Last weekend, I had a great fifteen mile run. Thus, you can imagine I was eager and excited to tackle another long run this weekend. After recovering from ankle/achilles issues a month ago, I reformatted my training plan to include max long run distance of sixteen miles (rather than twenty). But given my great run last weekend, I decided to go for eighteen this weekend.
I only made it through seventeen. Looking back, I’m sure I could have made it. But after feeling dehydrated about a mile into the run, doing way too much negative self-talk, and falling apart around mile twelve, I decided eighteen just wasn’t in the cards that day.
It humors me that I finished my run feeling defeated. I mean, I ran seventeen miles. That’s sixty-eight laps around a track. I could swim ten-thousand yards in the time I ran. A month ago I thought my long runs might be over. This is a quick reminder to always stop and reflect, and not take anything for granted.
After doing the first eleven miles or so at a nine-minute per mile pace, I slowed my speed a bit to prevent anything dramatic from happening (i.e., pass out from dehydration). It was at this time that I convinced myself I was foolish for not hydrating myself properly before and during the run. Add another thing to the list of things I’ve learned in this two-month marathon training endeavor. What else is on that list, you ask? Well…
- Never run more than ten miles without water. Just don’t do it.
- When tempted to stop and walk, just keep running. Slow your pace if needed, but keep trotting along. Not only will you be done sooner, but trust me – once you stop to walk, your muscles tighten up, making it difficult to start up again.
- Running is only half the battle. Diet and recovery are the other half. Forget about those, and you’ll likely increase your chances of injury. So if you’re going away for more than 24 hours, be sure to have your foam roller or Stick (or both) alongside. And stock up on pasta and bananas.
- Marathon training is not the time to lose an extra few pounds. I actually heard about this in the past, and thought to myself, that can’t possibly be true! I’m sure I’ll lose weight when I train for my marathon. Nope. All those extra miles just make me want more food. Next time I’ll try to lose weight before the training begins. Oh gosh, did I really just say next time?
- Be prepared to have your life consumed by training. As I said to my brother the other day, though I only have one long run per week, it actually turns into a three-day event: the day before (preparation), day of, and day after (recovery).
Am I missing anything on my list? Maybe I should carry this list with me on race day, because it sure is easy to forget all of things when you’re out there pounding the pavement.