It doesn’t make a lot of sense to most people to run 4 marathons in 4 months, but to those marathon enthusiasts amongst us, it’s probably not such a big deal. So long as the mind and body are willing and injury is kept at bay, it’s an achievable task. The big advantage that I see is that the traditional training program spread over 2 to 3 months is replaced with a condensed version that basically treats each marathon as the “long run” followed by a recovery period, a maintenance period and a short taper period before the next race. The emphasis on keeping injury at bay cannot be understated. That will be the key to success.
I have found throughout my running career which dates back to 2007, that my journey to being a better runner has gone through many iterations. Whether it’s trialling different shoe types, attempting to change running technique, changing fuel sources or changing training programs the one constant is me and my genetics. It is what it is and it seems that no matter how much you try to tweak it this way and that, you are only as good as the hand you were dealt. That’s not to say you can’t improve, because you can. But I know for sure that I will never run a sub 2 hour marathon, no matter what I do.
So why am I embarking on this challenge? There are a number of reasons.
- I haven’t done it before.
- I want to have run a total of at least 20 marathons by the end of 2016.
- I’ve lost the race for the first to 25 marathons challenge with my friend Gary but want to reach 25 regardless.
- I like the sound of 20 marathons.
- It makes me feel good.
- I want to.
- Because I can.
It’s not going to be easy. I know how bad I’ve felt in many of the marathons I’ve run, to the point where I’ve stated I’d never run one again. But I keep going back for more punishment.
Lately, I’ve been feeling more at peace with where I’m at. It’s taken years for me to realise that running at or around aerobic threshold over the 42km gives me the greatest chance of finishing in good order. Yes, I can run above the threshold for a while, but certainly not over 42km. I’ve tried it and burned out. And of course my training nowadays is always with the view to increasing that aerobic threshold.
But right now, for the next 4 months, the plan is to keep the HR in check sitting around the 141bpm for as long as possible. That means that I will most likely sit with the 4:15 min/km pacer for the first 32km and then re-assess. If however I find that through my training my threshold increases, then of course I’ll aim for the illusive sub 4 hour time.
Underpinning this endeavour is of course being injury free. I’ve had an ongoing hamstring injury that lurks in the background. If I run conservatively, it stays in check. But once I lengthen my stride to run faster, it rare’s its ugly head. That is why I have decided to withdraw from the 2016 City to Surf. When I race, I race with all stops out. That’s likely to cause trauma to my hamstring which won’t recover in time for my 2nd marathon one week later.
This year I’ve already run 2 marathons so these next 4 will give me a grand total of 20 – M7 Marathon, Mudgee Marathon, Sydney Marathon and Melbourne Marathon. If my body is feeling really good after the Sydney Marathon, I may do the Western Sydney Marathon as I DNF’d it last year due to injury.
And so it begins on the last day of July.