Once marathon training officially begins, distances and times become obsessive. If the schedule says 24 miles, rather like the Dickens character, achieve 24.1 miles, result happiness. Reach only 23.9, result misery! Since the end of my marathon season* last year which ran from late December through to around late May, I have hardly used my Garmin forerunner 205. OK its come out for a few races, and did good service when we were planning the River Relay in September. I used it a lot on planning runs for the Richmond 13.1 course. But for general running I just work on known distances and don’t worry too much about the time.
This escape from the tyranny of time is great as on a summer lap of Richmond Park I feel free to look at the scenary, perhaps picking up the pace if I am closing on another runner, or more likely, when another runner overtakes me! All is good until I get out on a club run. Inevitably, bent over and panting for breath I’ll ask, “did anyone get a time on that?”
The start of the new programme is already signalling an end to “time out”. The log book and training schedule are already up as an excel spreadsheet and ready to run. The Garmin has come out of the draw and onto the charger. Its definitely time for “time in”. So for the next six months I’ll be another running anorak, poring over distance and time, looking at average pace and setting out benchmark races. Its great, its absorbing, it takes over your life. Who among us can say, hand on heart, that we won’t be sneaking away from the TV on Christmas afternoon for a quick peek at their training programme? (If you can say no to this question, don’t worry. It doesn’t make you a bad runner, just a normal person!) I’m already looking forward to Time in, but its good to know there is a Time out phase to follow.
* My 2012 marathon season included the Paris Marathon In April, the Three Forts Challenge in early May (27.1 miles off road and very hilly, technically an ultra?) and the Green Belt Relay in late May (2 legs in two days totaling around 24 miles).