Cutting Two Hours From Your Marathon


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I hope to receive on of these in 2012:

In order to do it I need to cut more than 2 hours off my first marathon time.  The Boston Marathon requires runners to qualify and for my age group the qualifying time is 3:10.  Last year, when I ran my first marathon I finished at 5:13.  At first glance that doesn't inspire a lot of hope.  However, here are the things that I have working in my advantage this time:
1. Last year I was "injured." Okay, so I had boils. I thought boils were something only mentioned in the Bible, I didn't realize you could still get them today. Well, I did.  Monday before the race I couldn't even put my left shoe on because the boil on top of my foot.  I hobbled around the house because it was too painful to put the full weight of my body down on my left foot.  While things were a little better by race time, I still had problems with my feet during the race.
2. I stopped following the plan. My wife, Meg, and I had agreed to run the race together (and we did for the first 6 or 7 miles until I told her to go ahead because of the injury mentioned above).  As first time marathoners we got the books, read Runner's World, talked to friends who had run one before. We tried to be as educated as possible.  But as the weather got colder, my excuses got better and I stopped doing all of training runs during the week.  I allowed myself to think that having the long runs on the weekend would be enough to get it done.  When the first boils started to appear after our 20 miler (which for me was more like a 16/17 miler) I should have known that this was not going to end well.
So there are my excuses for the poor performance last year, but more importantly, here's what I have learned:
1. I can run a marathon. In Memphis last year, I wasn't in pain as I ran, but I certainly wasn't comfortable either.  The boil on top of my foot popped while I was running and I could feel the puss oozing out.  But you know what, I still finished.  Only prayer and the thought of "what I will Meg do if I don't come across that finish line?" kept me going. I proved to myself, that even when things do go as I had wished, I can still accomplish my goal: finish.
2. Follow the plan. We had done the work in order to have a good plan, I simply lacked the discipline to follow through.  This spring I have worked hard everyday, getting ready for the mileage build up that will be coming this fall.  P90X has helped me strengthen my body, as well as provide the discipline for working out everyday.  Hal Higdon's Spring Training Plan will hopefully help me increase my speed (I'll be updating my progress on this, so be sure to check back in).
3. In order to cut 2 hours from your marathon time, first you need a really bad marathon and then I really great one! I don't know if I will really be able to cut 2 hours from my previous effort at St. Jude's, but I do know that I will run better this time around.  I know the course.  I have been training for a year now, versus the 18 or so weeks that I had trained in preparation for St. Jude's the first time. 

Now is just a matter of working and waiting for the St. Jude Marathon, December 4, 2010.


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