I run my eight marathon tomorrow. I want to improve my personal record on five minutes. I already wanted to improve it on my last marathon and I was not able to do it. It is easy: I must run each kilometer in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. My training pace is under 5′/km. My pace in the latest 10 km race was under 4’30″/km. My personal record in a half marathon is 1h43′. According to these numbers, training tables and tests, I can do it.
So, what is the problem then? I have to maintain that race pace during 42 kilometers and 195 meters (or 26.2 miles). The initial 10 kilometers are easy. I run between 10 and 14 kilometers in each training at least. Even the first half marathon is easy. The main problem arises around the 30-34, the glycogen starts to run low and your body does not obey your brain. We call it the wall. You try to control that moment, you have an arsenal of things that you can apply, but you never are really ready for it. I have seen Paula Radcliffe cried like a child in the wall. Moreover, your brain starts to generate all kind of negative thoughts and you perceive pain in almost all your body. Your brain is lying to you (or not?).
The shoes, watch and the rest of the equipment is ready. I have also decided where to take the glucose gels. And the most important, we have decided the points in which my girlfriend and me will meet: each one of her smiles during the race refuels my deposits for several kilometers more.
All kind of positive thoughts are welcomed. I will need them.