Bar the shouting it’s all over. 3 months of good solid training is over and all the strength (both mental and physical) and confidence that training delivered has gone in a flash.
With just 3 sleeps to the marathon I’ve got all the usual nerves and doubt. I suppose this is a good thing because up until this morning I was cruising along blind to the task ahead (i.e. I wasn’t that worried about it). I’ve been reading all the bulletin boards and they are full of people making fantastic predictions for their finishing times. Something along the lines of ‘Well, this is my second marathon and my first one was a bit of a struggle at 3:57 so I hope to do a 3:17 for this one’. My approach is more like: ‘well, my last one was a 3:25 so if all goes well for this one a finish between 3:20 and3:30 would be great’.
That said, my approach is borne out of a respect for the marathon as opposed to a complete lack of confidence.
Since I woke up to my summer of cruising at around 30 miles a week in mid-August I’ve had a pretty decent run of training. The weeks would go something like this:
Monday – off
Tuesday – 4 miles easy
Wednesday – 10 miles
Thursday – 6 miles
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – 8 miles hills
Sunday – long slow run – 14/14/16/18/20/22/24/15 (race)/20/14
During the height of the running (say, at the 22 and 24 LSRs) I dropped the Saturday hills. This was mainly because of exhaustion but also because of a slight niggle in the left knee and the fact that the long run the next day was including these hills as well.
I think I only missed one run – a 4 mile recovery run.
This sort of mileage led to my biggest month ever – September 2010 was a 210 mile month.
In term of what shape I’m in I think it is at least as good as Cork earlier on this year. If I’m suffering from anything (apart from the obvious taper hypochondria) it would have to be a lack of motivation to achieve anything. My marathon PB is 3:20. If I went faster I think I’d be happy but I don’t know would I be hopping up and down with joy. I think this is pointing to the fact that I might be looking towards another goal (an ultra seems the inevitable, doesn’t it?)
My plan for Monday is to try not to get caught up in the mad sprint at the start and to stay comfortable for the first 8 miles – even if this feels a bit slow (memo to self – will never happen). My experience is that it is the second third of the marathon where you set yourself up for the final 10 miles.
For me, a cold day (shivering at the start and the first 4 miles with numb hands) is ideal. Anything that doesn’t involve shivering is not my day (As I write this the TV forecast is predicting a high of 10 degrees for Monday.)
Anyway, the Friday night glass of wine is on hold (replaced with a vitamin C drink) and I might have a bit of a snack before the bed.
Good luck to all who hope to start and finish on Monday. You have my respect.