Guest Post: First Marathon with a Sub 3 Hour Goal

Since I’m not running a fall marathon this year (sadness), I decided to check in with my friend’s husband to see how his training for his very first marathon is going. He is running it in October in my hometown and he has a BIG goal – sub 3 hours! Just between you, me (and the blog world) – I’m pretty sure he’s got this goal in the bag. He is super speedy and I can’t wait to see him crush his goal. Anyway, here is a fun guest blog from Bob on training for his very first marathon. Welcome Bob!

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Thanks, Lindsey, for encouraging me to make my first foray into the world of blogging.  Hopefully this will be a bit more interesting than the usual stuff I write for work (I’m an engineer, so most of my writing material could be used as insomnia treatment).

The Mohawk-Hudson marathon in October will be my first marathon, but I’m no stranger to running.  I ran cross-country and track in high school and college and have trained moderately since then, mixing in the occasional summer road race. 

When I was younger, I figured that I would run a marathon within a couple seasons of finishing my eligibility (I finished my eligibility in ’96).  Unfortunately, the competitive side of me has been a hindrance to getting that first marathon under my belt (ironic sounding, since most people who know me outside of running would not use the word “competitive“ to describe me unless it was prefaced by the word “not“).  I’d always said to myself and others that if I was going to run a marathon, that I would do it “right” and put in some serious training.  Now that my definition of serious training has changed (I no longer feel the need to train like I’m 22), I’m finally ready.  Nonetheless, because I know that competing keeps my motivation to train higher, I’ve decided I want to not only finish my first marathon but shoot for a personally challenging time.  I want to break 3 hours.

Right now I’m a few weeks into my serious training for the marathon.  I’m actually following a workout schedule for the first time since college (I got the schedule off of the Runner’s World website).  I‘m not traditionally a huge fan of schedules and to-do lists (ask my wife), but I view it as a necessary evil.  Every week has a couple of easy runs and three tougher runs.  The tougher runs are: an interval workout on the track at paces well ahead of goal race pace, a 6-9 mile tempo run at about 20-40 seconds ahead of goal race pace depending on the distance, and a long run (14-22 miles) at a pace that is a little slower than goal race pace.    

The workouts are going okay for the most part, but there have been a couple of hiccups.  It’s been pretty easy to meet my time goals on the track workouts.  I’m usually well ahead of my goals, and I always feel pretty good at the end of the workout.  The tempo runs haven’t been too bad either.  I’m generally either at or a little better than my time goals for those.  The long runs have been the biggest challenge to date.  I’ve done five of them so far; three went well, and two went poorly.  On the two that went poorly, I finished the last few miles way slower than I had planned.  Both runs were on hot days where I didn’t pace myself very well early in the run, so mostly I chalk up the poor results to stupidity on my part for running too fast, too early in hot weather.  There is some doubt that creeps in though…maybe my 3 hour time goal will be too challenging?  Maybe I’m better at middle distances than I am at long distances (1500 meters was my best event in college)?

So far my body is holding up okay, but I do have one major annoyance.  I’ve had chronic Achilles tendon problems on my left leg for several years now.  It makes the first mile or so of every run a bit painful and gimpy (the first hundred yards, I run more like someone who’s 67 rather than 37).  Fortunately, it always loosens up. 

To make sure that my tendon doesn’t get too stiff overnight, I’ve been wearing a night-splint to bed.  The sight of me sleeping in my monstrous night-splint really makes Jess (my wife) think that I’m a lunatic for even putting myself through all of this.  Our cat, Desmond, is not a big fan of it either, since it has been the direct cause of his involuntary ejection from the foot of our bed a couple of times when I rolled over. (Similar splint/boot below in photo)

I guess there’s not too much else…I haven’t changed my diet at all really, except that I eat a little more.  It hasn’t been too tough to find time for the runs so far (Jess has been very accommodating on this front).  Running with a water belt for long runs felt a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it now.  I like my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch.  Plus, I am definitely looking forward to the weather cooling down (especially for those after-work runs during the week).

I plan to send Lindsey a follow-up after the race with my thoughts on how it all went.  It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out.  I’m sure it won’t go exactly like I expect, but that’s part of what makes this exciting.

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Thanks for your guest post Bob!! Best of luck to you on your first marathon. I can’t wait for your race recap and Jess’s pictures of you running! 🙂 I’ll be running the half marathon that goes along with Bob’s marathon, so I should hopefully get to see him finish – although at his pace, he might pass me and finish first!

What about you (readers) – what was your biggest running goal? Did you accomplish it? How did you feel? And if you’ve run a marathon before, how was your first one? Did it go as planned?

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One response to “Guest Post: First Marathon with a Sub 3 Hour Goal

  1. I am so proud of Bob!! His guest-blog is excellent and he is a marathon-training machine 🙂 I have full confidence in him that he can achieve his goal and I can’t wait to cheer him on on Marathon Day!! And for real, that night splint is incredibly becoming 🙂

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