I'm in the last 5 weeks of training for my first marathon, and I'm trying to find out what might be out there in that last 10K that I haven't experienced or trained for yet. (Please pardon the long post!)
Here's who I am as a runner:
What I've learned over the last few years:
So, the question is:
What's out there that I haven't seen yet that would be GREAT to know about those last 6 miles BEFORE I start out of the gate in October?
What have you learned that was different for you when you moved into 20+ miles and/or 3.5+ hrs of gliding over the Roads Less Traveled?
I appreciate any advice you might offer.
Basically, somewhere around 20 miles (for most of us mortals) you run out of readily available fuel (glycogen stores) and your body resorts to burning primarily fat, which is a much less efficient process than burning glycogen. This is colloquially known as "the wall". At that point you may encounter relatively high levels of both physical and mental fatigue. Your feet may begin to feel like concrete blocks and your legs like immovable pillars. That's hyperbole of course, but at that point you may find it apt. I've never experienced the mental side of it other than just wondering if it's all worth it and should I continue. (There is something in me that always insists that I started, so I WILL finish.) But I've read of other issues such as losing concentration and a kind of mind-body disconnect, and even to the extent of minor hallucinations. Again, maybe hyperbole, since I've never experienced these things.
Len - I love your reply.... another hyperbole that I've heard is that at 20+ miles we enter "the black hole", where anything can happen. But oddly enough, there is some truth to that since this is exactly where the results of all of the endurance training actually kicks in. I only have one marathon under my belt, but I remember thinking at mile 20 that I "only" had 6 more to go, and anyone can run 6 miles....
I find that if I don't out run my fitness it's just running a 10K on very tired legs! If I have paced badly (I have done this) it's not a pretty site! So pace wise go slow for the 1st part of the race and take your fuel, and it will be hard but very very doable! Best advise pace wise and stay positive!
Thanks, BOSNPM, bill and Len! I appreciate the responses, particularly when I probably didn't post this in the right forum.
Anyway... glad to hear some things I was thinking anyway (because I've heard them from other sources too): get serious about a slow start, consume energy early on, and steel myself for the inner mind battle of those last miles. Otherwise, it's just time for the training to kick in and carry me through.
After all, ol' Higdon keeps telling me (via his app) that I'm a smart runner because I'm following his plan.
Ya know, it's funny: felt nervous about my first Half as well. I guess it's just that unknown: what will my body do when I do something it's never done before? ...and at my age? Now, I run Halfs like I was taking the dog for a walk.
Registration costs used to bug me until I really considered what it would cost to have EMT's at my beck-n-call for hours of extreme sports. Now, I'll gladly trade $100 or more for that level of care and access!