Each year I set my marathon goal. While the outcome is straight forward, either I met it or not, the process of setting my goal is far from simple. Let alone the subsequent training and race day performance. Allow me to explain.
Setting realistic marathon goal is not as straight forward as it sounds. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon used to be the gold standard. It’s no more. Because of Boston’s field size limitation, qualified runners are being cut off from the coveted race.
You see, the published Boston qualification standards is a necessary but insufficient measure. To actually be accepted into the race depends not only how one performs but also how other runners perform in the same age category (Five minutes faster than the standards have been the trend for acceptance in the past few years).
In other words, Boston has a floating target. No specific time qualification will guarantee entry. So what is my alternative? To finish? To have fun? or To run as fast as possible (PR)? I tend to pick choice #3 PR.
But after a while, it begins to feel like I’m banning my head against the wall or spitting into the wind. I am not sure if chasing the PR is even feasible after certain age. Thus lies my dilemma.
How do you determine your marathon goal?