Long Run 101

This morning I set out to tackle 18 miles.  Long runs are not the same as short runs.  They are longer.  Much, much longer.

Long runs require more endurance, more fuel, more lube, and more time.  Unlike a shorter run, most of what you do the day or two leading up to a long run will impact your success.  Long runs require planning.  Not only to ensure that you are eating well (and enough) and sleeping well (and enough) before your long run, but also that you are well equipped during your run to make it the distance.

I usually check how the weather is going to progress hourly, the night before and set my alarm accordingly.  Today was a relatively cool day as far as summer days go in Sac so I planned to head out around 8 or 8:30 AM.  It was a little bit later than I would have liked but I also had a little bit later night last night than I would have liked (bad Bethtober!) and wanted to make sure I got in at least 7 hours of sleep.

I wake up on average about 30 – 60 minutes before my runs.  I don’t like to eat much before any run but I definitely need some coffee and a visit to the loo to ensure there will be no unexpected bathroom stops once I get going.  Typically I eat some peanut butter on a piece of toast or a banana but we didn’t have any of those things in the house so I left without eating (bad Bethtober!).  I also usually make sure those food items are in the house before the morning of my long run, but clearly that didn’t happen this week (bad Bethtober!).

I broke the 18 miles down into three 6 mile segments in my brain.  I’d complete the first third, stop at the market for a Gu, water refill and juice.  Then run the next six miles across town to a gas station for my second Gu, water refill and juice.   Then the last six miles would take me home to an ice bath and delicious sandwich, both of which The Chef was going to pick up at the store for me so they’d be waiting when I got home.  Love him.

There’s also another benefit to breaking long runs into thirds mentally: 1) you fuel before you really feel like you need to (which by then, is typically too late) and 2) you’re less likely to quit.  The first third is easy to get through and by the end of the second third you’re already 2/3 done!  That makes the last third much easier for my brain to push through.

I left the house with the following on my person:

  • 2 Gus and one hand sanitizer wipe (I hate running with sticky hands and don’t like wasting drinkable water to clean them!)
  • 20 oz water bottle filled with ice water
  • Money for water refills and juices along the run (actually it was The Chef’s money and he still doesn’t know it’s missing ;))
  • Chapstick
  • iPod

Unfortunately, even with all of that sort-of-great planning, the run didn’t go well.  The weather cooperated, my bladder was on board; I left prepared and stayed hydrated, until my knee gave out around mile 8.  I pushed through it for a little bit but then realized that continuing to run was only going to further the injury and delay subsequent healing.  It felt as if my knee cap was floating around, about to become dislodged at any minute and travel around the innards of my leg.  It was weird and excruciating at the same time.  So at mile 10 I headed home (walking) and finished a total of 11 miles.

I feel like I’m stuck in the same place mentally that I was in this time last year… trying to work through the disappointing (or non-existent) long runs, questioning if I’ll be able to accomplish my Bethtober marathon, revising my training schedule for the last month to try to ensure success.  I reflected today on how dealing with a marathon can be like dealing with life.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and I am a good planner!  Luckily, I’m also positive and adaptable.  😉

Month

Week

Actual Miles

Aug

8/1 – 8/7

32.77

8/8 – 8/14

27.61

8/15 – 8/21

19.51

8/22 – 8/28  

Year to Date

527.87

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