Every Saturday we do our long run.
On week one of our training program, we had to run 16k. Week two was 18k. We add two kilometers each week (except on easy weeks when we only run 10k) and are building up to 35k.
The actual distance of a marathon is 42.2k. You'd be surprised how many people ask me how long the marathon is that I'm running. I guess they figure marathon means race so I'm just running a race of some arbitrary distance. Nope - 42.2k (26.2 miles) is the magic number.
A brief digression if I may... One time, I was talking to a friend and I told her that I was running a half marathon on the weekend. "A marathon?" she asked. "No, no" I said, "just a half marathon". She patted me on the shoulder and said "Céline, you've been training really hard for this, you can call it a marathon if you want."
Back to long runs. Every week, my mind plays this horrible little joke on me as I near the end of the run. I'm tired, my legs are heavy, my head is pounding and I'm usually pretty exhausted by the time I spot the store. That's about the moment my brain says "so, think you could add another 22.2k to what you just ran?".
Sometimes my brain is an asshole.
The answer is obvious. No, I can't.
The next week "so, think you could add another 20.2k to that run?"
Ummmmm...still no. Piss off!
Last week it was 18.2k.
This week, it's 16.2k.
You know what? I'm getting closer and closer to the moment when I'll be able to answer 'yes damn it!!" to that weekly question.
There really is method to the madness of training to run this distance. Forty two kilometres is a really long way. Drive it in your car if you don't believe me. It's shocking, humbling and, if you're actually planning on running it, pretty terrifying.
But by adding two kilometres a week, we're training our body slowly but surely to run the distance.
We are going to peak at 35k, a few weeks out from race day. My brain will ask me "so, think you can add 7.2k to what you just ran?" I'll answer "hell yeah!" because, by that point, it will be true.
It's just so damn amazing what we can do when we break it down into bite size pieces.