Target(s) For 2014

December 30, 2013

I have one massive running goal for 2014. I’d like to (deep breath) run a sub-3 hour marathon. I have some other secondary targets, but if I achieve none of them, and run 2:59:59 for the marathon, I will be utterly delighted. What’s that old saying? Do put all your eggs in one basket. That’s right, isn’t it?

This is a challenging target, for a number of reasons.  My current marathon PB is 3:13:32 which means I need to improve by around 30 seconds per mile. Secondly, Mrs Colin is due to give birth with our second little bundle of joy on 1st March so I expect my training and my sleep to take a bit of a hit for a while. I may not be able to get my training volume up to the required level at all next year. This will only be my third marathon, and my first for two years. It will also be my first attempt at breaking three hours, and most people don’t break three hours at the first go. I’ll need a very good, long period of consistent training at high intensity to get into the necessary shape.  And, with a long intense training period comes the risk of injury. Running a 3 hour marathon is equivalent to running roughly eight-and-a-half 5ks in just over 21 minutes each, back to back. Or, 26.2 miles at under 6:52 per mile. It’s quite tough. It won’t take much to go wrong to completely blow my chances. For example, I’m very unlikely to be as much as two minutes ahead of schedule at the 20 mile mark, but I could very easily lose a lot more than two minutes in the last 6.2 miles!

So, what on earth makes me think this is achievable? In the second half of 2013 I have made some big improvements, lowering my 10k PB to 38:03 and my half marathon PB to 1:22:54. The latter is particularly encouraging. Many experts say you need to run 1:23 for the half to be ready to run sub-3, and the McMillan calculator suggests my performance is equivalent to (a very ambitious sounding) 2:54:28 for the full distance. My marathon of choice for 2014 is Frankfurt in late October. The course in Frankfurt is, I am assured, flat and fast and the late autumn date gives me as long as possible to get back into training after our wee arrival in the spring. My coach Nick thinks I am capable of doing it, although he hasn’t said if I will be ready this soon! A bunch of my training mates will be racing in Frankfurt, so I’ll have plenty of support for the trip, although most of them will have loftier targets in mind!

Some other targets I’d quite like to hit next year:

5k – sub 18:00
10k – sub 37:30
Half marathon – sub 1:22
Total annual mileage – over 2,000
…and I’d like to complete my 50th parkrun!

The half marathon target is, in terms of equivalent performance, the most challenging of all, but it also represents the smallest percentage improvement on my existing PB.

The chances are if I get close to the sub-3 marathon, I will pick off a few of those along the way.

Last, and to be perfectly honest, least, I’d like to figure out why the hell I am so bad at cross country and somehow sneak into the top half of a Met League race.  More about the Met League in my next post!

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