When I decided to enter the Loch Ness Marathon back in May, it seemed such a long way away. I had almost 20 weeks, so much time. Then it was 16 weeks and I was starting the training plan. Now the race is just 3 weeks away.
Back in June when I started the plan, I’d never run farther than 15 miles. I’d raced a couple of half marathons, but nothing could prepare me for what would lie ahead.
Mostly the training has been fine. I’ve enjoyed it, and the midweek sessions have been fun and challenging. The long runs at the weekend though – they’ve been my nemesis. The first time I did 16 miles felt huge, I couldn’t imagine running 18. But I did, then 20, and finally 22, which I’ve now done a couple of times.
My training plan has been based on a goal time of 3:45, which is about 5 mins slower than the McMillan calculator estimates as my race time based on those half marathons back in 2015. That equates to a pace of roughly 8:42/mile, which should be more than doable…..in a half marathon.
However I’m really struggling to imagine how I can hold this pace over 26.2 miles. At this stage in the game the challenge is more mental than physical. My body will be able to run for 26.2 miles, that’s not in doubt. But can it do it at 8:42/mile? That’s what I just don’t know.
I’m afraid of setting off at this pace and blowing up. Of hitting ‘the wall’. I realise this isn’t a fast pace, and that I’ve comfortably run half marathons well below 8:00/mile, but the magnitude of the marathon makes me doubt myself.
I know that I’ve done the training, haven’t missed a session. I’ve been diligent with my nutrition, I’ve rested, stretched and looked after my body. I’ve given myself every chance to be able to run at my goal pace. And yet I still have doubts. I’ve never raced this distance before – it’s a step into the unknown.
I’m going to have to believe. To suck it up, set off at my goal pace and see what happens.
Have you run a marathon before? Did you have doubts before your first one? How did you approach pacing it? I’d love to know.
This week in numbers:
Miles run – 44.8
Time on my feet – 6:49:59