I have my first marathon in 5 weeks (Tallin Estonia 9th Sept) and my current training is basically a 10k, a long run ramping up each week through 21-23-27-30+ km at race pace (just a joggy 7:00) plus a 5k shakeout jog.
Well that was the "safe" bare minimum option I decided on to achieve a sub 5 hour time (I plan to slow jog it and walk through the drink stations). 2019 will be for improving my PB if it turns out I like the marathon.
Now here's the thing, I've always been a bit batty/bonkers when following plans and have often just carried on running way past the target distance when I've felt strong/good. For example I ran 10k before c25k graduation and 21km during b210k because I just felt good. In both of these instances of rushes of blood to the head I "got away with it" so to speak and didn't suffer any injuries etc.
Now I'm training for the marathon I still can't imagine standing at the start without having covered the whole distance. If I've only trained up to 30 km ish then on race day the last hour of running is going to be new territory! What the hell does it feel like at 39k, 40k?
I can jog a HM quite comfortably now with no stiff legs afterwards and low heartbeat 135 ave and conversational breathing at around a 7:00 super slow jog pace. So, If I try to super slow jog 42k soon (to put my mind at rest concerning getting a firm mental grasp of the size of the undertaking) will that sort of distance extension cause any issues that can't be overcome in the next 5 weeks or is it too risky? I'm thinking that on my next long run (23k planned) I will just keep going until it gets uncomfortable/clear that I'm pushing the limit too much. I used to cycle race so know all about bonking/the wall, but I'd like to experience the onset of it when running so I can recognise it in the distance running context. I wouldn't attempt it within 3 weeks of the race though.
The other option I'm considering is a run/walk 42k where there's a "drink station" 1min walk every 5km and a 500m-1km walk section at 10, 20, 30k.
I'm not injury-prone and have never had any injury issues in sports apart from broken bones, impact and crash injuries etc. Only had the usual little niggles on the running side but nothing that has stopped me running. I am a borderline old git though at 55 years old!
What are the thoughts of our experienced marathoners here?
P.S. the photo is the Swede Mikael Ekvall. He could have stopped to clean himself up but didn't want to lose any time! He came 21st in the race, 8th the following year and set a Swedish record later.