Learning to break free, and understanding how to stay free.
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — Running

My Worst Is Still My Best

Starting at the end of last year I began seeing many bloggers writing up various posts on goals. There are people who will argue that it is good to have no goals, especially as a minimalist. Then there are those who encourage them. Like many things in this world, I think they are like the tide and are meant to have high and low times. They should come in and go out of your life as necessary. Right now, in my life I believe it is good for me to have very concrete goals.

One of the big ones I’ve had for the past couple of years, since I started running, is to run the Boston Marathon. One does not simply run the Boston Marathon {Insert Boromir Meme here}. It is the pinnacle of Western runners, and an elite race in the world arena. As such, they don’t just let the first 30,000 people who pony up the cash enter the race. You actually have to 1) prove you can run marathon level distances, 2) do it in a pretty reasonable time.

Since I’m still pretty young I still fall in the 18-34 age bracket. The qualifying time for this age group is 3 hours and 5 minutes. To put this into perspective the top finishers at this years race were 2 hours 12 minutes for the men, and 2 hours 31 minutes for the women. Less than an hour gap from entrant to elite. My current marathon best is 5 hours 29 minutes. To add insult to injury making the qualifying time doesn’t guarantee entrance to the race, only that your name goes into the pool. They take the fastest qualifiers first, and on average you need to beat the qualifying time by 10-20 minutes to have good odds. So that means a time of 2:45-2:55. Which means I have to cut my time clean in half.

Now what does this mean for my goal of running the Boston Marathon? Is it impossible? No, I don’t think so. I only need to approach it in the right manner. I know that increasing my abilities to max effort will not get my pace up to the 6.25 min/mile I need to qualify for next years marathon. What I do know is that if I take proper care in my training that I should be able to complete a marathon in under 5 hours this year. My ideal time would be 4 hours 45 minutes. Which cuts 15% off my current time, or 25% of the difference of my best and what is necessary.

Now that I’ve been getting myself back into gear with my running I’ve been paying attention to my times a lot more. From what I’ve seen so far my maxed sustained mile is about a 9.5 min/mile, comfortable pace is a 10.5 min/mile and my slowest has been a 11.75 min/mile during the middle of the day in Florida heat. The slowest time is still better than my pace for my first marathon, and my comfortable pace will put me within my ideal time. Does this mean these will stay true as I add miles? I’d like to hope so, but I know better. I learned that lesson last year, which is why I had a 5.5 hour time instead of the sub-5 I was hoping to do.

This is where I find the importance of setting and understanding our goals. If you focus on the pinnacle you will lose sight of the best path. You will try to go straight to the top, and probably attempt a tougher path than is reasonably possible. By setting milestone goals you can achieve greater things, and have a higher success rate, while keeping your momentum moving forward.

Life is a marathon, and not a 100m dash. By training ourselves to effectively strive for each new mile we’ll make it through to our finish line. We won’t fall short, or give up because it is just to far or too hard. What are some of your big goals? And milestones that can help you get there?

July 11, 2012   No Comments