Four weeks from today I'll be running the Cork City Marathon. It will be only my 2nd Marathon. This one is a grudge match. I ran the same race last year and finished in 4 hours 52 minutes. Not a great finish time. I've been training for this upcoming one since late February and (knock on wood) the training has been going exactly to plan so far.
This morning I finished my 2nd long run (17.4 miles) from home in Ballincollig west of Cork City to BlackRock Village east of Cork city and back. I had a great race two weeks ago - the Great Railway run from Cork to Carrigaline - a 25 Kilometer distance. I averaged 8:46 per mile in that race - almost fast enough to revive hopes of a sub-4 hour marathon. I'd need to average 9:09 per mile to do a sub-4 marathon. I don't know if the legs, lungs, heart and training are up to that just yet.
I have just one more long run - 20 miles next Sunday, then the Taper begins. In the lead up to a Marathon it becomes all-consuming. I fluctuate between thinking I can realistically do a sub-4. At the very least I hope to do a sub 4:30 . If I take longer than that I'll be disappointed. There's a lot that can go wrong in a Marathon. Last year I injured myself in Training - I ramped up the miles too quickly and too early. This year I've been sticking to a more conservative plan which only increases mileage at a rate of < 10% per week. Last year, the day of the Marathon was quite warm. I held back for the first 5 miles sticking to a 11 min pace. To be honest I was so nervous about the injury and making it worse that I was just happy to get around the full 26.2 miles. This year I have 3 time bands in mind.
If I complete it in under 4 hours 30 minutes I'll be happy. If I do it in under 4 hours 15 minutes I'll be happier. If I do a sub 4 I'll be over the moon.
Just four weeks to go so we'll see. If you're on strava you can see my training log.