To train or not to train? that’s the question

To train or not to train? that’s the question

Marathon Report 06  &  07


I had been running for over a year, making steady improvements in all races so I believed I could run 26.2 miles in less than 4 hours. I would take this on with some confidence having run the “Connemara Half” in March in 1:42. I reckoned a full Marathon couldn’t be much worse than that, could it?  Ten minutes on the net and I had Hal Hidgons lifetime of marathon experience safely logged in memory bank. Armed with a print off of his “Marathon Training Schedule – Novice 1’, I took to the road. One snag, this schedule was for 18 weeks! Hmm!!!, no hassle! Out with the scissors and you have the special modified 8-week version.

  Training went well. The miles clocked up 16 12 18 14, then the all-important 20 miler. I was tired near the end but still felt six more would not be as tough as it proved to be on the big day. At the time with all the preparations – travel planning, hotel booking, number pick up and all the hype – race day couldn’t come soon enough. Nerves played havoc with the sleeping plan the night before but in the blink of an eye D-day had arrived. Seconds out round one ,on 29th Oct ’06 I donned the gear and entered the ring for the first time.  Poorly trained, no race plan, a lack of knowledge and no mental preparation all combined to make the 21-mile run quite pleasant. “Ignorance is indeed bliss!” I’d hit 10k in 59 min on target, half way in 1:57, still on target but at the 22 I found out what they meant by ‘The Wall!’ It all added up to a painful reminder of Roys’ philosophy “Fail to prepare – prepare to fail”.’ The legs just wanted to close up like a deck chair and the mental and physical fun and games became hellish.  At 23 the time no longer mattered just finishing was all I wanted.  . This went on right to the line but the real agony started when I saw the clock – 4:04:54, the chip was worse 4:01:04.Ave 9.11 per mile So close yet so far! Finishing without stopping was my only saving grace.  

I was so disappointed for weeks after when I should have been on a high. I quickly decided I would have to go back – but this time it was going to be different. I thought I might even go sub 3.5 – maybe! Here we go again, set up for another sucker punch!


This time I found myself a training partner and with the full 18 weeks averaging 42 miles per week and peaking at 56 we felt at least the legwork was done. Now all I had to do was work on the mental preparation and learn something about nutrition. Hours of reading on the web, digesting all the advice, testing it on training runs and finally pulling it all together on race day would indeed be a challenge. Low and behold race day was here and again I was armed with confidence. With a Half marathon PB of 1:35 once more in Connemara, 5k and 10k times all falling, as was the case last year but this year I knew I had everything in my locker to beat the clock! However, I was well aware that I still had to out fox that wall! Seconds out round two. 10k in 48 on target, half way in 1:38 – great on for the sub 3.5. At 16 I could feel the leg muscles tightening and by 20 I felt that familiar clam action in the calves and hamstrings. At 21 I felt as if I had slowed to 10-minute miles so now I called on all the tips and advice. Chin up, shoulders back, arms low, deep breaths, stay mentally positive, push out all the negatives and by hook or by crook I made it in to Merion square. There I came face to face with the clock and saw 3:21, I almost took off.  I crossed in 3:22:43 chip 3:22:18. So take it from me all the extra preperation and extra training was more than worth it after all and certainly the key to my success.



1/      8:15                                                      15/    7:27 
2/      7:15  16/    7:35
3/      7:16   17/    7:26 
4/      7:05  18/    7:46 
5/      7:08  19/    8:02
6/      8:43   20/    8:07
7/      7:04  21/    8:11
8/      6:58  22/    7:57 
9/      7:25  23/    8:19
10/    7:25  24/    8:31 
11/    7:09  25/    8:33
12/    7:27  26/    8:03 
13/    7:41  365 / 1:24 
14/    7:31  3:22:18


I would like to thank my training partner, Tony Fitzpatrick for his dedication and motivation and to congratulate him on his fantastic performance strolling home in 3:47 for his debut marathon.  Well done to Kathleen Waters also on her debut marathon sailing home for the Craughwell ladies in 4:26. 


If  any of this inspires you why not come along to ‘Fit4Life’ on Tuesday evenings at Craughwell School @ 8.30pm (All welcome, especially beginners) and you never know you could be writing your own report next year!


Comments are closed.