3 weeks before the Berlin marathon I picked up a calf strain and had to rest for a full week. This made me adjust my goals however in the end it had no impact on the result I feel, in fact the well needed rest was probably a good thing.
I made 4 goals and I believe this type of goal setting relieved a lot of the pressure I was putting on myself in the final week leading up to the race. I also gained some insights from the Olympics. I thought to myself if I don't achieve what I want here, sure I can just run another marathon in a few months. My opportunity is not every 4 years and I still have many years running left in me. This attitude helped me relax in on the days leading up to the race and also directly on the start line.
- Goal 1 was to make it to the start line and be grateful that I am lucky enough to take part. I do this at every race.
- Goal 2 was to finish the race. I know myself anything can happen in the middle of the marathon so to finish such a fantastic major marathon would be an achievement in itself
- Goal 3 was to achieve a personal best and to beat my previous time of 2:54
- Goal 4 was to finish in the 2:40's
On the day I felt good, calm and strong. I ate well the days leading up to the race and I felt that had prepped well. Mentally I had nothing hanging over me that might lead me to doubting my physical strength in the 2nd half of the race. The weather was due to be hot. Up to 25 degrees by 12PM. This meant the last part of the race could be very challenging with the heat. We were warned severely about the heat the night before and it seemed like everyone was very concerned about this. I felt good though I didn't feel that the heat would be a problem until later in the day, anyone who thought it was going to be a problem I think was creating a mental challenge before the race began.
So how did I do???
I went out at a comfortable enough pace that I had trained at previously and was cruising for the first 10 miles. I made sure I was taking on a lot of water every chance I could get given that the weather was meant to get much hotter as the day progressed.
At 10 miles I struggled a bit feeling that my pace felt a touch too quick however I soon overcame that as I remembered all the hard work I put in in the prev months. I clocked 1:23:56 for the first half. It was really then that I starting racing and felt I had the strength both physically and mentally to push on. At mile 18 I really increased my pace and ran every mile a bit quicker as the marathon progressed. The last 6 miles were my quickest of the whole race and I finished the 2nd half in 1:22:44 effectively running a negative split.
My time was 2 Hours 46 Mins. I was over 8 mins quicker than my previous PB of 2 Hours 54 Mins. I placed 487 out of over 40,000 runners, 119 within my age group and 19 out of the Irish runners.
Smart goal setting, hard work and meticulous planning and training made this goal happen. After such a strong run I feel I have the ability to go much quicker in my next serious marathon that I plan on racing too as I have massive confidence in my strength based on how the race went. I am running the Dublin Marathon this month however I am going to try and enjoy this one and not worry about times.
Before I discovered running and the benefits it can have on my general well-being and performance in the work place. I struggled to get out of bed in the morning everyday. I was depressed and really had no interest in anything apart from drinking at the weekends. I made a choice to change everything in my life outside of work and running was an integral part of putting me back in a very happy place and building the foundation for a successful career. I certainly never thought that 5 years later I would be hammering through the streets of Berlin on a beautiful sunny day about to run a negative split in one of the biggest marathons in the world and enjoying every second of life.
Next week in our Dublin office we are holding the 2nd event in our Performance Series event. We have 2 fantastic inspiring speakers and they already spoke last week in our Cork office and the feedback has been sensational. Gerry Hussey and Paul Gleeson will be speaking at the event and telling their stories and how they have achieved incredible things in their personal and professional careers and also some insight about how people can live better lives.
To register for our Performance Series event: "World of Business and Sport Collide" click here.