Maddeningly Simple Marathon Strategy and Goal

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Starting Line

Starting Line

Ten years ago my strategy for the Steamtown Marathon was to run 8:13 per mile. I maintained a regimented training program–intervals, speed work, hills, cut weight, stopped smoking my occasional cigar, and replaced Guinness with Yuengling Lite (drastic measure.) I succeeded that year and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

I return to Steamtown this Sunday with a new strategy and goal. My strategy is to refrain from looking at a clock until I get to the finish line. Even by accident that will be difficult. My goal is much more modest–not to finish last. That one is in the bag.

My entire life I’ve admired those seasoned runners (a gentle term for ‘old’,) who’d show up for a race of any distance. They inspired me and I swore that one day I would run marathons when I reached their stage of life. This year I’m excited to run in a new age group–60-64. I didn’t sacrifice the cigar and Guinness this time around, but when I cross the finish line I will be the happiest man in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Finish Line

Finish Line

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Maddeningly Simple Marathon Strategy and Goal

  1. Mark Mangan says:

    Love the phrase “Maddeningly Simple”. Could be a name for a band or a song. Very catchy! Have fun at Steamtown!

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  2. runner500 says:

    Love those photos! Just looked at the profile – I can see why you are looking forward to it! Have a great day!

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      The photos are actually from birthday card my brother gave me over the years. The inside of the card with the last photo says, “Admit it – a bowel movement never felt this good at thirty.” He’s my hero, my brother I mean.

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  3. joanne brennan says:

    Way to go hon. So proud of you. Love you

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  4. Good luck, Jim!
    You’ve just touched a question I’m pondering these days: should we ever look at our watches to know how fast (in my case: slow)) we are running?
    Before I got a watch, I didn’t really know how fast I was running. I was confident, and took on races without any worries. Now that I know my speed, I’m afraid I’m losing my confidence! Getting older does not help, of course…

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      There was a day I followed the clock, and certainly for a runner looking for a PR or qualifying for something you must. But I can tell you this with certainty – once I stopped watching the clock, running became much more enjoyable.

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  5. I hear it’s a good PR course…is it all downhill!? Can’t wait to hear your recap!

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  6. I won’t be at Steamtown, but will be keeping you company out on the running circuit. I love to see other seasoned faces out there on the courses. Have a great time at Steamtown.

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