pace which meant running ahead. A few folk laughed as we tried to clumsily kiss eachother with our heads bobbing up and down as we run.
During the race, I messed around with my sunglasses. It was sunrise but we had got into a shady area and I wanted to see better. So I did something I never do, put the glasses onto my cap. A few minutes passed and they fell off my head. I caused a kerfuffle among the runners behind me as I suddenly stopped, stepped back, knelt, collected them and resumed running. Causing myself to lose some breath whilst doing so. That was stupid, I shouldn’t have even touched them. I raised the glasses back to my face – a lens was missing. In that moment, the universe knew I needed a bin, which appeared 3 meters ahead of me for immediate use.
Race days normally have photographers placed throughout the course. Sometimes they’re easy to spot in their high viz vests. A good photo is probably the best souvenir from a run.
Having run a few races, I’ve seen how plenty of the photos come out; there’s ones where you’re in the background, or obstructed by another runner, weird-breathing-half-eyes-closed face, or you’re mid stride, making it look like you aren’t running at all! Not cool. The best ones are when you’re full stride, both feet off the ground, so it looks like you’re going for it! It’s a bonus if you manage to look into the lens with a good smile. I managed just that – had plenty of space around me, relaxed, and looked at the photographer.
Photo availability gets turned around quickly these days, I found the photo. Only …I hadn’t anticipated sweat patches. I don’t mind the usual spots, under arms, chest and back.
Just not ones that make it look like you pissed yourself during the race.
When running shorter distances like 10kms, and especially in my 20s, ‘recovery’ meant not doing anything. And having a beer. I might complete some token stretches but that was it. I’m still not sure if I’m stretching correctly, I have a feeling I could be better at it.
Marathon training heavily relies on good recovery. You run all week, smash out an LR on a Sunday, then have to start it all again (and then some) on the Tuesday. I can safely say that recovery was the weakest aspect of my training. Especially after an LR, not only did I not want to hang around stretching for 20 minutes, that would normally be the point where Sarah would turn up and say, “you said you were going to be less than 2 hours, can you hurry up and take Quinn please”.
We had an exercise ball Sarah used during her pregnancy so I figured if I could learn some stretches on that then I could fit the stretching in around things a lot more casually. That got me part of the way but I still wasn’t stretching off enough.
All of the advice shouted about making sure you get 30g of protein within 30 minutes of exercising to make sure your muscles repair and recovery adequately. This wasn’t an issue. We have this really nice natural coconut flavoured whey protein isolate (WPI) powder which includes all kinds of ground up seeds etc. I’d blitz a scoop with natural yoghurt and a banana and it would taste amazing. Any excuse to have some of that stuff.
Less than two weeks to go and a couple of things were on my mind: I’d run out of WPI, I’d run out of energy gels for during LRs, and for the first time I notice that my arm band strap has been melting away at a seam; it was being held together by two small sections of stitches, leaving an increasingly outstretched hole in between. Typical…
The reason I got the band from eBay was because the very same bands were $30 on the high street, instead of $4. To look at side by side, they were the very same design. The stitching, the position of the velcro, and the shape of the plastic screen. Evidently, I got what I had paid for; some cheap knock off. Speculation and cynicism aside, I needed free hands on race day to minimise strain and to be able to grab water from water stations without worrying about dropping something. I couldn’t risk a new arm band not arriving in time. I had to buy one at the high street price after all.
Working out how to get to any race precinct can be a pain, and Gold Coast was particularly annoying.
From the south end of Gold Coast to the north end where I needed to be was going to take 2 hours on public transport (meaning having to get up before 4am) or a 40 minute drive. The latter was the sensible option, but then I wasn’t the only one vying for a parking space within walking distance of the race precinct. Right enough, all legitimate spaces in side streets were packed, with other cars in front of me that were clearly other runners floating around for a space. I drove a bit further out, parked in a residential area, and briskly walked 2km to the race precinct.
Finally I started to feel excited, like walking to a concert or another big event, more people, runners, join you in walking in the same direction. Some were running as part of a warm up.
I arrived with enough time to use the toilet (before they got rammed), unpacked my bag and sorted the rest of my gear out, and handed my bag in before making for the start line.
I had Jurassic Park lined up to play for the start of the race. However, the atmosphere was so amazing that I used the opportunity to listen to music instead, and really absorb what was going on around me. I couldn’t do that listening to Muldoon scream “Shoot her, shoooot herrr!”. So I started up my running playlist, and enjoyed the thrill of the start of the race. On approach to the start line as each wave commenced, I reached the top of a small brow in the road, giving me a great view of the start line and all of the runners that had already started to run. In that moment I felt emotional, it was finally happening and in such great surroundings. I also got a pang of sadness that I didn’t have anybody I knew next to me to share it with. The moment passed and I committed to enjoying it all.
