Alan Robertson only decided on the day of the race that he would run the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2013. Due to recurrent injuries, he had only done a minimum of long runs and felt unprepared for the race – but decided on the day to give it a try. Although he didn’t manage a personal best, he still finished with a very respectable 3h 52m.
‘I had some issues with my right calf muscle and blisters on my left foot throughout training, which caused me to miss a lot of the long runs. I had only done two long runs of 32km each, which was very little. I also suffered a sudden onset of sciatica pain on my right side just before the race – so wasn’t sure whether I would be able to compete this year’, Alan explains. ‘However, on the day of the race, I decided to do the marathon. I felt that I was underprepared, and didn’t really feel ready – but I knew I could complete it’.
Unlike his 2012 training schedule, Alan’s 2013 marathon training was a little more ‘casual’. He continued to run after the 2012 marathon, so he already had a good base, which helped. On Tuesday nights he would often do hills or sprints, on Wednesday, he usually ran 10km, occasionally he would squeeze in a run on Friday and on the weekend, wherever possible, he would do a long run.
‘Race day was hot’, Alan adds, ‘a little too hot for me’. ‘The hardest part was around 16km. I felt tired, so I took some gels, and was OK after that. I stopped at all the water stations, soaked myself in water and kept taking gels.’. At around 21km, Alan could feel that he had a recurring large blister on the ball of his left foot and then soon after, another large blister on the middle of his foot started to swell up – but he kept going.
‘It felt good to see the finish and, spurred on by the cheering crowd, I sprinted to the finish line, passing about 4 or 5 people on my way. My time? 3h 52 min. I didn’t make my goal of 3h 45m, and wasn’t super happy with the time – but I know I can do better with smarter, longer training and without injuries’, he adds.
What’s up next? Alan is planning to rest for a while to let the injuries heal and will then mix in some cross training – cycling and other summer sports – with running. His next goal? Alan is looking for a running coach to help him push his time to 3h 30m in his next marathon.