How do you set yourself an achievable target?

For the upcoming Antwerp marathon, I’m finding it really hard to set myself a goalwhich is not too big of a stretch, but also which won’t leave me too disappointed should I not achieve it. I’m not the kind of guy who’s happy with just finishing 🙂

At my last lactate threshold test, my doctor looked at the test results and said: “you should be able to run the marathon in 3:30 with these results”. Y tho? Why heap so much pressure on me? I’m terrible like that, if someone tells me I should be able to do it, I want to do it.

But as my first marathon had a visit from a man with a hammer, I want to try and enjoy this one more whilst also running it in a decent time. It’s a bit of a catch 22.
Do I run close to the limits, risking flopping again?
Or do I run conservatively and risk being disappointed with my time again?
If people are wondering whether you can be disappointed after finishing such a grueling challenge, you can. And it all has to do with the expectations you set yourself.

I have been happy with my training and it’s gone well, except for the food poisoning which struck me last week. I managed to run my 30k at 4:54/km. This pace would set me up for a 3:26 finish and that would be a dream. In fact, anything under 3:34 would be amazing, as I would be able to claim to have bettered my marathon time by an hour!

I think the best way to set a goal that I’ll be happy with is to layer it. That way I’ll have a bare minimum which I need to achieve, and a stretch target too. so, here goes:

  1. Beat the time set in Amsterdam (15/10/2017): 4:34
  2. Go under the 4:00 mark
  3. Beat the Amsterdam time by an hour
  4. Go under 3:30

If I manage even one of those, I’ll probably be happy. If I tick them all, I’ll be ecstatic. The countdown has well and truly begun now, only 12 days left! I’ll have one more 2h run this weekend at marathon pace to test the legs, a few short runs next week, and then we carbo-load! Healthy nerves setting in.

 

 

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