It turns out, if you're running a marathon, you're supposed to train.
I'm trying to follow this program, from a guy named Hal Higdon, who, the internet tells me, is not a crank.
It's an eighteen week program, which has you running 3-5 miles most days (this is in line with my normal runs, which are four miles) and then bumping it up for a "long run" once a week, and a medium-length run in between. The long run gradually increases as weeks go on from eight to twenty miles, and the medium run from five to eight.
Anyway, that's all fine with me, and I've been keeping up with the program, more or less. I have so far followed his advice that: "You can skip an occasional workout, or juggle the schedule depending on other commitments, but do not cheat on the long runs.
I have no problem with the runs. The hardest thing for me are the "rest" days.
Now, Mondays I'm usually out at Twilight Tales during my evening run time, so I don't have a problem missing workouts those days. But other days...
I finally made myself exercise consistently only by making it a mindless habit. I discovered, when I started running, that if I ever gave myself permission to sit at home, then I would end up doing it more an more often until my good intentions petered out to nothing. So it had to be an every day thing. No excuses. Automatic. If the weather is really too bad to go out in, or I get home too late at night, then I can substitute the excercise machines in our living room, but not slack off.
Okay, sometimes I'm genuinely sick, but I'm honest enough with myself to know the difference between that, and just normal workday cruddiness, and the latter does not cut it as a reason for missing a workout.
So the whole idea of just sitting at home, resting, scares me. What if I get lazy? What if I get out of the good habits I've formed? Rest? I can't do that! It's against the rules.
So far, with the long runs still relatively short, I haven't really been following that rule. I think it's okay, since the intermediate schedule has only one day of rest built in, and I'm already taking that. (Albeit on Mondays, not Fridays.) But we'll see what happens when I get up to the 18-20 mile long runs...