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First post here (though by no means my first visit) and I'm looking for some much needed reassurance.
I'm running the london marathon in three weeks and as you can imagine I'm right at the thick end of my training. Yesterday I completed my first 20 miler and I've gotta say it was tough, really tough. A little bit worryingly so.
It's my first marathon and I'm following a beginners schedule for it. My last long(ish) run was two weeks ago which was 15 miles. That was difficult and I was feeling it towards the end, but no where near like I felt yesteday.
By 12-13 miles I was really feeling that my legs were tired, and by 15 I was really concerned I wouldn't actually be able to complete the full 20, and when I think back at how I was feeling at that point I can't believe I did! Everyone talks about hitting the wall at 18 miles or so, so to feel as bad as I did as early as I did, it does worry me somewhat.
Is this level of difficulty normal for a first time long ditsance runner? I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and can often push through things, but this felt like a whole other level of physical and mental difficulty.
As a couple of side notes, for the first 8 miles I was running into a fairly strong head wind (to give you an idea there were points where I could phyiscally feel it was slowing me down) and also from 8 to 12 miles there was a very hilly section that I've never run before, but I don't know how much difference these things make to be honest.
Also, in terms of nutrition during the run, I've heard so much conflicting info about whether to go for sports drinks, gels and the like. In the end I just took water out (which is all I've ever taken out on previous runs) and was just popping a few raisins evey mile from the 8 mile mark. Maybe I wasn't doing enough to top up the energy stores and that had an effect. I felt a bit woosie after the run, which could be an indicator I didn't drink enough or consume enough energy/sugar.
So really I'm just looking for a little reassurance that I'm not undertrained. If you say it's normal to be that hard then fine, I'll push through, but if there's something I can do differently (say with nutrition) then I'm very open to suggestions.
Thanks in advance