With less than a month to go until the Paris Marathon, today I was confronted by the sheer fucking panic that sets in when a 26.2 mile race is just around the corner and you’re unsure if you’re ready or not.
26.2 fucking miles. What was I thinking?
When you’re new to marathon training it’s normal to be plagued with doubts. I still struggle with thoughts like these.
- How the fuck can I possibly keep going for 26.2 miles? I’ve only ran 16/18/20 miles in training!
- What if I hit the wall?
- What if I don’t manage another 18 mile run before the marathon?
- What if I get injured?
Before my first full marathon, I was in the dark with regards to how my body would cope with the distance.
I ran my first half in training for the 26.2 miles and I just remember being paralysed by the realisation that I had to do 2 laps of the half marathon course to complete the distance.
If I was exhausted after only 13.1 miles, how could I possibly run that distance when I had nothing left to give after the half?
Dropping the pace and focusing on distance.
For my first two marathons I quickly realised that I had not been running far enough.
I made the decision to drastically drop my pace on all of my jogs and run at a 11 minute/mile instead of my preferred 10 minute/mile pace.
It wasn’t ideal but I had to find a way to run further and increase my confidence.
My goal was to finish after all. Pace didn’t matter.
New approach to training this time around
For the Paris Marathon I’ve put distance training before everything else. From the start of January I set out to run as far as I could on every single run.
I made next to no progress with pace during the first month, but my stamina improved drastically over that time.
By focusing on the distance and getting comfortable with it, I’ve built a stable base for myself that has allowed me to experiment with speed work.
I’m going into this marathon knowing that I’m not slowing down.
Far from it, I’m actually speeding up! I’m on the attack as opposed to the back foot for once!
And it’s all thanks to those early 8 mile short runs. Without them I’d still be struggling to break an average 10 minute mile over longer distances.
This morning at 5:30am I ran 11.2 miles as a short run.
And the best thing is that I ran these 11 miles, 10 minutes faster than the my last 11 mile run in January 2013.
For a while in the winter I thought I was never gonna improve. I thought I was doomed to plodding.
It just goes to show what you can do if you’re determined and want to improve.
Never give up hope.