Parma Marathon before Parma Marathon

2023, and I’m about to take on an epic challenge. This time, though, my preparation has been different, dominated by the upcoming participation in the UTMB in September, an event that significantly differs from a traditional marathon build-up.

Preparing with a Fresh Perspective

Today, I want to share my thoughts on race strategy for this particular marathon. No superstitions or hidden tactics, just an open and honest approach to planning. Interestingly, this year, I decided to steer clear of the usual early race registrations, a change that has stirred a sense of anxiety within me. However, it also represents an opportunity to try something new.

The Goal and My Feelings

The primary question on my mind is this: What strategy should I adopt? My feelings lead me to believe that the traditional 4 minutes and 15 seconds per kilometer pace might be out of reach, unlike my goal to finish under the elusive three-hour mark, just like I did in Florence last year (it would help, like a sort of confirmation).

My Race Strategy

After analyzing my previous times and the pace I’ve maintained in past tests, I’ve come to terms with aiming for a marathon finish between 3 hours and 15 minutes and 3 hours and 20 minutes, well below my initial ambition. This has led me to consider using the Parma Marathon as an extended training run, hoping for more favorable weather conditions (although I fear it might be hot even if it rains) and ample time to prepare for my next challenge: the Reggio Emilia Marathon 2023.

Putting My Strategy into Action

The strategy I have in mind is bold. I’ll start with a brisk pace, aiming to complete the first 10 kilometers in 44 minutes and the half marathon in 1 hour and 32 minutes. Then, I’ll assess how things unfold at the 30-35 kilometer mark and decide whether to push through to the finish or retry in December (I’m also considering the option of dropping out early while still earning that beautiful medal).

The Power of Emotions

I know myself well enough to recognize that I often experience a significant drop in the final kilometers. However, I also remember the overwhelming energy of the crowd cheering me on in Florence. While betting on a negative split will be challenging, my passion for running and the desire to surpass myself propel me forward. I’m also considering the comments on my Instagram post related to this plan, contemplating whether it’s wise to start with a lighter pace initially and truly consider a negative split if the sensations are good. Share your thoughts.

The Course and My Personal Challenge

Despite slight alterations to the course, I know what lies ahead. The first 21 kilometers may seem uphill (and they are… and it’s not uncommon for someone to curse the 21K turnaround, which seems to take forever to arrive), but the fatigue doesn’t subside after crossing the levee. The final stretch will be demanding, but I’m ready to face the challenge with determination.

This Parma Marathon 2023 represents much more than just a race. It’s an opportunity for growth, self-improvement, and a deepening passion for running. It’s a journey of self-discovery that I’ve come to appreciate during and after the UTMB. Every runner has their strategy, but what matters most is dedication and the courage to take on the challenge. Whether it’s a personal race against the clock or a battle against oneself, every step represents a victory. Happy running!