Running really is a contrary business, writes Rob McNamara.
There I was last Saturday night at 9pm, still wondering whether to attempt the Great Limerick Run marathon distance which was starting the following morning at 9am!
My internal debate was centred around my interrupted training schedule which hadn’t gone too well. I had only just started to hit 17 miles on long runs due to illness in January and February. Couple that with a new job and a seven-month old son and you can see how my training might not exactly be going to plan.
I decided to go for the full marathon on the basis that I’m an experienced runner with many races behind me but I still felt a sense of trepidation. I knew if I got into trouble, I’d face the prospect of pulling out.
I usually run marathons in and around the four hour mark but I expected a finish closer to five hours in this one - if I was to finish at all!
What happened? I went out and ran a 3:53. I was in disbelief at the finish line. Everything went well and I ran my fastest mile at 25. The weather was lovely, I never felt a pain or ache and quitting never entered my mind. Bizarre stuff.
It just goes to show that there are so many varying factors that can affect your race day. I could have had a perfect training regime and not had such a good race.
Make no mistake; training hard and well is the key to being a consistently good long-distance runner. If you work hard, you’ll usually get your rewards.
However, there will be times when your training takes a backseat to family and work life. That doesn’t mean all is lost. You don’t have to tick off your exact schedule at the end of every week. It’s only when you’re not getting out at all that you need to think about calling a halt to your ambitions.
You can always adjust time goals to reflect the training you’ve done. Times are academic. Finishing is all that matters.
If you’re training hasn’t exactly met your expectations, don’t panic.
If you’ve put in the best work you possibly can, there’s a good chance you’ll be standing on Patrick St with a medal around your neck on June 4.
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