4:30? Then What?

My daily afternoon telephone conversation with the wife just now got me thinking quite seriously about my running. Somewhere in the midst of enthusiastically explaining to her (for the thousandth time) about my current training plan, she asked me this question,

'Just how fast do you intend to finish a marathon? When will you decide that the time you've taken to complete a marathon is fast enough for you? So you achieve a 4:30 finish, then what? 4:00? 3:30? How low do you want to go? How low can you go?'

It took me a while to digest that question. She did have a valid point. Where do I draw the line with these training plans seeking to dip my finishing time lower and lower. When do I stop punishing and pressuring myself to stop this quest of trying to finish faster and faster?

Let's face it, if I was 10 years younger, that might have been possible. Now, at the age I'm in, a lot more effort is needed to do what 10 years ago was so much easier to do. Yes, I'll probably, no, definitely (got to have a little confidence here), achieve my goals this time round for the SCKLM and the marathons after that but then what? Give myself more lofty targets to gun for? Start more rounds of grueling training all over again?

While I'm probably mentally capable of doing just that but physically I think a time will come where I'll have to draw the line, ease off these rigid and punishing training plans and just run for the pure fun of it and be happy with whatever finish time I achieve. Before I got too serious with running, I was really just running for the love of it.

In time, after achieving what I want to achieve in my marathon quest, I'll probably head down that path but for now or at least for a few more years, I'm aiming to bring down my marathon time to a sub 4:30 level, it's a lofty goal for someone my age I know, but with proper and smart training, I know I'm capable of achieving it. Then and only then will I settle down to running more casually without the worry of a goal.

'Now that's the answer I've been wanting to hear from you all along', she said.

She does provide me with a sense of realism in life. She knows how to bring me back down to earth when I get too ambitious and unrealistic with things in my life. She's my own personal 'sounding board' which I bounce ideas and thoughts off. We don't always see eye to eye with thing but she's my biggest fan, or at least I think she is  ... LOL!

With that said and now that the Brooks half is over and done with my entire being will be focused on training for the SCKLM. I ran my first ever marathon at the SCKLM last year and this year's event provides the platform for me to better my timing.

My bible for the next three months or so ...
I've mentioned before that I've chosen the Hansons method as a guide for my training plans and will be embarking on it this week. While the plan looks easy (I use the word lightly) enough, my biggest challenge will be trying to see the plan through its course given my work, family and life commitments.

With the start of the racing season getting into full swing, I'm going to be saddled with quite a number of race bibs, buntings, banners and collateral printing in the coming months. Being a hands on person who takes great pains in making sure things run smoothly, that's going to give me very uncertain work hours which would relate to very uncertain evening runs.

The only other option I have of making sure I get my desired training mileage and workouts for the week would be to actually wake up in the morning ... grooaaaannnn ... and run! I am NOT a morning person and waking up early on weekdays for me is like torture. Surprisingly I have no issues waking up early on weekends to run though.

The wife even laughed and rolled around on the floor in laughter when I told her I'm going to wake up early and run before work! I guess a few personal sacrifices have to be made.

I'm targeting 3 marathons for the year, one signed up already, one more identified and currently am in search of one more. That one more is the elusive one which needs to be slotted between the two giving me ample time to train for all of them. Unfortunately nothing is available just yet. My options are still open though.

The wife and me are only running selected events this year cos we're going the 'quality is better than quantity' way. More time and effort will be spent for training and hopefully we'll both be able to achieve what we set out to do. We're both also on the lookout for at least one trail run event to participate in for the year, anyone know of any trail event in the making?


  1. Three marathons with sub3 timing?

  2. Cool, awesome Sub 4.30 target Nick... Even for runner at your age... It`s totally doable, just keep on aiming high... =D

    1. It's only a far off target. Let's see if I can come close to it :D

    2. It's more than doable for this guy la. "At his age"? Pfftt... He outruns most young guys. :-D

    3. His slow pace is 4:30m/KM. That's my Almost Dead pace..... -_-

    4. Haha, I know lar. Just wanna tease u :P

  3. it's a very good question. Where do you draw the line? Personally, I am still figuring that out. It's not just a matter of age, there are just too many confounding factors: work, family etc. And all have a role to play to decide the outcome of your training and performance. But it takes a certain kind of individual to appreciate what marathon is all about. We are that kind. If you were a casual jogger, then this would never be an issue.

    But we are driven. And sometimes, a bit insane. Let's not put a limit on that at the moment. If life is about a continuous journey of discovery, then let this marathon life of yours be that. Why stop when you're not even sure where the line is drawn?

    1. Don't get me wrong Francis, I'm still driven with trying to dip lower and lower but there will come a time when my body just won't be able to hack it any longer. Then maybe I'll revert to just fun running or (gasp) do an Ultra ... hahaha!

      And I agree, this wouldn't be an issue if I was just running casually. The more I train, the more I believe I can go that one second faster each time and like Jamie said on his twitter account, 'there's no end, just accept it!' :D

  4. "Speed, PB, pace... the dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny." - Quote by Yoda when Luke was training for a marathon. :P


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