Why I Said I'd Never Marathon... And Then Entered One
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Why I Said I’d Never Marathon… And Then Entered One

Rob Murray
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Rob Murray

Rob is a self confessed running geek, obsessed with all things related to the sport, whether road, track or triathlon.
Rob Murray
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I did it, I entered my first marathon – the Brighton Marathon to be precise! For years, when asked if I’d ever do one, my reply was always ‘NO WAY NEVER!’

Why not?

Hmmm, several reasons I suppose.

1) People die doing marathons and that just scares the hell out of me.
2) My focus since I started running a couple of years ago has been on speed; running 5k and 10ks as fast as I can – why would I want to loose my speed for the sake of running slowly over 26.2 miles?
3) The amount of training hours needed to get a decent time. With a 6 year old and a 3 year old, the last couple of years have not left much time for training, with my wife having run the London and Brighton Marathons in 2014 & 2015. Even though I saw the look on her face at 24 miles, for some reason that inspired me to enter!
4) People die doing marathons
5) They’re hard to get into and expensive. I’ve entered the London Mara ballot three times over the last five years and not got in, plus I’m a terrible fundraiser so didn’t go down the route of charity places.
6) I wasn’t confident in my ability to run longer distances until this year when I twice broke my half marathon PB, felt good in the races AND enjoyed them! This swung my thinking – if I can run a 1:23 half marathon then surely I can give a marathon a go.
7) This one’s vague but important I think. I never REALLY wanted to do it and I think, like with anything in life that is tough, you have to REALLY want to do it to stand a chance of both getting to the start line AND crossing the finish line.

Brighton beach pebbles

Brighton beach pebbles

So what changed?

– I decided to MTFU about points 1 & 4

– After doing a LOT of research on running and seeing my 5k, 10k and 10 mile plateau slightly, I figured I needed to increase my aerobic base, thus my weekly mileage, thus enter a marathon as a focus for said increase.

– I figured time is just a matter of choice, of opportunity cost. People who say ‘but I don’t have the time’, are really saying ‘my choice is to not spend time doing this’. Although it means not seeing my wife and kids quite so much at the weekend when the training peaks, this is only for a relatively short time. Plus both kids now see running as something normal and love doing it themselves.

– I raided the piggy bank.

– As mentioned, I ran the Half at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival in 1:23 (a four min PB), felt really strong the whole way round and felt like I could have carried on running. Surely a sign that I’m ready to try something longer…

– Something clicked and I really want to do it! Can’t explain. Maybe its that ‘any marathon’ now counts in our club championship and that has struck a chord with my highly competitive side?!

– I have very stupidly/optimistically set a target of 2:59:59 which I know is a massive ask for a first marathon but I figure aim high, achieve high (or hit the wall and collapse with cramps). Even if I aim for 3 but get 3:15-30 I’ll still be very happy. All I can do is train for sub 3 and see what happens on the day?

– I don’t have ‘FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN’ as I went with my wife to this year’s Brighton Marathon. I know exactly where the start is and how to get there, I know the route and I know where it finishes.

So…

On the advice of Coach Smith I went out and bought Advanced Marathoning which has a range of marathon training plans, but includes a 50-70 miles per week plan for sub 3. This is an 18 week schedule that begins on December 21st, so until then I’m building my mileage up slowly to 50 miles per week. Fingers crossed.

Author: Rob Murray

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