Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Long Runs - My Nemesis

I did my long run this week as promised. Due to the ice and snow, I ran it on the treadmill. 20. Miles. On. The. Treadmill.

I've been struggling with the long run (here defined as 14-20 miles). My tempo runs, my speed runs, my short, easy runs, those are all doable and I have little issue there.

For the long run, I used to have issues fueling. So I played around with that until I've pretty much got that down. Alternate Clif Shot Blok, Gu (or Hammer Gel) and Picky Bars. Every 15 minutes or so, eat something. Drink between eating. I've gotten to where I can eat without getting sick.

I used to have issues dressing for cold, long runs. I still am playing with that. Wind and rain messes me up, but other than that, I have a good wardrobe (minus a good shell) and am fairly confident I can dress properly.

I used to have issues with my shoes. Until I went with my moderate cushioned shoes instead of my max cushioned ones.

I used to have trouble recovering from long runs, but with my fueling strategy combined with hot tub soaks and an early night's sleep after long runs, I've got my recovery down pretty good.

But those long runs still get me mentally and physically.

For my treadmill run, I ran 4 miles at 13:03 pace, then walked a full mile. I did that 3 times, which got me up to 15 miles. During mile 14, I started to have some pretty good pain that migrated around. My HR zipped up and I was very very happy to get to walk for the 15th mile.

I couldn't imagine running anymore. Even after a mile of walking. That's 20 minutes of walking. But I pushed the buttons to get back to a 13:03 pace and managed to eek out 2 more miles before I gave up and walked for a half mile. Back to running and my treadmill had a malfunction and stopped. Took me a couple minutes to get it back going again and I managed to run a mile of the remaining 1.4 miles of my run.

I had pain migrate from the outside of my left knee to my right middle toes to my left glute to my right hamstring. All over. I was tired. My HR was hovering around 170 while running. I was so ready to stop. It took some serious will power to finish out the 20 miles in an excruciating 5 hours.

I can't imagine running a marathon. How on earth am I going to get through those last 6.2 miles? I really don't want to walk the entire last 10 miles. :( I'm ok doing run/walk, but I really don't want to out and out stop running and walk. But it looks like I'll have to if my marathon turns out like my long runs.

Will the long run ever get easier?

At least I've done my last 20 miler for this training cycle. Due to tapering, my  next long run will be in the neighborhood of 15 miles, followed up by a half marathon two weeks before the Chattanooga Marathon. Then nothing but short runs to give my legs a good rest.

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