Season’s ending

My second marathon season is coming to its very end with the Graz Marathon 2008 on Sunday, October 12. It’s been a long year with two marathons and one half marathon. I have set new personal records over both distances so I can – even before the marathon on Sunday – look back at a really successfull year.
But now everything is focused on Sunday. The weatherforecast is good and bad. Good as the weather will be all sunshine and blue skies which will attract a lot of spectators and will add to an exciting run. Bad as the temperatures will be soaring at around 21 to 24° C at noon. Since I feel much more comfortable in the cool, the temperatures will pose another challenge. Still there is nothing to fear. I am very well prepared.
I started to train for the marathon on Monday, 30 June 2008. In the 103 days that have elapsed, I have covered 1,505 kilometers – an average of 100 kilometers per week – and spent 128 hours on the track (average 8:30 hrs/week).
Bild Leo Winter
I have had the best support you can imagine: Georg Ruess, one of Austria’s best marathon runners, who set his personal best last Sunday in Bregenz, becoming 3rd in the Austrian Marathon Championships in 2:27 hrs, designed my running plans and hung out with me on the phone patiently, providing me with so much invaluable information.
Leo Winter, you can see him at work in the picture above, my masseur from the old days in Austria’s 2nd division with Flavia Solva, took care of my legs and helped improving the problems with my Achilles tendons with his superb Medi tapes. He worked at the Olympic Games in 1998 in Nagano for the Austrian Skiing Team and is the expert for sore legs and all muscle related problems.

I also had the pleasure to share a few runs with Christian Kleineberg, one of the best runners in the region and my team mate at Stefflhof Adventures. Although we could not always train together, just knowing that someone was out there in the early morning of the hot summer days, training for the same event, was motivating and we regularly exchanged our training efforts afterwards. All the best for Christian on Sunday. He’s aiming for a 2:39 hrs time and I am sure, he’ll beat it.
And, of course, there’s always Sylvia, my wife, who is my greatest support. Thanks, Syl, for your patience and understanding. Thanks for all those Cranio-Sacral therapies which helped so much. I love you.

Sunday will be tough. Especially, after 11.30 a.m., when the sun will be out and scorching. It is a time when the marathon enters its decisive stage at KM 25. It’s good to know that Martin Hackl will be at my side with his bike, supporting me physically and mentally. This will be a real advantage and the major reason why I am very confident, despite the hassles with my Achilles tendons in late August, that I am able to run a personal best.
I will try to take it easy at the beginning with an average speed of 4:03 to 4:05 on the first 15 ks, making sure to keep my HR in the low 150s. My goal is to stay under 160 beats per minute until KM 25. In this case a lot will be possible because I have prooved that I can run fast on the last third of a marathon.