The greatest challenge of running a marathon is the mental challenge. You can train to be fitter, stronger, and after awhile, even the aches, cramps and pains can be overcome but your mind needs to be really strong and determined in order to complete it. I’ve heard many stories of people who have never run more than 6 km, run-walk and complete a full marathon. Nevermind the time taken, it’s all in the mind. Of course, I don’t encourage that method of completing a marathon as chances are, those people land up with lifelong injuries which will surface much later.
The aim was to do 3 long endurance runs of over 3.5 hours. Why? You sort of hit the wall after the 3.5 hour mark and for those that run a 4hour plus marathon like me, that’s the training duration to aim for. If you run faster, I don’t think it’s necessary to run that long. My ridiculously insane training program called for more than 3 of those runs. Side note, I have not been following the program diligently as the mileage is literally killing me and leaving me exhausted so I’m just training based on gut feel! The last endurance run was a 22 miler (35.5km) that I wasn’t looking forward to. Running solo takes a lot out of you. There is no one. No one to push you, you are on your own. For 4 blardy hours. It is painful and usually, I end up almost crying. I wasn’t able to get my friends to run with me (those training for the Ironman) because our schedules don’t match so I had to depend on myself.