We had a game plan today. To ready ourselves for our spring marathons my crew entered a local 10k race. We had a game plan today of holding our respective marathon goal paces for the duration of the 10k — after doing an 18k warmup.
On tired legs we reached the start line. On even more tired legs we would finish the race. A barometer to see just how strong we really are at this stage of training. A barometer to see what improvements must be made in order to succeed later.
You learn a lot about yourself in this early phase of training. Can you control your pace? Can you control your ego? Others will pass you, can you resist the urge to chase after them? Can you stay within yourself and stick with the plan? And most importantly, can you finish the 10k despite the nifty wrinkle of running almost double that distance already?
Today I went out too hard. My opening kilometre being a full 19 seconds swifter than intended. I needed to dial it back and appreciate what my marathon pace truly feels like. To risk continuing at this faster pace would mean risking a crash before the finish. Something that has happened to me too many times at the marathon distance. If I am to succeed come May, I must show restraint now.
Today I would finish 40 seconds ahead of my goal. Meaning that I did in fact manage to reign in my earlier speed. Overall my pacing proved decent. Yet it is still very much a work in progress.
It is however, early days. For I have more than 3 months to get smarter with my pacing. Over 3 months to get faster. Over 3 months to get stronger.
Time, in this case, would appear to be on my side. But I know this to be an illusion. Indeed the next few weeks will pass all too quickly. Soon it will be race day morning in May.
At that time we will see whether or not I have been able to transform myself into a better runner. At that time we will see what I can truly do.