I just began Week #16 of my 18-week marathon training program. Today's long run was 20.8 miles and I felt all right after. From here on, I would decrease the training mileage and give my body a chance to recover. The upcoming running marathon will be my 2nd this year and 8th overall.
Training for cross-country skiing or running marathons takes up a lot of a person's time. One really has to plan four to five months ahead, set personal goals, be very discipline (rain, snow or shine), spend hours on week-days and week-ends skiing or running, monitor injuries and progress, and be willing to change goals when circumstances change. The last part is the most difficult. It's a bit like mountaineering when, within sight of the summit, a decision has to be made to go on, take a lesser objective, or turn back. It's often a battle between the heart (I must succeed) and the head (but what are the risks and at what price). Just like our journey in life, marathon training is constantly a balancing act and a judgement call; and more often than not, the end does not justify the means, especially when there is a high risk of lingering injuries.