Won that 20 miler, and Nerves and Niggles.
So yesterday was a 20 miler. For many people this is the Crowning Achievement in a marathon training cycle. They run one, then taper off for their marathon.
Forgive me folks if this is you. I am going to humbly suggest that this is really not the way to go. I will add that my Marathon results have been really BAD, and that many of you who have done this have indeed much better results. So, feel free to ignore my opinion, though my opinion is shared by a lot of people who are far more badass than myself.
The more you can get your body used to doing distance, and the bigger Base you have, the more resources you are going to have on race day. Huh? What do I mean?
First resource: Coping Skills. When you have run 2-4-6 training runs up in the 18-20 mile range, you have no doubt experienced some things that did not go perfectly. Nutrition that had always worked, kind of fails, you hit a “wall” if you will, at an unusual unexpected point, ipod malfunctions, it gets too hot in the run or too cold, or too wet. During your longs, you develop ways to cope with all these things, as any number of them could also occur on race day. On my first really long run-19 miles, my ipod failed. I ran without it and realized that was not a big deal. I got used to it. Yesterday I learned that my “go to socks” really aren’t that comfortable after mile 17. Must get liners, or investigate something different.
Base Miles: I’ve just finished my second 40 plus mile week. It’s a lot of running miles. In truth, I generally between the pool and the spin bike am putting in about 70-80 miles per week, but the running is the key. The longer you run run long, (to an extent) the easier the Marathon will actually be. You may or may not be super fast or faster than if you just did one 20, but…if you have been consistently running long going into a race, there will be less chance of dragging oneself through it miserably. Generally on Marathon day if you start to interact with Finishers, about 10 miles before the finish, those amateurs who are finishing in 5-6-7 hours are going to tell you they aren’t really having fun. 10 minutes after the finish, with their shiny new trinket and a snack they will say it was the best time of their lives. My goal…is to run the entire race smiling. I did not run my entire 20 miles yesterday smiling, but a good portion of it was…I had a moment at mile 18…which was luckily interrupted by me passing 2 of my other runner pals on the trail. So I am building this base…not so I can finish a Marathon or beyond, but so I can finish it comfortably.
THe one thing about this kind of training is that you do have to watch for fatigue and injury. I will have one more 20 miler and then a week of rest during which I get to run a half marathon! Yahoo for trinket medals and such!!! After the rest, I expect to do a few more 20-22 milers and then taper off for my big race. It is a different kind of mindset.
I admit, I was not really looking forward to my 20 miler. My brick on Saturday had been spectacularly difficult for me, and I felt tired. I was a bit annoyed as the weather this week has been perfect for running, and here I was feeling kind of tired looking a 20 miler in the face.
As it turned out the 20 went very very well. I started slow, and kept it pretty slow. I ran solo, but saw many many people I knew out on the trails and I found it was fine. My nutrition was placed in all the right spots and I was so glad for it each time I came up to it. The people I knew helped me (even if they did not know it) to run up hills that I was considering slowing down for (PRIDE you know…) and made me feel great. When I finished, I was feeling like a total winner.
I was amazed. Last time with the 20 miler I did one, hated it (partly because I let Annoying Orange Janice choose the route and she picked one that worked for her, running 8 miles, not for me running 20.) After that 20 miler, every time I tried for 20 mentally I stopped, well physically I stopped too.
So this cycle I have one 19 miler and a 20 miler under my belt, and I still have 11 weeks of training. Wahoo.
So now the anxiety sinks in. Will my runs continue to be good? and I am, like most runners, having a few niggles here and there. Something is going on in my abdominals that is hard to define…does not hurt when running but makes it really hard to like “sit up” so there is that, and this morning when I woke up I noted an all too familiar pain and stiffness in my left ankle OH NO! So, we’ll see how it goes. I tend to obsess over these things, when sometimes a motrin will remove them entirely.
Got an email from the guy who writes my plan saying take care… Keep it easy and eat and sleep well. plenty of water, etc.
So we’ll see how week three of build goes, it certainly looks easier than week two, so Wahooo!