Tomorrow is the New York City Marathon.
I just completed my 16-week training period with a slow and easy 2.80 mile run. That run put me at 680 total miles for the 16 weeks. I averaged 42.5 miles a week for that entire period.
I’m in my mid-fifties, but those 680 miles were the most I ever ran in any training period. My previous high came way back in 2007 as I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon. I did 674 miles in training that year.
Last year, I only managed 359.87 miles (to be quite specific) in my marathon training. (It’s been a long way back from Achilles surgery.)
I believe that we always have to challenge ourselves and that we’re never too old to seek to set new standards of excellence. I’m already thinking that maybe next year I can reach 700 miles as I train for that marathon. Why not?
But, as we set goals for ourselves, I think we also have to be realistic. I’m not fast like I used to be. I’m no longer a person who can run 3:25:16 as I did in Chicago in 2006. I can, though, set a PR, for marathons in recent years…
The other day, in fact, I started to think of my marathon and my finishing time. I used to care much more about things like that – when I was faster. I’d think, “How fast can I run it?” Since I’ve aged, probably because I’m no longer fast, I say that I’m just happy to finish. But, of course, I want to be quick. and I’d love to be fast again. I would like to finish quicker than I have in the last few years.
My best time over the last decade was in 2014 when I ran the Lehigh Valley Marathon and finished in 4:14:37. That was a small race (but a great race) with an overall downhill trajectory (making it a fast course). But, even with that, back in 2016, I did NYC in 4:19:59 which also seems fast to me right now.
My last two NYC’s were 4:47:47 (2018) and 4:39:32 (2021). Those were also my last marathons due to the Achilles tears.
To run 4:19:59 again, I’d have to average 9:55 miles. I think I can do that. It won’t be easy, but I think I can do that.
I don’t think I can keep a 9:30 per-mile pace for 26.2 miles, but if I could, I’d finish in 4:08:54. That would be amazing. I’d love to be that quick again, but those upper miles of the race always kill me. I’m not sure I can hold a 9:30 pace for the final eight to ten miles.
As such, my thought is that I might be able to do 9:30 pace for 16 miles. That would get me to 2:32:00. Then, if I average 10-minute-miles for the next five, I’d be at 3:22:00 at Mile 21. If I then go eleven-minute-miles for the final stretch, I’d finish at 4:19:12… and there it is.
I think I can break 4:20:00 next week. If I do, I’ll be thrilled.
But, if I don’t, I’ll know that I gave it my best. As long as I finish, I know I’m a winner.
Everyone who runs 26.2 miles is a champion!