Posted: 11/10/2014 at 15:11
Hey BertEddie - I'm at the end of training for Abingdon (marathon #5) and languishing with a heavy cold which means a very lacklustre taper!
It took me until my third marathon to break 4 hours, the first couple of attempts were run after pretty poor training.
Your Half time certainly points in the right direction, but as Susan says don't take it as a given.
Think of your training in an 80/20 split, meaning that 80% of marathon training should be run at and easy and low intensity effort. The 20% is for your intervals, hills, threshold and VO2 max sessions. It's the ratio that most elites will use even if their easy efforts are 20 miles at 5:30pace!
I have just fitted in 3 x 20+ miles in my plan, 2 of them totally on my own and 7 other "long runs" over 15. I keep my mind occupied quite easily although it can take the first 3-4 miles to get over some demons that are doubting that you can run for 3 hours on your own. I would have a clear vision of each 5k point on the route to help split it down, I would also try to guess where the next mile mark will be and praise myself (no treats, I run without fuel) for being so damn epic when Strava speaks. I may sing to myself for a bit, I've even been caught muttering away to myself - usually a few words of encouragement, not like a madman - or pick a particular topic that you've been meaning to sort out for ages, it could be to do with work or home, or even your race day strategy. Counting can work when the going gets really tough. Count in your head up to 100 and then back down again, you'd be surprised how far you might have travelled in that time.
If you want to lose a few kilos have you ever considered a low-carb high fat diet? Worked for me! Not that I was carrying excess weight but I've become fat adapted which means no more carb-loading (hooray) no more gels (hooray) no more sports drinks (hooray) and I'm down to 69kg which was probably my weight 30 years ago when I was 17! (I'm 6' btw)
Now all I have to do is shift the rest of this damn cold I've got and keep my fingers crossed for Abingdon. It may be Plan C...