The British runner wants to break his marathon personal best of 2:10 he ran three years ago.
British runner Scott Overall doesn’t mince words when he talks about his running plans. The 31-year-old ran an impressive 2:10 marathon back in 2011, but says that he wants to do better.
On Aug. 4, Overall will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon. He said his coach, Alan Storey, feels like the Dublin race is a good fit for his training program, which is a buildup to the Berlin Marathon in September.
Overall currently lives in Sutton, England, but he was a student-athlete at Butler University in Indiana. He said he especially enjoys the Rock ‘n’ Roll series races. Last year, Overall took part in his first Rock ‘n’ Roll race, the New Orleans Half Marathon. “There were bands on the course and that was quite cool,” he said. “Having them there makes it a bit different from your standard half marathon. Those can be quite boring with nothing to look at or listen to.”
Dublin is a bit of an enigma for Overall. He’s never raced there before and he has yet to know how fast he will go out once the starting gun sounds. His personal best for the half is 1:01:25.
“I don’t have a specific target in mind for Dublin,” Overall said. “It’s kind of up to my coach, really. But I don’t think it will be a PB. I just want to have a competitive race.”
Overall added that he doesn’t expect to know what his race-day plan in Dublin will be until a week or so before the race.
But regardless of time, Overall contends that Dublin is a stepping-stone for him on the way to figuring out the marathon. “Berlin is the target,” he said.
The past few marathons haven’t actually been kind to the British runner. At this year’s edition of the London Marathon in April, Overall clocked a 2:19:55.
“That’s running for you, often you don’t get the rewards you might deserve and it’s painful when it goes wrong,” he blogged after that race. “I will keep picking myself up from these races and try and take some positives from the race. I will continue to train, and hopefully before the year is out I will be writing a more positive blog about a marathon PB—it is a long time coming.”
Overall hopes that the time for redemption is in Berlin this fall.
“My PB dates back to 2011,” he said. “I’ve changed coaches since then. I just need to get a decent marathon under my belt, so anything under 2:10 would be great.”
Overall used to be coached by Indiana-based Robert Chapman and has only run one marathon under the guidance of Storey, who lives in the U.K.
“I needed a change and it’s great that Alan is located here with me,” Overall said. “I get to see him a bit more.”
Overall said Storey focuses a lot more on his heart rate during training and gives him more miles than he’s ever run that prescribe him achieving specific heart rate zones.
It’s hard to get Overall to talk about what’s in store for him after 2014.
“It depends how that race goes,” he said with a chuckle. “I could maybe retire after it.” He said his training has always gone well, but that racing has been a challenge. “After my PB in 2011, I sort of jumped from marathon to marathon without thinking too much about it. I was so desperate to run another good marathon. I felt—and I still feel—that I could run quicker than my 2:10.”
In Overall’s opinion, what’s been missing since his banner performance was speed workouts. “I came from a track background, and before I ran my 2:10, I was doing a lot of races on the track. That’s always been what’s worked well for me. But after Berlin, I sort of lost all levels of speed that I had.”
Overall is now hoping to right those wrongs. He said he’s been focusing on getting into peak 5K and 10K shape this time around.
To Overall, there is still unfinished business in the marathon.
“I don’t want to leave it where my best time was my first-ever race,” he admits. “My long-term goal is to make the Olympics in 2016. I want to run a decent race in Rio—better than what I did in London [he finished 61st in the 2012 Olympic Marathon].”
He will, therefore, take his serious approach to Dublin, but he still looks forward to hearing the music there.
“Can I make a request for songs?” he joked. “If so, I’d like to hear some songs by The Killers, that would be cool to hear them along the course.”