Over the past week I've been going through a bit of a training lull - the proverbial "valley" in the whole "peaks and valleys" theory, as it were. My recent post-race calf cramp experience has forced me to abort one run and miss another, and I am a bit down on account of all that. Perhaps this helps to explain why I've started to entertain thoughts of NOT running the marathon at the end of September, but rather dropping down to the Half-Marathon.
The biggest reason why I am now at this crossroads is that I do not think I will be ultimately satisfied with just crossing the finish line in the marathon. (Weird, I know, since simply finishing is a huge accomplishment.) I think that my training plan will ultimately get me there, but I will likely only be prepared to finish the distance. I would much rather be prepared to run the whole thing properly and cross the finish line strong, sticking to a well defined and reasoned pacing strategy from beginning right to the end. I believe that I will be able to achieve this in the Half-Marathon based on the fact that my weekly mileage and training seems like it may be better suited to racing 21.1k strong, but is just enough to get me through 42.2k (most likely very slowly and painfully over the last 10-15 kilometres).
What should I do? I don't want to bail on the ultimate goal, but I also don't want to finish the marathon and then be forced to take lots of time off because my body will be completely spent. (No matter what speed I go, I suspect that 42.2k will wreak havoc, and given that it takes me a while to recover from shorter races, who knows how long it will take after a marathon.)
I just don't think I can get my mileage high enough for long enough to run a proper race over the longer distance, but I am confident that I will be able to race the Half really well. I will certainly run a marathon sometime in the near future, but I am wondering if it is not prudent to let this milestone wait another year or so. By then I will have been running consistently for over two years and my body will be much more prepared for the mileage demands of a rigorous marathon training program. Right now I just feel like I am achieving the bare minimum to get me through, and I never like doing just the bare minimum, whether in life, training or a race.
I guess what I really want to avoid is an experience that leaves me soured on running for the long term.
Labels: Full vs. Half