Thanks for taking the time to read this.
There's a marathon in just over 5 weeks that I would really like to attempt. I entered it back in the summer, anticipating that I would train properly, but that hasn't happened. Until recently, I had ruled out attempting it since I'm extremely unprepared, but the idea of trying it is becoming tempting. This probably sounds crazy, but hopefully the information below will explain it a bit better.
As a bit of backstory, I'm not new to running, but have more or less had to start from scratch again within the last few months. For the past 5 years, I ran quite regularly. Nothing serious, and nothing fast, but I ran several times a week and have done some races, including 6 marathons (1-2 per year). I trained for the previous ones. I hadn't stuck rigidly to a plan but was fairly sensible about it and made sure to fit in weekly long runs for the couple of months leading up to it. The last one was last June.
After last July, I stopped running completely until around January and unsurprisingly, lost a lot of fitness over that period. It was due to pretty bad mental health trouble- I completely lost motivation to do anything, and also gained over a stone, partly due to medication and partly due to the lack of activity. Any time I tried to run, I just didn't have the motivation or willpower to even complete a mile.
At the start of February, I started going back to my running club and thankfully have been able to stick at it since. It was tough at the start and progress was slow, but it's been going a bit better recently. I'm comfortably able to run a few times a week again. I haven't attempted any runs longer than about 10 miles, admittedly.
I know the obvious answer would not be to jump straight into a marathon. My reasons for wanting to do this particular one are sentimental and probably sound silly to anyone else. Might as well try to explain it though. For me, running has always been more mental than physical. Since so much of a long run is about mental resilience, I feel like it would really help, mentally, to be able to finish it- sort of a symbol of being able to put what happened over the last year behind me. I've done this particular marathon each year for the last 4 years, so it would be really nice to be able to do it again. I have some important exams coming up in a couple of months, which I wasn't able to sit last year due to the mental health problems. It might sound weird, but in a way, I think if I could do the marathon and sort of prove to myself that I'm not as weak as I often think, I might have more confidence going into the exams. There are also a lot of people I know taking part as well, and we're all planning to raise money for the same charity.
I would really appreciate any advice on whether or not this is crazy or if it would potentially be doable.
I would be prepared to work hard over the next month, and would of course also be prepared to get a slow time. My previous times have all been 4.15-4.30ish, so I was never fast anyway, but I realise it would likely take over 5hrs. Though if it was likely that I'd have to walk the majority of it, it would probably end up doing the opposite of what I'd intended and lead to a drop in confidence instead, so I'm willing to take on any advice about whether or not it's worth attempting.
One major advantage of this race is that there's also a team relay, so there will be four changeover points along the route where I could drop out if need be. I know the route well since it's my home city so I wouldn't be travelling far to the race or anything. At the moment, my plan is to just run as far as I can on the day, and drop out when/if I need to, but it would be good to have an idea of what to expect.
Thanks very much for reading, and apologies for writing so much.