I'm running a marathon in two weeks. Yes, I'm nervous. Yes, I'm freaking out a little when I think about it. Yes, I've run one before so I know this is typical taper madness. No, I'm not feeling good about this one.
My last marathon was 3 months ago -- St. George (UT). I went into that one totally prepared to walk away with a shiny new PR, but it didn't happen and my training since that time has been spotty. I was sick and had a terrible cough for 4 or 5 long weeks in November/December. It has just been in the last two weeks that I've been feeling 100% healthy again. The less-than-stellar training has really shaken my confidence. I've managed to get in the long runs but anything over 17 or 18 miles has been tough... like, really tough...
My running peeps have suggested I employ a run-walk strategy for the upcoming marathon. It would be my first time doing this in a race so I have lots of unknowns with how that'll work for me. Yesterday I ran 12 miles and alternated 10 minutes of running with 1 minute of brisk walking. I noticed that my running periods were at a faster pace and overall it didn't seem to make much of a difference with my time. But that was just 12 miles. My greatest fear is that my walk breaks will start to increase in time further down the marathon and that picking it up to run a faster pace again will become increasingly more difficult.
My friends have finished marathons in the 3:45 to 4:00 range using this method. When they run the full 26.2 miles, their times are (surprisingly!) not that much different from those they've posted using the run-walk strategy. They tell me the key is start the run-walk routine earlier than you think you'll need it during the marathon, like at mile 2.
So I'm wondering... do you use this strategy? How does your time vary? Is it difficult in the end to maintain the run-walk? Would love to hear your thoughts!