Sub 3:45 or die!

Success in the ballot

Success in the ballot

After three failed attempts at gaining a London Marathon place through the over-subscribed ballot system, I finally managed to bag one. I’d have been running in 2013 either way as I’ve been able to creep into the 5-goes-and-you-get-a-guaranteed-place system before they phased it out. But in April 2012, I’ll be running the Virgin London Marathon without the pressure of raising money for a charity, or being followed as a pacer. This year it’s all about me!

Actually, it’s always been about me. I’m writing a blog documenting the highs and lows of my personal training, a subject that interests no-one but me. How narcissistic can you get? I mean, come on. “Oooh, boo hoo, I lost a toenail.” or “Look at me, here’s how many hits this blog has had.” [I actually did this.]

And to top it off, I’ve been writing posts describing, in detail, just how little training I’m actually doing, in the hope of running a sub 4-hour marathon on my first go? My naivety was actually pointed out to me quite recently by some forum members on Runner’s World while I was writing a piece on running a sub 20-minute 5K. And they were quite right to scrutinize. “Jogging occasionally” was pretty much what I was doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I was putting in the hours. But in the beginning there was no structure or, let’s face it, hard work in any of my training. And because of this, I have some fairly decent shorter distance PBs (41:45 10K, 1:41:41 half-marathon), but a marathon time that is completely unrepresentative of my current fitness level (4:21:21).

So here I am, three years after starting this blog. I’ve been working at Runner’s World magazine for nearly two years, competing in a weekly 5K handicap race with the people at the London Marathon, speed training every Tuesday lunch time and running alongside some pretty tremendous athletes. Not to mention, getting to run in almost any race I like. I’m in a very privileged position. I’ve got access to the right kit, supplements and advice, as well as having a superb bunch of colleagues to run with. As not to squander my position, I’ve set myself a much tougher goal this year. It’s sub-4 or die. Actually it’s sub-3 hours and 45 minutes or die. I’ve based this goal on some recent training times and as of right now (one month into training) I’m fairly certain that I could run a 1:40:00 half-marathon.

That’s it. It’s in the public domain. There’s no going back now. I only hope that I don’t forget to respect the marathon distance. I’ve done it before, but never at this pace (8:30 min/miles) and I’ve yet to run an evenly paced marathon (apart from in 2011 of course!). Those last 6 miles are a true test of will power.

Fingers and (blistered) toes crossed!

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