In 4 days I will run marathon number three for me! I've run three 50K's since I ran my last road marathon.
One would think that running a 50K would make running a marathon sound like a piece of cake. But anytime you take on the marathon distance the list of unknowns can be long.
1. Trail vs. Road:
The thing I love about running trail is the slower pace and the varying surfaces. Trail running is great because the terrain is always changing which can be really good for your body (less repetitive) and it is more mentally stimulating. There are opportunities to walk because the elevation gets too steep to run, which doesn't really count as a break when you're huffing and puffing up at 15% grade, but again, the varying pace is good for you both physically and mentally. There are rocks and roots to watch, and often beautiful scenes to take in when you aren't looking at the ground making it more enjoyable.
A road race, well, the surface is always hard concrete or asphalt and therefore can create opportunities for more overuse injuries. It can also be boring and tedious. I mostly combat this with the attitude of feeling grateful I get to run. I can't get to the trails easily in the winter, but I can still run. I can also test my speed a little more on road-which makes road running more challenging in some ways.
2. Slow vs. Fast:
I find myself more nervous about a road race because (without trying) I put more pressure on myself to run faster. My last 50K had 5000ft of elevation gain, so I had plenty of excuses to run slower. My fastest 50K had 1800ft of gain and I ran it with run/walk intervals as I was coming off a knee injury. I completed it in 5:26 and felt proud that with intervals I still cut almost 2 hours off my first 50K's time. My fastest marathon was 3:55 and I was surprised by my finishing time, it was my first sub 4 hour marathon and second marathon to date.
This weekend I am going into it without a time goal, this is a training run for my next 50K in June, yet it is hard not to think about previous times and set expectations.
My training for this marathon has been fairly liner. I have progressively increased my distance each week, I've run a 1/2 marathon, 30K, and 10K in preparation for this race, as well as hitting a 20 mile long run. But like most runners, I am at the point in my taper where I am doubting my abilities. I just had surgery (my race will be 16 days post op) and my runs haven't felt the same since. As of yesterday I am finally beginning to feel myself again-so here's hoping.
I will be more recovered then I ever have been prior to a race due to forced rest.
Thoughts Moving Forward:
I am still hoping to train for my first 50 mile race in September. I find myself going back and forth between wanting to run 50 miles and wanting to improve my marathon time. I think I just miss the trails and the pessimist in my believes the snow will never melt, may as well run faster!