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Thinking the unthinkable

Katandra Reserve this morning.

After dropping my car off for a service in North Gosford this morning, I ran an easy 20km home via a route that maximised trail and minimised suburbia.  It was another beautiful morning for a run - mild and sunny with wisps of fog in some valleys.  Despite residual fatigue from Sunday's 37km road run, my legs are feeling stronger and I spent much of today's run pondering my running objectives for the next six months.

Clyde Road, this morning.

Incredibly, I'm getting to the point where the sub-3 hour marathon goal is again entering the fringes of my thinking.  I can't quite believe I'm even contemplating it, but assuming my heart problem at Christmas was just a blip, resolved by the Cardioversion, then why is a sub-3 less likely this year than last.  I fully accept it's a remote possibility, but it makes no sense to rule it out.  But maybe a change of approach is needed.  Since resuming running eleven weeks ago, I have been remarkably (for me) sensible in my training.  I haven't aggressively ramped up my mileage, I took a few days off for a minor injury, and I have mostly avoided back-to-back quality (fast or long) training days.  Although it has taken a bit longer than in the past, there has been steady improvement in my speed and endurance and that seems set to continue.

View from Clyde Road this morning.

My new thinking is that I should avoid focussing single-mindedly on the sub-3 hour goal.  Last year, I was trying to run as many kilometres a week as my ageing body could handle, and feeling pressure to improve my base speed.  However, when I look at how I'm running at the moment, and what training I was doing when at my best early last year, I was pretty much running for enjoyment, without sweating on kilometres or speed.

Kincumba Mt this morning.

Although a sub-3 hour marathon is not easy, there were times in my life when I could do it comfortably.  Maybe I need to fine-tune my approach to have fewer quality sessions (fast or long) and run those sessions fresher.  Maybe I also need to avoid targeting a particular marathon and, instead, when I think I'm ready, find one.

It seems to be worth trying, though it runs counter to the approach adopted most of my serious running career.  Counter-intuitively, it may require more self discipline for me than the high-mileage run-regardless regime of the past.