Saturday, January 21, 2017

Marathon Training Week 13 - The One with the Longest Single Training Run


This week I did the longest run of this training schedule! Originally I had signed up for the SwampStomper Trail 25k in West Tennessee, but after my horse re-opened his leg wound in December, I scrapped that since I would need to be gone overnight.

Sunday - 22 miles @ 13:13

Starting my run


I don't remember how many miles I thought I was going to run, but it wasn't 22. But I was feeling good and decided I would go for it. Last marathon training cycle, the longest I did was 20 and it wasn't pretty. I couldn't maintain pace and got slower and slower and slower. That was pretty much the MO for all my long runs last time.

I decided to go run Nashville's Stones River Greenway. Usually I park at the J. Percy Priest Dam trailhead, but with no water available on the trail during the winter, I devised a different plan.

I carried my Mini Sawyer water filter and a 10-oz bottle on my hydration belt and carried my 10-oz Nathan soft flask handheld. I parked at the Wave Country/Skate Park Trailhead parking lot. The plan was to run south to J. Percy Priest and stop at the river by the Khols Trailhead to refill my water using my filter, then I could swing back by my truck to refill again before finishing my run.

On my drive up there, it rained some, so I chose to wear my Precip jacket in case it did rain. I wore my lululemon outrunner 17" crop pants, a headband for my ears and my rose inknburn tech shirt. I started on my run, but my hands were cold, so I ran back to the truck and grabbed my silk glove liners. Those are easy to stash when I don't need them. It was about 45° and overcast.

I usually wear my cushioned Feetured socks for long runs, but I had misplaced one of them when I washed my running clothes and so both weren't clean. So I went with a pair of Balega socks instead. I took another pair of socks and left them in my truck just in case I felt I needed to switch socks mid-run. I have since ordered 2 more pairs of my favorite socks because I really want to wear those on my marathon.

I warmed up during the first couple miles as I usually do and opened the pit vents on my jacket. I settled into my run pretty well, with a slower first mile and then a couple slightly faster miles and then settled into a nice rhythm. At mile 5, I passed the Khols Trailhead. I still had about 10 oz of water, so I decided to keep going and not stop.

I cruised down to the Dam Trailhead. It felt strange headed there with less than 16 miles behind me!

Restrooms open!!


When I reached the bathrooms, I was delighted to see they were finished with construction. The bathrooms were open AND a very nice dog, people, water bottle water fountain was installed and also working! Awesome! I made use of the facilities and refilled my water before starting out again. I spent about 5 minutes there that wasn't added into my average pace time.

Awesome water fountain!


I headed back. Due to the hills, I flipped back and forth on my miles, doing one mile at marathon pace (13:29ish) and the next closer to a 13:00/mi pace. Finally I hit a long uphill that I walked the entire way. I'm still babying my right hamstring, so I'm not running up many hills. Then I cruised down the other side and to my truck for a faster mile 16.

Back at the truck at mile 16 before my break.


At my truck, I ditched my rain jacket. It hadn't rained on me once. About mile 10 I was a bit warm and had the sleeves pushed up as far as they would go and the zipper down as far as was comfortable without the jacket falling backwards off my shoulders. I also ditched my hydration belt as I had enough pockets and would only need my handheld for the last 6 miles. I didn't feel a problem with my socks, so I didn't bother to change them.

I took 6 minutes at the stop that also isn't in my average pace. I was briefly tempted to call it a day, but I still felt good and the weather was fine and it was just another 6 miles. My shirt was wet and I was a little chilly without my jacket, so I kept my gloves with me and wore them for the next couple miles until I warmed up again.

View from the pedestrian bridge


I ran across the pedestrian bridge to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. I turned south along the river toward the nature center. I hit mile 19 before I reached it, but I was close so I kept going until I reached it. I was hoping to find bathrooms and a water fountain there, but I didn't see either.

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center


Last push for the last 3 miles. It was harder to start running again after a walking break and harder to maintain pace when I was running, but I managed to do both and in hindsight, 5 out of the last 6 miles were around 13:10-13:00/mi instead of the 13:29/mi target pace. Part of that was just pushing myself to keep moving and some was lack of control. Odd, but true!

