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First Marathon

Michael from the Netherlands ran his first marathon 10days ago, I asked him a few questions to know more about his experience:

Q: Why did you want to run a marathon?

A: Running a marathon has been my dream since I was recovering from an operation at the end of 2014. I couldn’t wait to start running again and thought about a new goal. I thought about becoming 65 in 2016 and running my first marathon in the same year would be very appropriate.

Q: How did you prepare for the marathon?

A: I set out my goal to Sidney, my hungry runner coach. We decided to use 2015 to train and run a couple of 10K’s, trails and half-marathons, to gain strength and speed. 2016 would be used preparing for the marathon itself. In 2015 I ran in total 1505 km. My half marathon time progressed from 1:43:26 to 1:37:26. Most important for me was that I liked the ever changing training sessions Sidney came up with, progressed in speed and didn’t get any injury, even not after intensive training. Sidney’s approach was working out very well for me. At the end of 2015 I was confident I could train for the marathon: the real work would start in 2016! In 2016 the training intensity doubled almost. I ran 704 km’s in 2016 preparing for the marathon in April. My longest distance was 28 km’s, but I had two weeks of 80 and 100 km training in total. In my running group people were astonished by the scheme Sidney came up with. “No run of 30 or 35 km? Amazing, everybody does that when preparing for a marathon”. But I felt confident, as Sidney had proven that his approach worked in 2015!

Q: Was it difficult to do, all these long training hours?

A: I loved it. Sidney incorporated my group training as much as possible in his scheme. And I had a running mate (Cliff) who wanted to run the marathon as well, so we ran the endurance runs together. It would be his 5th marathon. And we tried to run in different places (dunes, polders, woodlands, trailruns and so on). Happily it was a relative warm winter (almost no freezing or snow).

Q: So, as the marathon approached, you got nervous?

A: Yes, tension was rising. But I was more nervous for a 25 K race in January 2016 (which I finished in 1:58) than for the marathon itself. The day before the marathon I ran a very relaxed and nice training round with my daughter. And Sidney gave me confidence telling my that I was very well prepared. I felt very well prepared for the marathon. I had even trained how and when to drink and eat during the marathon.

Q: Did you have a target running your first marathon?

A: Yes, I wanted to finish in a reasonable manner within 4 hours. But as the event came nearer we decided to go for 3:45.

Q: And how was the marathon itself?

A: One word: awesome. It went quite easy. Peace of cake ;-). Weather was perfect (14 degrees, no wind, sunshine). Rotterdam has a nice, changing route through the city. At first I had to slow myself down, because I did not want to start to fast. After 32 K it became a bit hard, but I could accelerate at the end. My wife, daughters and running mates were standing along the race course to encourage us. And the last 3 km’s I was so exited that I would finish in time. I am very proud to finish in 3:40. Never expected that. All credits to my coach. And I think there is even room for improvement.

Q: Oh, are you thinking of more marathons?

A: Yes, at my age I don’t have much time left. I think I can run two marathons a year. So maybe Amsterdam this autumn. And then maybe Berlin, Paris, Rome, NewYork, Sydney. Who knows? With the help of Sidney and as long as I am fit and able to run.

Q: How are you feeling now?

A: the two days after the marathon I could walk but I could hardly go down a staircase. I did lots of stretching. On the 4th day I went cycling (easy) for 50 kilometres, which went very well. Yesterday we made a beautiful cycling trip through the bulb fields. And now (a week after the marathon) I want to start running again. Don’t tell my coach, but if possible I will join my running group for a very easy run tomorrow.

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