Will Goodall signed up to Run2PB in April 2019 with a goal of breaking 3hrs at the Gold Coast Marathon.
After training for many years as a cyclist, Will switched to running in late 2016 as a way to get more exercise in, which would fit around his family commitments (3 kids under 5) and work.
In 2018, after putting in big mileage with a goal to break 3hrs, his day at the Melbourne Marathon didn't go to plan. "I got the pacing completely wrong and blew out to 3:19."
It was time to get some outside assistance to take the guesswork out of training and look at some specific marathon sessions. He was matched with Coach Zac Newman and together they formulated a plan to break 3hrs, with a structured program that incorporated some of those specific marathon sessions.
A bit over 12 weeks later, Will arrived at the Gold Coast Marathon in July, ready and determined to run a P.B. He had a stormer of a day, running a 12 minute P.B and smashing through the 3hr marathon barrier.
How long you have been running and what do you love about running?
I have always been a cyclist and up until about 4 years ago I had only ever run a bit of cross country and middle distance at school. When we had kids I found I couldn’t fit in proper training on the bike so switched to running. This lit the fire and I gradually built up to start feeling I could be competitive and hit some decent paces.
What drew me into running was that I could always be striving to push myself just that little bit harder. I’ve always enjoyed the discipline of training as a way to zone out of work and life stresses and found that with running I could push myself in ways that I never could with cycling. The reward of getting faster and fitter, while zoning out and relaxing is something that I had never expected and really enjoy.
How did the GC Race pan out?
I’d made the choice to go out aggressively and see what happened. I knew I’d put in the training and was as fit as I’ve ever been but wasn’t really sure how that was going to translate on race day. We got soaked at the start and so took off feeling uncomfortable but was able to settle into a pace group at 4:00 min/km’s and get a really great rhythm. I was able to hold this really comfortably until half way and was feeling great. From there the group picked up the pace a bit and I tried to stick with that but by 25km was realising that wasn’t going to happen.
Once we hit 30km the wheels started to come off a bit and damage control was the order of the day. I was working on turning the legs over and just keeping going. I knew that I was far enough ahead of my primary goal of coming in under 3 hours that it was just a matter of grinding it out. In the end I was really pleased that I smashed through the 3 hour mark, took 12 minutes off my P.B. and was able to grind out those last 10km.
Did you feel confident that you could run a P.B?
In my mind there was never a question that I wouldn’t run a P.B. it was more about how much I could break it by. I knew I had put in much better training than my previous marathons and was conditioned around a much faster pace than I had ever been before.
Was there any specific sessions that you reflect on in the build up?
The session that gave me most confidence that I was really strong was where I ran a ParkRun then straight into 2 x 10 minute tempo. I cracked 18 minutes for the ParkRun for the first time and then was able to roll into the tempo efforts and even kick down a bit at the end. It was just one of those efforts where I felt strong and confident that even when I was hurting I could dig down and find another gear.
How did you manage the combine work, life with all the training, did having an online coach assist you in anyway around managing your time?
I have 3 kids under 6 and work quite a demanding job so finding time for training is always a challenge. The routine I built was to incorporate my running into the commute and keep the sessions really focused. By running to and from work 3 days a week I could just roll the easy kilometres without worrying that I was needing to get something out of the run. This meant that I could focus my energy on the sessions and go into them knowing I had a good base.
Adding in the online coach helped me get more out of those targeted sessions, without over doing it. I am fairly new to running and while I am comfortable in knowing how my body responds, I have never really had the experience to know how to pace my sessions well. In previous build ups I’ve fallen into the trap of going a bit too hard and having the coach to temper the effort was a great thing. I’m aware that my body isn’t getting any younger so having someone tell me to keep things easy has really helped in not getting injured but still keeping progressing.
How has Run2PB assisted your training?
Working with Zac has helped give me the confidence to push a little bit harder when I need to. I feel I have good discipline and do really enjoy training but have never really had the confidence that I was doing the right thing. Just having those sessions pop up in Final Surge and knowing that the splits are attainable and if I hit them I’ll be progressing is a great confidence builder. Previously I may not have done sessions that were all that different but the paces I picked were more arbitrary and I tended to miss the splits much more often.
In terms of feedback. I’m pretty happy with the experience so far and feel like I’ve now got a base to work from and get a lot faster. The only thing that may work better would be to get more feedback on where I could be at. I have some fairly lofty goals that I have picked out of the air but I think I would do really well if I was pushed a little outside my comfort zone. Whether this is just a bit more feedback on whether certain goals are achievable (say a 35 min 10km) and what I would need to be doing to get there. This is probably just my personality and a bit of inexperience in running but I’m usually pretty good at hitting goals once they are laid out there. I also have that competitive streak that once someone tells me they think I can do something I’ll work pretty hard to get there.
Finally, I’d just like to say thanks for the experience so far. You’ve helped build my confidence in my strength and pace. Previously I was happy just running against myself but over the last few months I’ve got more and more enjoyment out of actually racing. Just getting at the pointy end of parkruns has given me the confidence to want to do it in bigger events and while I know I probably won’t compete with the youngsters I do feel like I could be competitive right over the range from 5km to marathon. I’m really looking forward to keeping it up and getting faster and faster!
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