I know, this probably seems obvious, and I’m not really complaining (ok…maybe just a tiny bit). For us “regular peeps”, marathon training is pretty dang grueling. I’ve still got my longest week ahead of me, and I know I’ve done most of what it will take to complete my marathon, but it really hasn’t been easy.
One of the hardest parts has just been fitting all my runs into my schedule. It’s not easy to get up early, work all day, pick up the kids, cook dinner, play, give the kids a bath and put them to bed, and then head on out on an 8-miler in the dark. It’s physically tiring (with the aggregated effects my weekly mileage going from 20+ miles in the spring to 35+ now), and mentally draining (but so far I’ve been able to keep talking myself into getting out that door). Some days, it really makes me look forward to my off days.
And the weekly long runs, which I do in the mornings building stamina and confidence that I can complete the distances, often leave me so worn out that it can be a struggle to find the energy to do things with my wife and kids the remainder of the day (though, their energy is contagious…to a point).
But that said, I’ve remained committed. After all, I realized months ago that it was going to take quite a commitment to get myself to a place where I could complete a marathon. And right now, I think I’m pretty much there. I’ve got two more long runs before I begin to taper and I’m looking forward to a few shorter runs in those weeks.
In this process, I’ve become a much stronger runner as well. Last night I cruised through a 5-mile short run, managing to keep a sub-10:00/mile pace (a pace I’d struggled to run a 5k at until this year), and it was extremely rewarding. No, I’m still not that fast, but I’m able to hold my pace for long distances and slowly seeing my speed increase.
So, yes, marathon training is hard (and harder than I had expected), but it’s also been immensely rewarding. I’m in better physical shape than I have been in a long time, and I’m on target to accomplish something that I never thought I’d actually be able to do until this year. I won’t mind a bit of a break for the holidays, but I am enjoying the (challenging) ride until then.