Me @ Prague Full
I have to be honest, it had bothered me. With all the running I’ve done in the last four years, all the events I’ve run, the only full marathon I’d run was the Great Wall Marathon. Now the Great Wall Marathon is 42k, it’s a pretty hard way to cover 42k, actually but it’s not, 42k of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, running. You have to climb stairs, shuffle through congested guard houses and well, I know it’s silly, but somehow it was important to me to run the traditional 42k city marathon. My attempts to do this had been thwarted before, more than once.
Doing so, looked challenging from the start. Timing between waiting for the ice to melt in Prague so I could run outside and the Prague Half Marathon meant it all seemed a rush. I think I do prefer autumn races, I’ve no problem training through the ‘heat’ of summer, the cold and ice of winter is a different story.
The goal then, really was to finish. To tick that box.
It’s good job really, because, frankly, I made a pigs-ear of the race.
The first and biggest error I made was arbitrary goal setting. I’d run 1:53 at the Prague Half, which was a hugely faster than my previous time. To apply the standard double it and add 10% rule would have been optimistic given that the races were only 5 weeks apart and the 1:53 had been a big improvement. This would have given me a target time of 4:08. It is telling that I’ve just had toÂ calculateÂ that to write it here. It is in fact the first time I’ve calculated it. What I did at the time, was decide that 4 hours was a nice round number. That’s double it and add 6%, now know.
The second mistake I made was to pursue this goal during the race, despite mounting evidence that it was the wrong goal. I actually got held up in traffic at the beginning and had to stop to removed Â a layer too. The result was that by 10k I was well behind my crazy goal. I did some maths on the fly and calculated a new even faster perÂ kilometreÂ pace to try and get back on track with the poorly chosen goal.
The result,Â inevitably,Â was that by 25k, I was really struggling and the rest of the race was really, harder than it needed to be.
I did finish the race, running and in a fairly respectable 4:18. The truth is that if I’d been smart I could have probably done the 4:08 but that 4 hours was always going to be a goal too far, this time.
There are more photos in the gallery here.