That "hill" I speak about is probably mileage for most of us. Some new Marathoners come from those that have just completed the half, a fantastic accomplishment. So for some this the time that the long run consists of 14 miles, about 1 mile longer than the half. Uncharted territory for some! Congratulations, you have reached a fantastic milestone.
With this milestone completed, the ascent to the top actually begins now. Chances are you have been conditioned for the half, now we need to push to get to the top. Feelings of doubt may creep in, you may see a giant hill that looks impossible. Despite what most say, now is the time to look down. What I mean is look how far you have come.
When I started running -- one mile seemed like a hill. There was no way I could do two! So look down that hill, you are 14 miles high.
This is also a time of great excitement. Just think every long run that comes next is a milestone or new achievement. A new adventure around every run. You can really start to enter the "groove" of training. Although the we are about half-way, we still have a long way to go.
Mileage on your body can start to wear you down. You may start to feel more tired, more achy and overwhelmed. It is important to rest and eat as nutritious as you can, enjoy your down time.
Now is also the time to pay close attention to your body and the signals it sends. Aches are typical but pain should not be. Remember you are training for the long haul and over doing it now can effect your ability to even get to the race. Take stock in yourself.
You will also need to start preparing for longer runs. Proper hydration and food are an extreme necessity. You may have to start carrying more water, or other supplements such as gels or energy bars. I know my runs will now start to exceed 2 hours, depleting many nutrients along the way. Now is a good time to try some new things, because by the time the marathon hits you need to be buttoned up as to what supplements your body works well with. Later this week I will write a post about supplements, hydration and equipment that can be used for long runs.
Take heart in the ascent, because you are closer than you think. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the milestones, enjoy the run.