Marathon training days – part 2

It’s less than a week now until I get to the starting area of my very first marathon distance run. The last weeks and month of training were pretty exciting and also full of experience. I learned a lot about myself and my physiological limits. To be honest, I knew that training for a marathon wouldn’t be easy, but nonetheless I tried pushing too many times beyond my personal limits without listening to my body.

But that’s actually a thing I was expecting from this kind of training, to get to know myself better to do better in the future. Last time I mentioned, that the distance beyond half-marathon distance felt pretty much like a struggle that wasn’t manageable. Meanwhile after a couple of runs around the 30km mark I wouldn’t say that I feel as comfortable with the long distance as it is with a 10K run, but I can say that I know what’s coming and how to handle it.

During the training in the last couple of month I suffered from multiple setbacks. First I had problems with my shinbone, that was hurting like hell after each run. I was able to fix this problem by starting to run with compression calf sleeves. After fixing this problem I had to limit my amount of training and even completely stop it for a couple of days due to a yellow fever vaccination. And after I got through this my hamstring started to hurt pretty badly after each run and my heel tickled as well. These problems are mainly over now and I could say that I’m well prepared for the upcoming marathon in Berlin next weekend, but I’m not.

Recently I had to stop with my training again because I had some major problems with my digestion. I felt very exhausted and tired during the last couple of days and today is the very first day where I feel normal again. I missed nothing serious but anyhow I missed something – even though it’s tapering time. I wanted to do a longer 21K in a medium fast pace to get a last check of what’s to come, but it seems, the marathon premiere will lift its curtain without the dress rehearsal.

Negative things aside. I feel very much like I made a lot of progress over the last months and by regarding the progress over last year I would say that I made a huge step forward. It all started with a small company relay run in September 2013, continued with a 13K run at the marathon event in my hometown and grew to three half-marathons in a row in the beginning of 2014 in Berlin, Prague and Tangermünde.

My primary goal for the marathon in Berlin is to arrive and make it to the finish line. Time is secondary. I do of course have a set time goal, but it would be non-realistic to start in my first marathon chasing a pace without any 42.195km experience. If it feels right to run at a certain set pace it will be fine otherwise I would arrange myself with everything else possible.

Marathon training days – part 1

Marathon – that’s the goal. That’s what I plan to do in September. That’s all what my current life is about.

It’s quite an interesting experience to prepare for a marathon run, even after finishing four half-marathons this year and the overall feel to finally get used to long distances, the distance beyond 21km is something completely different. In several test runs I started running 26km and even 32km to find out how it comforts me and it was a tough lessen I had to learn.

Even with 5km over half-marathon distance I struggled to reach my training goal, which was only to make it over the whole distance. I ran the 26km with my girl-friend, accompanying me and providing me with hydration. It was on of the first real warm days of the year and I had some problems with it. In the meantime I finally got used to it and would also say, that I feel comfortable at higher temperatures. But back on this very day kilometers 22 to 26 felt just tough. Not only because of the warmth outside, also because my legs felt heavy.

A couple of weeks later I had a 32km run with a colleague of mine. My training plan was set for 28km, but on this day we ran 32km. That was a huge mental problem for me. I was very happy to reach the 28km mark and I could have stopped instantly but my colleague just said “Why don’t we continue till we reach the bridge?” or “Why don’t we run back to car?”

This may sound easy, but for me, as a runner who just felt a little comfortable with half-marathon distance and covering a mileage over a period of just one year, it was a huge hurdle to master. I struggled but at the end of the run I had the 32km mark popping up on my GPS watch and was just glad.

It’s still a long way to run, to finally reach the form I need to reach and conquer the marathon mark, but it’s possible. From now on I can say, it’s just 10km more. Before these runs I had things like “And now I have to run half-marathon two times?” in my mind. Adding the 10K to my current longest distances made is a much better motivation than a simple ‘now I have to do it again’ thing.