I have recently been getting asked whether or not I feel ready for Sunday. And the answer is: yes and no. I know for a fact that I will finish the marathon, even if I have to walk/crawl the last
2 miles 5 miles 10 miles. But I still don’t know if I exactly feel ready for it. In terms of physical training, I think I have prepared as well as I could have.
As I have mentioned before, I basically did all of the planning and training for this marathon on my own. I did a lot of online research (aka googling) before deciding how I would train. All of the beginner programs have the same basic principles, so I ended up combining a few and creating one for myself. It’s not very scientific or even specific, but it worked for me (or at least, so far so good…)
Basically, I ran about 5 days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays would involve some sort of speed/tempo/hill element that I made up, Wednesday would be shorter and easy, Saturdays were long runs and Sunday was for recovery runs. I also usually went to the gym for weights/cross training on Mondays, but those were often very half-hearted workouts, and I almost always rested on Fridays. Sometimes I would end up taking an extra rest day on Sunday and running on Monday instead, but I didn’t stray from my normal pattern too many times. My peak running week got up to 47.25 miles, which is low for many runners but on the higher end of the typical recommendation for a first time marathoner. I only did a 20 miler once, something I have questioned quite a bit (and would most likely would change in the future), which was 3 weeks before the marathon and right before I started tapering.
Here is my very sophisticated and tech-savvy method of recording workouts:
This is only the last 2 months of training, but I had been building up mileage for a long time before this. I honestly only started using these calendars to keep a record of the amount I ran. It was easiest for me to just print out some calendars and map out when I wanted my longest runs and then form everything else around that. Everything on there was really a general guide and I often didn’t follow my own plan very closely.
Now with all that said, I could have used a lot more time to work on my speed and to build up to the marathon a little more sensibly. I think the truth is that there is no way I would ever go into my first marathon feeling like I am 100% prepared. But as I said, I think this was the best I could have done in terms of training my body for a first marathon on my own.
The real question is whether or not I am ready for all the rest of it. I have no idea how my body will react after 20 miles. I may hit the wall. I may get complete jello legs. I know I will get crazy pains in new places. I could get a little voice in my head that says I can’t do this. And unfortunately, that’s the stuff you can’t train for. You can work on being mentally strong and pushing through obstacles to some extent, but I really don’t think its possible to train for everything you are going to go through during 26.2 miles.
I am still in the process of forming my goals and will talk about them later, but I can tell you that they will be pretty conservative.
So once again, am I really ready for this marathon? As ready as I will ever be, I think. Now it’s just time to trust myself and go for it.