I don't want to sugar coat it and say that it is easy. Because, it is not. There are people that get away with minimal or no training either because they are a natural runner or they just land up suffering real bad during the race. I am definitely not the former and since I've committed to doing this, I want to put in my very best effort and see it all the way to the end.
The irony of a race or a marathon in this case, is that even if you had a good training for the 4 months, anything can happen on race day itself so the outcome is never always 100% certain. For 16 week of training in this program, it will be about just under 500 miles clocked in. That is if you complete 100% of the program. I would say that I have done about 70% - work, travel, injuries, laziness etc.
Like I said. It ain't easy so be prepared for what you are getting yourself into. The first marathon will be slightly easier because the main aim should just be to finish so you don't really need to work on speed-work but just clock in sufficient mileage and know what to do during the race itself i.e. hydrate, fuel up, stretch, take your salts and finishing should be doable. Whatever timing that you finish at, it will always be a personal best because that is the first. But once you have done once, it's a lot harder.
Today's run was slow and not according to my target pace. But I figured that I'd rather just try to train for the endurance and complete it instead of forcing it and sustaining injuries. The last 4 miles were the worst. B.T and I run together, but not with each other. We run in reverse loops so that we can see each other and motivate one another along the way. He is way faster than I am so he typically finishes ahead of me by 4miles. I usually catch a glimpse of him happily running back home and sometimes, I half want to give up and just follow but I usually hang in, head down, and run on.
The cramps started to hit (in my right leg) when I had 3 miles left to go. So I spent a good amount of time brisk walking. It wasn't painful, just uncomfortable. I then started to feel hungry but had already chomp through my last gel so I just had to grit my teeth and keep running. And I did. Reached home completed tired out, but feeling accomplished.
B.T says that my mental endurance is definitely more than his. He says that he is really proud of me because I not only keep him motivated when he wants to give up, I continue going even when there's no one left to support me. And I guess that's one thing that I've trained myself hard on. I can run through 20 miles with no music, the same repeat routes over and over again and just get through it. I hope this will keep me through the race even when it gets tough.
My reward at the end of it all? A long warm shower, a facial mask and a glass of cold honey water - which is my current favorite post run beverage. :)
FIVE more weeks to race day. 26.2miles.