In the midst of all my fun with cycling I’ve been following a sixteen week marathon training plan that gradually builds up to distances of at least twenty miles for weekend long runs. Until the last couple weeks the mileage was low enough that it wasn’t a major undertaking but this week I’m scheduled for an eighteen mile long run. For a non-runner this probably sounds absurd, but even for me, having trained for and run a marathon last October, this is still a pretty big deal.
With the Marine Corps Marathon only about ten weeks away the weekly long run is crucial. In my opinion its way more important than the midweek runs, though I am doing speedwork once per week consistently. This is necessary if I’m going to get a new marathon PR this year. And I AM going to get a new marathon PR this year. My training is based on four week cycles of increasing mileage for three weeks then a rest week. This helps create the appropriate biorhythm to effectively peak on race day.
As I sit at this little desk at the little hotel in Hornell, NY I’m thinking about running eighteen miles tomorrow. I got to bed late last night and I’ll be up early again tomorrow, then close to three hours driving home, lunch, then my run. Hopefully I packed in enough fuel today to help me out tomorrow, and hopefully I’m well rested, but that’s not looking good judging by this hotel bed.
I’m not even necessarily dreading the run or worried that I don’t have the strength or fitness, its just that time before I actually start running that certain fears and doubts try to creep in. Do I have the legs for 18? I didn’t sleep much last night, do I really have the energy for this? Once I get a couple miles into the run I’m fine but it is definitely tough to get started sometimes. Its not hard to come up with every excuse not to do it.
Anyway, eighteen is significant mileage in my book. It’ll be a tough one for me, but necessary and well worth the effort. I even noticed that on Dailymile I get more comments on runs over thirteen miles. As Dan (@misterfonzie) put it, “people always want to be impressed”. Marathons definitely aren’t everyones’ bag, but I really enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction of finishing. I like pushing myself and battling through the tough runs. So if you’re in the area on October 30th, stop by D.C. and cheer me and 38,000 of my friends on our quest for 26.2.