The race began and I told myself “I’ll leave the music on just for a bit longer”. This was totally different from all the lonely LRs; this was race day and it stayed exciting and exhilarating, my running playlist topped it off. In the end I didn’t listen to any films or podcasts on the race. I listened to my running playlist for the whole thing.
After 1km I got my first average pace report through my earphones, it was 5:46/km. That was also when I noticed that I hadn’t changed the app settings from metric to imperial. Marathons are commonly known by their imperial measurement: 26.2 miles. I had entered 26.2km into the app. Buggar. If I was aiming for below 4 hours, I knew my average needed to be at least 9:09/mile. I started doing the mental maths to figure out the metric conversion which I hadn’t memorised. I figured if I was below 5:50/km I was doing ok. I stopped stressing about it (post-race I checked; I needed an average faster than 5:41/km for a sub 4 hour marathon).
On race day I decided not to run with a bottle of water because the course was well serviced by volunteers at water stations. As I said before you shouldn’t try anything for the first time on race day; it didn’t occur to me during Noosa as I had my own bottle, but it turns out there is a certain technique and etiquette to obtaining water from the water station. I had 9 energy gels in my belt pouches to service me for the whole race, and I needed water to supplement them.
Most people seemed to slow right down, nearly to a calm walk, to collect the water. Then, continue to walk whilst drinking some water before walking past a bin (or just missing the bin). I was pretty preoccupied with not letting my pace change so it became a mission to pick up a cup of water without slowing down too much, without colliding with any other runners and without spilling all of the water. After a few attempts, I learned a few tricks; of the row of tables, choose the furthest away tables – nobody is using them. When you grab the cup squeeze part of the top to make a spout.
Don’t start drinking straight away, compose yourself and be conscious of your breathing. The first few times I drank so quickly I breathed in some water resulting in me spluttering and coughing. I had to take my time; control my breathing, pour the water into my mouth but not swallow it straight away. Close my mouth and then swallow it, to mitigate the risk of me breathing water in whilst running.
By around the 30km mark my average pace was beginning to dive, it was becoming a real challenge to maintain. For fear of injuring myself, or burning out so much that I wouldn’t make the final kms, I succumbed to the heavily reduced pace (around 5:55/km, then 6:00/km near the end). The goal now was to finish, to hell with sub 4 hours. When there was 10km left to go I thought “10k, you’ve done loads of 10ks, it’s nearly over. 10km”. That must have been the longest 10km I’ve ever run.
I crossed the finish line and stumbled into the area where runners get an immediate dose of fruit, water, and if you want it, a massage. I got to the nearest table, which was watched over by a nice lady, put my hands out on it and hung my head. Emotion hit me again, the fact that I actually did it. The lady asked if I needed medical attention, I lifted my head up and said “nope, I’m just happy”. Grabbed watermelon, thanked her and left to get my medal and tshirt, and more importantly, find out if Sarah made it in time to see me cross the finish line! (She did).
I’d just run a marathon and would you believe I didn’t have a single blister on my feet? (although the Glide on my nipples started to wear off around 30km). Runners complain about blisters and toenails falling off. What turned out to be gold class advice from my Mum, was basically grabbing a massive dollop of petroleum jelly, dousing my feet, toes, the lot, in gloopy, slippery lube, and then pulling your clean dry socks over the top. It feels weird at first but when you get your shoes on and start walking around you don’t notice the bog you’re walking around in. It offered the best protection for my feet to no end (seriously, no end; two days had passed and water was still running off my feet like a ducks back). My nipples did feel raw for a couple of days though. But it was all worth it. I finished my first marathon in…
I wasn’t at all bothered that I didn’t make my sub 4 hour goal (which I know is ambitious for a first marathon). A couple of days later, I did wonder how my 4:12 stacked generally. Google, ahoy!
I quick search revealed that there’s no shortage of data on the subject of marathon finish times among age groups around the world. For my age bracket, 30-39, the average finish time for a man in the US in 2013 was 4:19. Nevermind sub 4 hours, nudging above that average seems to me to be a good enough achievement.
I learned not to beat myself up for missing a run or getting ill. Just resume the plan. When it’s not going to plan, just stick to it as close as you can.
Push, but not too hard – listen to your body. Yeah you need to challenge yourself, but you can probably tell when you’re going to hurt yourself. Know your limits and be realistic about your goals.
Things won’t go to plan, accept sacrifice, compromise and become flexible, and be happy with that – what was true training for a marathon, is true in life – Things won’t go to plan, accept sacrifice, compromise and become flexible, and be happy with that.
I’d do it again, probably not whilst raising an 8-12 month old though.
|Marathon time (Chip, not gun)||4 hours, 12 minutes and 29 seconds|
|Average Marathon pace||9:37/mile or 5:59/km|
|Weight lost||86.3kg > 77.2kg|
|Duration of training||16 weeks|
|KMs run during training||670km|
|Miles run during training||416 miles|
|Time spent running||Around 65 hours|
|Number of runs||67 in 16 weeks|
The road from my first road race to my first marathon: