I’m two weeks away from running the Gold Coast Marathon.
Normally at this stage I’d be a nervous wreck, but I’m unnaturally calm. Training has been a bit up and down. Good weeks interspersed with a few minor injuries and a head cold (although Jenn, my wife, reckons I carry on like I’ve got ebola if I get sick in the lead up to a big race), but overall its pretty solid.
I started my preparation with a fixed target in mind, and everything has been geared around that. Whatever the state of my preparation now, that is still the target.
In the past I’ve come into races second guessing myself. My training might have gone well so I’ll look at running calculators and try to extrapolate my results from a shorter race to a predicted marathon time.
The problem is, most of the race calculators you can find on the internet are based on the records of elite athletes, and while I like to think of myself as one of these in reality I’m far from it. The predications these calculators provide therefore are wildly optimistic, and can actually result in a worse outcome. How so? Well, if you trust in the predictions you might start out too fast and in a marathon that can come back to bite you in the backside – the end result is you can struggle and slow significantly in the final 7-10km. If you’d gone out at a slower pace initially you might have been better able to hold that pace over the distance.
The other issue is that most of the calculators don’t allow for other variables like the weather. A warm day or a strong headwind will have a significant impact on your result in a way that the calculators don’t take into account.
For now, having started working with a coach this year I’m trusting in his experience and judgement.
I regularly meet people who are having similar problems with their finances. They want to understand how their accumulated savings can translate into a regular income, or how much they need to save to get the results they are after.
While there are many calculators online designed to help with this, most of them are based on wildly optimistic assumptions – for instance, when was the last time your investments achieved the same results in consecutive years, yet these calculators assume that will happen for 40 or 50!
If you believe these calculators you might end up in a worse position because you don’t do enough work (don’t save enough – equivalent to training) or you draw a level of income that’s not sustainable (like starting a race too fast and hitting the wall, hard).
While there are no guarantees, by looking at a range of possible outcomes under good, bad and average conditions you can have a better idea of what is possible and act accordingly, adapting to the conditions as you go along.
If you’d like talk about what might be possible, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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