One thing I have noticed while training for my marathon is this, miles can be different on different runs. Now this might sound confusing to anyone reading this but let me explain. It can be any mile you choose, but for my examples, I will use mile 5.
When I am out running, the total distance of the run comes into play. Mile 5 of a 7 mile run is nothing, but mile 5 of a 20 mile run can be a struggle. I think this is something kind of weird, because throughout my training, I am now looking at a 5 mile run as a short run or an easy day. So why should mile 5 be any different than any other mile 5?
Am I going faster? Am I increasing my pace on the shorter runs? I really try to keep a quicker pace on the shorter runs, but I would think it would have the opposite effect, I would think that a faster pace would make mile 5 tougher on the short runs.
Maybe it is tougher to run at a slower pace? I have no proof to say that it is harder to run slower. I think I tend to slow my pace down on longer runs to ensure I can finish them. Maybe I should try and run the same pace on longer runs as I do shorter runs, but I still do not have the confidence to say I can hold a certain pace.
I think the only thing that makes one mile 5 different from another mile 5 is mental toughness. This is definitely something I have struggled with all season, but I know with every longer run I am doing, I am getting over that obstacle. My 13 mile run gave me the confidence I needed on the 16 mile run. My 16.5 mile run will give me confidence I need on my 20 mile run this weekend. I know that is why the training plan is designed like it is.
Another thing I have noticed about my training runs is that a straight line run is harder than a run with turns. When I run on the Greenline, it is a straight shot for 6.5 miles, then you turn around and run 6.5 miles back. In a straight line. That is tougher for me than making turns on roads, So thankfully, my marathon is not a straight out and back.
I have roughly 38 days left before my first marathon. I am excited too. I am not focusing on any time goal, I just want to finish. I know there will be a couple "mile 5's" on this route, but there are water stations every mile and I believe there are bands along the way, so it should be a great time.