I’m laying on the couch right now with some sore legs! Up until this run, I have done three 14 mile runs and one 18 miler as my longer runs. It’s so funny how just adding 2 miles made such a difference. I made some mistakes this time that I’ve definitely taken note of and want to make sure I don’t repeat.
I did the 18 mile run on the treadmill (due to the extreme cold) and I had the luxury of having a large water bottle in the cup holder for me to grab at any point. I also had energy chews and I was able to pop a couple in my mouth when I felt like I needed it. I think sometimes I had a chew just out of boredom from being on a treadmill.
I actually can go quite a while before I need a boost. I know a lot of people fuel during half marathons and I’m like, “really?” I can’t imagine needing fuel during a race that is less than 2 hours. I definitely need water but calories can wait until I’m done. I recently was listening to Tina Muir’s podcast and I can’t remember the name of the guest she was interviewing but he talked about running economy and how important it is to improve it. Think of your body like a car. Do you have good gas mileage and can go a while without filling up? Or are you needing to make several pit stops along the way? The Kenyans are so good because they have such amazing running economy. They can probably run 100 miles without fuel. It’s amazing and so interesting to think about.
So the difference between that 18 mile treadmill run with the water and the chews and my 20 mile run outside today is that I basically didn’t fuel at all. For dinner last night I had an English muffin with PB & J and 2 eggs scrambled with ketchup. I laid down at 10pm but didn’t fall asleep until 11pm because Jonathan was gaming and had the volume up so loud. I finally was like OMG and yelled for him to turn it down and he did. Ugh. I was so aggravated because he knew I had this long run on the schedule and we had talked about it. So don’t have the volume blasting when you know I’m trying to sleep. But anyway, I digress. I woke up this morning and had half a chocolate chip clif bar and some water. I get myself ready pretty quick. I was out the door at 8am. I brought my largest hand held water bottle and a Gu and the other half of the clif bar in the pocket. I never ate the Gu or bar and I used up all the water by mile 15.
I have no clue what I’m doing fuel wise and really need to practice fueling during my long runs. Because at mile 16 with only 4 miles left I started getting chest pain and a bad headache. I was bonking. My pace was slowing more and my legs were hurting. I knew all of this was because I was dehydrated and needed calories. I remember thinking, “if you were doing a marathon today you’d have 10 miles left and THIS is not how you want to feel with that much left!”
If I were doing 26 miles today, my last 6 for sure would have been like a crawl. Like 930- 10:00 min pace for the last 6 and that is not what I want at all. All I want is to finish strong. That is really my only goal. I don’t care so much about the overall time I get because it’s my first marathon. All I think about is crossing the finish line strong and happy. I don’t want to be one of those people who shuffles across the line in agony and collapses. Even though I have so much respect for those people!! Because it’s amazing to push the body like that. But for me, I just have this dream of crossing so strong. So that is my goal.
Today I did an out and back on the Mt. Vernon trail which was great because it’s a peaceful trail and obviously no stopping. But I went out too fast. Even though it felt comfortable and I didn’t feel like I was going out too hard, I still went out at a pace that I couldn’t sustain. But of course, I didn’t realize that until later! So I got to Georgetown and had to get on the Capital Crescent trail for 1.5 miles in order to hit 10 and then turn around. I wish I hadn’t done that because my legs didn’t appreciate the stairs I had to take to get from M street down to the CC trail. I wish I had just turned around when I got to the end of the Key Bridge and did a couple miles around my neighborhood when I was back to hit 20. But at the same time, it was good prep for race day because there will be hills!
I think for my next long run, I want to bring the Gatorade energy chews that agreed with me on the 18 mile run. I also want to run with no headphones because on race day I won’t have that. And I also want to focus more and be more in my own head during the run instead of kind of zoning out and thinking about the podcast I’m listening to.
Yesterday I ordered a sample box for $20 from generation Ucan which Tina Muir recommends like crazyyy in her podcast. So I’m excited to try some of that stuff too. I used her coupon code for a tiny discount too.
I also think that on my next long run, I want to practice race day conditions more. I want to wake up hours early, eat a half a bagel and banana and PB which Emma Coburn and a lot of other pros swear by, and wait like an hour or so and then start my run. And I don’t want to take fuel until I feel like I really need it. I want to work on improving my running economy. I don’t want to train my body to need fuel at like 5 different points during the run. A lot of people do this and maybe it’s fine for them but I don’t think I want to do that myself.
So as you can see, I learned a lot and I still have a lot left to learn! I really appreciate comments, advice, suggestions, etc so if you read this please feel free to respond at the bottom 🙂
Ps – more for me to remember but these were my splits
8:22, 8:35, 8:31, 8:43, 8:11, 8:31, 8:35, 9:00, 8:58, 8:41, 9:09, 8:38, 8:55, 8:56, 9:16, 9:18, 9:30, 9:32, 9:35, 9:10