Four weeks into the training schedule for my first marathon and the magnitude of the run that I'm preparing for begins to set in. Less than a quarter of the way into training and my long runs on the weekend are pushing up into the longer runs I've ever done.
As the weekly miles start to increase, I remember how hard it can be on my body.
In week 7 of the 18 week program, I have a 14 miler which beats my half marathons for the longest runs I've experienced. That alone is a bit intimidating, but it's also exciting to think that I'll be setting distance PRs every couple of weeks over the coming months. It's always been a mental help for me when I know that every step I'm grinding out is extending my personal record.
Most intimidating at this point is the fact that my training runs cap at 20 miles when I'm training for 26.2. The thinking behind that makes very good sense, but knowing that my longest training run is barely three quarters of my goal makes me uneasy. In training for half marathons, my prep has taken me within a mile of the 13.1 goal distance and it's a lot easier to imagine covering one extra mile than six extra. I do get that pushing much past 20 would probably be doing more harm than good though, particularly on my first foray into this caliber of running.
The Hal Higdon training programs have yet to steer me wrong, however, so I will trust in the process. I've used two of the half marathon schedules and one of the 5k schedules and been able to achieve the goals I set for each so I'm doing my best to convince myself this won't be any different so long as I stick to it and keep grinding out the miles.
Besides, my time goal is to finish in under four hours so all I have to do is crank a nice, long Hardcore History episode and let my body do the rest.