I'm now at the peak of my Marathon Training for my fourth Honolulu Marathon this coming December 11. Only one more 18 miler and two 13 milers and the rest would probably feel like a "warm-up" run by then. Hopefully.
While doing my 20 mile (4 hours 13 minutes) run last Saturday, it occurred to me that the training program was not about running more miles but basically training my leg muscles to go the distance - the longer I run the more the legs get the burn for the extra miles. Since my last marathon in 2007, my regular runs were short distances of no more than 10 miles. So when I started this year's training last August 22nd, I was quite worried that it would be a huge struggle to even run 13 miles, considering that I'm now 66 years old.
But thank God for his blessing, last Saturday I actually felt strong up to 16 miles on my run but the last 4 miles were just brutal! So here's hoping that the remaining 119 miles that I have yet to run the next 30 days would fully strengthen my legs to get me to mile 26.2
Many runners say that the Marathon starts at mile 13. That is so true because at mile 13 your cardiovascular level should be at your training heart rate, not more, and that your legs should show "minimal" tiredness or you may not finish the race. Similarly, Mile 20 will also confirm if you trained enough. That's why some runners hit the "wall" at mile 20. In my 2007 marathon, I got hit with severe leg cramps at mile 20 but I was able to strangely get out of it by actually running the final 6.2 miles faster than the first 20 miles of the race. Unfortunately, it cost me a good 15 minutes off my goal while writhing in pain as I held on to a nearby tree.
Here's why I think I'm definitely not ready yet. When I got home following my 20 mile run last Saturday, guess what? I HAD SEVERE LEG CRAMPS!!!!!!!