After telling both myself and others that I won't be running any long distance races this year, I've now gone and entered the Abingdon Marathon on the 18 October 2015. I would say I gave this much thought and consideration before undertaking such a huge race; but no, I didn't; I did a 40km training run last Friday which felt good, and decided that with a little training I could easily complete the marathon. Before I knew it, credit card was out and I'd booked my place.
A couple of things to note about this decision:
- Cut-off Time. Unlike most road marathons, the Abingdon Marathon has a strict 5 hour cut-off. I'm not likely to fall into the category, but what it does mean is that the population taking park will be mainly club runners looking for a PB (since it is a relatively flat course). No messing around with funny costumes - this will be a true marathon with most entrants aiming for a fast time.
- Uninspiring. This marathon has a reputation of not being inspiring when it comes to the scenery or crowds. This actually works well for me. It means I can just get my head down, focus on my pace and heart rate, and adjust when required without the distraction of the crowds.
- Target / Goal. I entered this marathon not to get a fast time but mainly because it was a long run and it was local. My PB is currently 4hrs 25 mins which I got at Manchester last year; but in that race I was injured and had to run/walk the last half. Assuming I don't get an injury then I am hoping to get a new PB (closer to the 4hr mark ideally!).
- Training. I really do not have the time to train for this marathon; or I should say, spend more days training than I currently am. The only way Mary (my wife) would accept this is if I build the marathon training into my existing running schedule (hence my target time/goal is not very ambitious). I currently run Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday morning (with the occasional extra run if I find the time). I've recently been running between 21km - 30km on Monday evenings (with some exceptions). The plan is to continue with this but extend the length of the runs, and include marathon pace as part of the run. Wednesday will be mixture of Newbury Runners and some speed work, progressive runs etc. Saturdays will be parkrun or a mid-distance run. Not ideal but given I ran 40km last Friday in 3hr 55 mins (add other 20 mins or so for pissing around taking photos etc) then I figure I can survive Abingdon and hopefully improve on my Manchester time....
So there we have it. The timing works out well as the month before I have the Maidenhead Half Marathon, so that will be a nice little tester on speed...
I miss my long runs - I just needed to get at least one in this year :)