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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Friday, April 27, 2012

Taper madness? Doubts? CAN I EVEN RUN THIS FAST?


Here we are.

Nine FREAKING days away from my first marathon.

(a marathon is a distance of 42.2km or 26.2 miles).

I’ve been training since January 1, 2012.

I’ve been training toward a very specific time goal. All of my tempo runs and steady runs and LSD runs have been paced to hit that goal. I ran an easy run :10s slower then the targeted marathon race pace yesterday and it felt fine for 10k in windy conditions. I ran the last 10k of my Sunday 23k run at race pace in windy conditions on paths (much like the end of the Mississauga Marathon) and felt okay. I ran the Chilly Half Marathon at the start of March at a pace :06s faster than my targeted marathon race pace and finished feeling like I could have run longer.

So why am I so afraid that I won’t be able to finish in 4:00:00 (3:59:59)?

Why do I care so much?

Finishing in 4:07:06 (what McMillan suggests is appropriate considering my 1:57:10 finish at Chilly) is still amazing for my first marathon. Why can’t I let go of the four hour goal? Why am I so freaking stubborn?

The thing is, many people have suggested that for my first marathon, I should go in with a goal to “just finish”.

I call bullshit on that goal.

I DON’T WANT TO “just finish.”

I didn’t run over 855km to “just finish.”

I didn’t spend every Wednesday night away from my husband and son and miss bedtimes for my kids on Wednesday and Thursday nights to “just finish." I didn’t run 33km in the freaking cold rain to “just finish.” I mean, I’m going to finish the freaking marathon, so why not go for a goal time?

I just need to get some swagger back, I guess.


  1. I hear you. For many of us we need that tangible goal not a just cross the line goal.
    I say run the first half with your head (be smart and on pace) and the last half with your heart (remember what you put into the training and enjoy it all)
    Can't wait until next Sunday even though I am freakin' a bit...

  2. yeah it's tough that's for sure. Laura gave great advice. Follow your body....gage each mile by how you feel and decide how to proceed accordingly. Go for it, but if it doesn't feel like it's going to work out then adjust your plan. I had two pace bands for my first, the 4:15 and the 4:00 as John Stanton said (and I posted previously), if the wind is right you never know. Have a great race regardless....there's nothing like the first!

  3. I don't like those "Just finish" first race goals either. They're lame. I agree, go with what Laura said. It sounds like good advice to me! You'll go out there and kill it, I just know it! You've put way too much into your training not to. :o) I'm going to keep an eye out for you at the start and give you a 'Go Get Em' high five! LOL

  4. Ahh... Taper Madness Strikes Again!

    Goals are good but can also be really dangerous.

    Even to "just finish," you would have needed a similar sacrifice. The joy in the marathon experience is the training, not just the goal race.

    I know too many people who have been emotionally shattered by missing goal times. Don't let this happen to you too! Things can go wrong and you might miss the time by 1 minute, 10 minutes, 100 minutes. It's not the end of the world! Be careful about pushing too hard. People DO DIE in marathons if they push too hard.

    But good luck! You may surprise yourself and do even better than expected.

  5. That's a tough one. I usually prefer to go without a goal to my first race of any kind to avoid disappointment. Anything can happen and most of the times, it's not necessarily in our control. However, there is always a goal, the goal that we're afraid to say out loud so we don't jinx it or for whatever beliefs we think may hold us back. Yes you are prepared and I have no doubt that you'll finish your first marathon, but as Laura said, it is very important that you run it smart. I trained with a coach who kept telling me not to go out too fast, even in the first km. Set a pace goal, even better, find it with your HR and keep that pace for the first half, this will ensure that you have enough gas in the tank for the second half. Then try pushing it, but still keep the pace comfortable because a half is not a walk in the park either.
    If you keep your drinking and eating regularly, this should not be a problem. But many people think they can/should skip this and that for whatever reason. Don't. No fuel, no energy and that's the key for the body to not hit the wall. I'm pretty sure you know all that, but take it from someone who went to run a marathon "under-prepared" by a few standards, but stuck to this plan and didn't bonk. You can do it!!

  6. Go with your intended goal, if you got more juice at the end, burn rubber baby! Most important of all is to enjoy your first marathon, the sites, sounds and people around you. Its going to be the most satisfying accomplishment passing that finish line. Enjoy Nicole!

  7. i think it's great that you can't "just finish" - it means you have the passion and drive!

    i agree with the others - go out comfortable and a little reserved with your goal time in mind. play it by ear. if things do fall apart, take it in stride (no pun intended). enjoy your first marathon (you only get 1!) for whatever it unfolds as. 3:59:59 or 4:07, either way, you will have a accomplished a feat not many others have! (though it may seem like "everyone" does it b/c we read about so many fellow running-bloggers - it really is pretty rare!)

    positive thoughts only now til race day!

  8. You have been so encouraging to me as I started training for my first half at the same time you started training for your first full marathon. I have no advice about your goal, but I want to say I am pretty sure you can do whatever you set your mind to doing.

    I am looking forward to reading all about it.

    I even did an ice bath cause you suggested it..yes, with a cup of hot coffee in my hand. I managed to sit in it for about 15 seconds before I had to stand up! Then I just splashed cold water on my legs for several minutes before switching to hot water. Yikes!

  9. I agree with you about not wanting to "just finish." Why go after something if you're not going to REALLY go after it? I frequently remind myself of all the time that I've taken away from my family whenever I feel myself fading in a race. It gets me back on track because I don't want that time to be for naught.

    GO FOR IT! Get that 4:07 or, heck, get that 4!

    Good luck with the rest of your taper and on the big day!!


Thanks for joining in the conversation!