I was so so glad to stop at 22 miles. That last 1/4 mile seemed very difficult. I forced myself to keep going and not look at my watch, but it was hard. I got to drop to a walk just before climbing up to the pedestrian bridge. I got cold fairly quickly, so did some light jogging in my cool down to keep me warm in between walking and stretching.

This was a hard run for me, but I was so happy to have done it and kept my pace going the entire time. If I add in the 11 minutes I spent at the Dam Trailhead and my truck, my average pace for the run was still 13:44. Which I will take.

All done before changing. The bulges on my legs above my knees are my gloves in the weirdly placed "thigh" pockets.


I generally ate a gel or 3 shot blocks every 35-40 minutes. At mile 10 and again at mile 20, I ate an entire Picky Bar, which is twice the calories I would normally eat at a time. I really thought I would have trouble eating the Picky Bar at mile 20 and I did a bit, but I was able to help the chewing process with light sips of water.

I've been trying to get my eating right as I used to get queasy around mile 12-14 of a run. This time I didn't have a problem until the cool down, but that went away after I ate and drank a little more after getting back to the truck. I tried eating sesame sticks after a run for the first time and that worked pretty well.

I had a small blister on my left foot, but other than that, I didn't have any issues with the socks. No guarantee that I wouldn't have gotten that blister with my Feetures socks, but I'm still going with Feetures for my marathon.

I was a little sore and this was definitely a beat down on my body. I was on my feet for over 5 hours including warm up, cool down and breaks. Mentally, I'm super glad I did it. I was able to prove that I can keep going. Just another 4.2 miles for the marathon! And I did this 22 miler after a 35 mile week the week before. I'm hoping to feel a lot better before the marathon after a decent taper.

Tuesday - 4 miles @ 13:53



An easy run on the treadmill. No real issues.

Wednesday - 6 miles @ 12:13



I stepped back my tempo run mileage from 9 to 6 to compensate for the 22 miler I'd run just a couple days before. Since it was shorter, I decided to do a purposeful negative split, starting at my tempo pace and getting faster with every mile.

I headed to River Park for a familiar route. It was 45° again. I wore my capris that I wore on my long run, a headband for my ears, silk glove liners and my UA charged wool half zip. I was chilly when running into a breeze. I might have preferred a full hat instead of just the headband. I think I would have been way too cold if I was doing any walking.

I hit my negative splits pretty well. Every mile was 5-10 seconds faster than the one before and I did the last mile 23 seconds faster than mile 5. My heart rate was perfectly in line. My breathing was off a few times, but I was able to get it back under control.

I carried my Nathan soft flask and didn't have to stop at the restrooms at Primm Park to refill. I had a single gel at mile 1, but I did eat a good meal of grits, cheese and "sausage" before I left the house. I tend to eat that before a tempo run or a long run, regardless of what time of day it is.

Thursday - 4 miles @ 14:03



This was supposed to be a 6 mile run, but I could NOT get my mind around doing 6. So I convinced myself to do 4 instead. I created a new iFit workout that starts the first run interval at 1/4 mile and walk for 0.05 mile and then, keeping the same run/walk ratio, increases the time running and walking by 10% every interval. The last run interval was over 1/2 mile. It's a good way for me to ease into a workout.

My HR was 20 beats higher than it should have been for the first run interval. That's unusual, but it settled for the rest of the run.

Friday - 4 miles @ 14:03



This was supposed to be a 4-run week, but since I wimped out of the 6 miler and doing another 4 would put me at 40 miles for the week, I opted to repeat the same treadmill workout as Thursday. I ran it first thing in the morning before I even did any chores so I wouldn't back out. My HR was normal for this run.


Weekly Stats


Training mileage: 40 miles
Training time: 8 hours 52 minutes

Total Mileage*: 42.9 miles
Total Time*: 9 hours 56 minutes
Elevation Gain:  1,237 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

What's Next?


Since I ran 5 days this week instead of 4, I might end up running 6 days this coming week, but I've only got 5 on the schedule. No long run this week, just a medium length run. I'm liking this schedule of a long run every other week and a medium length run on the "off" weeks. I'm watching the weather to see if I run outside or on the treadmill.

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