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Good evening, I'm taking part in my third marathon this Sunday and I'm looking for a bit of help/advice.
Since I was a child I've always wondered how quickly I could do a marathon and something inside told me 3 hours would be a good time. I know this is nothing special but it's something I'd really like to achieve. I ran my first marathon in Jan 2011, this was a real eye opener. Before then I'd never tried a distance I wasn't comfortable with so I was pretty confident of hitting my 3 hour goal. I was wrong! My training and preperation were poor although I didn't fully understand that at the time. I thought grit and determination would see me over the finish line in less than 3 hours but after about 17 miles I realised that I'd been very naive. In the end I was happy(ish) to limp over the finish line in 3 hours 24.
This only whet my appetite and I was then more determined than ever to achieve my 3 hour goal. I signed up to run another marathon the following October and I was convinced I'd nail it this time. I was missing training sessions but kept telling myself I had plenty time to catch up, then before I knew it marathon was 3 weeks away and I knew I wasn't in good enough shape to hit my target. I lowered my expectations and set myself a new target of 3:15. I reached this fairly comfortably(3 hours 12) and could have gone a bit faster but I was really worried about the wheels falling off as they had done the previous January so I held a bit back. I was fairly happy with my new PB but knew I couldn't let it go until I knew I'd had a proper go at a sub 3 hour finish.
Which leads me to my third marathon which is this Sunday. Training has gone a lot better this time. I've been running 5, sometimes 6, days a week since late June. I was feeling very confident until 2 weeks ago when I caught a cold, followed by a stomach bug this past weekend. I was already in my taper so didn't want to to do any silly runs but because of that I haven't had anything to lift my confidence.
What I'm looking to found out is would it be wise for me to still aim for my 3 hour goal or should I lower my expectations again? I'm terrified of feeling how I did during my first marathon so would really like to avoid that. My last long run was 2 and half weeks ago, I did 23.3 miles in 2 hours 50 minutes. This included running at 10min per mile for the first andf last ten minutes as warm up/down. I was told 10x800 repeats are a good indicator of marathon times. I last did this 3 weeks ago today and averaged about 2:45 for each 800 repeat.
Heart is telling me to trust my training but head is telling me I'm gonna fail with my 3 hour goal. I apologise to to anyone who thinks I'm being stupid, I know lots of people would be happy with my times but I feel like I can't rest until I've reached my target. I don't have any friends who run so I can't turn to them, I'm also not a member of any running club. I assume I'm not the only one who becomes obsessed in the final few days before a marathon, at least I hope I'm not.
Typing this has made me realise I needed to get some of this off my chest but as I said, I don't have an outlet for it. Thank you, if you're still reading.