I don't know much about long distance training, but I'm learning quickly.
In the last couple of weeks, I've gone from 35 minutes on the elliptical to seven miles run/walk (mostly walk) today. Here are a couple of my observations over the course of two plus hours of activity:
1) Your body will get into a rhythm. In fact, when you aren't in a rhythm, things start to hurt.
2) Things will hurt during the training. However, if you just ignore the pain, it goes away. Over the course of a couple of hours, everything will likely hurt at some point, but it will go away. It may come back, but it will go away again. I guess the only time it might stick around is if you have an injury, but if you know your body, keep going. Today's session started with my knee hurting, then going away. Then my back hurt, my ankle, my foot, my knee again, and my back again. At about the four mile mark EVERYTHING hurt. By five and a half miles I was numb to all pain. Then, I just tried to settle into a rhythm until I was done (see number one above).
3) You have a lot of time to think about things while you are going.
4) Even though you can think about stuff, you also have to concentrate. I am really surprised that you have to focus on what you are doing. Posture, steps, the way you lean, etc. are all things that I find that if I am not thinking about, I get a little lazy and then my form goes. And, as my form suffers, your rythym suffers and things start to hurt (see numbers 1 and 2).
It's clear to me that going a longer distance is much more than just step after step. There's a lot to it.
I do know, however, that I think a lot about what I'm doing this for in the first place. I think about the water project, I think about those that it's going to help. I think about the people that have donated money on my behalf...I think about those that will support me before the race in October. ((Click here to be one of them))
I think about God. I think about all of the blessings that we've been given.
The more I think of these things, the more I am motivated to train and to do my best.