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It has been said, by wiser men then myself, that running is a mental sport, to this I ad my humble amen.
Published on March 9, 2007 By mormegil In Sports & Leisure
LA Marathon training program: (Post Mortem)

Friday March 8th, 2007

It has been said, by wiser men then myself, that running is a mental sport, to this I ad my humble amen. While I admit I am quite upset that I did not do as well as I wanted, over all this marathon was good experience. I have taken the last four days to recover, and to put my thoughts together, and I thought I would wrap up this training marathon, with what the lessons I learned.

  As I mentioned the day of the race, I finished with a final time of 4:28:46. Placing 3566 of some 26000 participants. I cant really feel to bad about this. My dream time was 3:30:00, over the last few months I had realized that I was probably being a bit optimistic, and that 3:45:00 was a better goal. As it turns out I was right, but like most first time marathoners kept shooting for the faster time. This would have been bad enough. But come race day I actually ran the first half of the marathon at almost a minute a mile faster then even my 3:30 pace. This was my first and largest Mistake. At one point I was over a half mile ahead of ware I should have been.

  I say that running out to fast was my Biggest mistake. Lets take a look at the mistakes and the lessons learned.

  1) I ran the first 12 miles at a average of 7:30, this was 30 seconds under my planed pace. I say average, because I topped out at 6:45. This was a huge mistake. Any experienced marathon runner will tell you that a marathon is all about being able to control your pace. This is the Mental sport that I referred to above, and this is were I failed. Because of this by the second half of the run I was lucky to keep my pace above 11:00, my muscles were simply to fatigued.
  2) I managed to train to hard and and not hard enough at the same time. I spent the last 16 weeks on a very rigorous schedule. At several points during this program I realized that I was setting my sites to high. But because I was finishing all my runs I kept going. The result was I did improve my speed quite a bit, but I never really got my endurance up to were it needed to be.

  3) I set my goals to high. This should have been obvious to me from the start. But Being a noob to running I did not see it. To put things in perspective, I checked the official result. If I had ran at 3:30 I would have finished 430th out of 26000. Even in the height of my optimism, I never thought I would place that high. I think now that even if I had controlled my pace, and stayed at 8:00 I would not have been able to hit 3:30. I most likely would have just hit the wall 6 or 8 miles further down the road. I am however quite sure that had I set my goal for 3:55, a 9:00 pace. I would have been fine. This is something I will be finding out soon enough.

  4) I was was to stressed out, I could not sleep the two days before the race. This was mostly because I knew at some level that I was shooting for to fast a time. I also knew that I was going to make mistakes. Unfortunately as always this contributed to me making them.

Now when it comes to lessons learned I can some up much more quickly.

  1) Find a realistic pace, and stick to it. (I knew this already, but now it is burned in my brain)

  2) The first half of a marathon is the first 20miles, and the second half is the last 6. No matter how slow or fast you run, the last six miles are always hard.

  3) No matter how hard you train, or how much you study, you are never ready for your first marathon.

  4) Running a marathon is not about speed, its how far you can go before fatigue stops you. Building speed is good, but building endurance is what gets you over the the finish line.

  5) Running is a mental sport, not a physical one. Discipline is the most important ingredient marathon running.

  I am sure most experienced runners out there will read this and say, DA, but I am still less then a  year into running, and we noobies sometime have to learn things the hard way.  Some ware around mile 16 of the 2007 LA marathon I was about ready to give up running forever. Now 4 days later I have already planned out my two months of training. Culminating in the Cincinnati Marathon, on May 6th. I am taking my own advice and setting my goals much more realistically, but that's another blog.


View my full 16 Week training program.

on Mar 09, 2007
I think you did awesome. Just completing one is an accomplishment but you had a respectable time and place even if it didn't make your goal.

Good luck in Cinci.

I could tell you about my goal to finish a 5k in less than 30 minutes to make you feel better - lol. I have improved with each one raced so that's something.
on Mar 09, 2007

In some ways 5k's are as hard as a marathon, each second off your time is a achivment. 30 miutes is a good goal to start with, but becareful its eazy to get addicted.

on Mar 09, 2007
I'm lucky I can go like 26

Congratulations on all your accomplishments. You should be very proud of yourself!