I have two marathon virgins in my ASICS Target 26.2 group this year – both incredibly committed to doing their utmost to achieve a time they are proud of.
Mel began running a couple of years ago ‘under duress’ from her husband Martin, who tragically died of cancer last year – and I suspect her determination to cross the finish line in Paris will be, in part, a tribute to him. Mel is already a running club member, covering 20-25 miles a week, so the main focus will be on gearing training more specifically towards the marathon distance and on bringing her times over the shorter distance races down, so that a sub 4.30 debut is achievable. Mel is enthusiastic, positive and resilient – all qualities that will help her reach her goal.
First timer Steve just loves running. And I mean running. He confesses that he finds it ‘almost impossible’ to go for a jog and one of the big challenges for Steve will be to stick to the pace guidelines. He shows great promise over the shorter distances (with a 5K PB of 22.12) but has limited experience of longer races so will need to learn to go slower to get further. He is keen to absorb as much advice and information as possible so I have every confidence he will do this. Given that he’s got this far on a mere 15 miles a week, no consistency or plan - following a structured, progressive plan will definitely help Steve reach his potential.
Ady is no stranger to the marathon – he already has 18 under his belt but things have stalled somewhat over the past four years and he is determined to take a sizeable chunk off his 3.44 PB. His 10K and half-marathon times say it's possible – so the challenge is to get those times to translate to the longer distances. One of Ady’s greatest strengths is that he doesn’t fear the marathon distance. Learning to pace correctly, so that he doesn’t ‘fade’ in the second half is essential and including a mix of traditional long steady runs and ‘quality long runs’ at a faster pace will help build stamina and speed (race specific) endurance.