The Long Run - Marathon Training

My Marathon Training for the Chickamauga has officially started. I started a couple weeks late due to being out of town on vacation. I wasn't really concerned about starting a little late because I was already at the level I needed to be at a couple weeks into the schedule.

My vacation saw me running a bit less than normal and also eating more and not as healthy as I had been. Once I made it home from vacation I started to hit the road again. I was not prepared for how poorly I would feel after just one week of bad eating and a not so hot running schedule.

The first Saturday long run on my schedule was supposed to be 13 miles. I had not yet run 13 miles since I was training for my half marathon 18 months prior, but I had done 10 miles a few times in the past couple months so I was confident. I didn't get out as early as I needed to and so was hitting the road almost 9:00 am and the sun was already out and it was hot. I ended up going out too fast, not eating before, and not hydrating properly and after just 6 miles was completely spent. The next 3 miles were spent walk/running to get home. I was not very happy with having to cut such a horrible run short, but really had no choice. You can read more about this run and see the splits here.

The runs since that time have been much better, and I feel like I have gotten back into running like I was before vacation and how I should be.

My latest and longest long run was this past Sunday. I have always run my long runs on Saturday because of church on Sunday, but this past week I was not going to be able to get my long run in on Saturday morning till late because of my daughter's Cross Country Time Trial. Because of my last experience of trying to run my long run too late in the morning (see above) I decided I wouldn't even try to do this and instead decided I would get up really early Sunday morning and get my 14 miles in before church.

I rolled out of bed at 6:00 giving myself 2 hours to run the 14 miles - not very good planning since 7 miles in 1 hour would be at a pace that I am not yet ready to do for an entire 14 miles. I hit the road about 6:10 following a quick whole wheat bagel -- the first time I have ever eaten right before hitting the road. Plenty of water and Gatorade in my system and one of each in my clutches, me and my packet of beans started the yet to be determined course.

The weather was at 70 degrees with 97% humidity when I started the longest run I had ever run. I had run 14 miles once before 18 months ago, but today ended at 14.2 miles so I can officially call it my longest run ever.

A lack of prior planning and I found myself listening to public service radio for the first hour of my run. I run with an MP3 player, but always just listen to the radio since I am too lazy to build a play list and load it with music. A quick scan of all the stations found that Sunday Morning at 6:00 am is not the best time to listen to music on the radio. I did finally find some music after 7:00 am which was a welcome addition to my run.

I went out intentionally really slow, the slowest I have run in a long time, at a pace of just over 10:00 minute miles. I didn't watch the time, but listened to my body and slowed down each time I felt myself getting winded in the least. I knew this was going to be key to finishing the full 14 miles. This is where the poor planning of time allotted comes in - 14 miles at 10:00 minute pace = 2 hours and 20 minutes which puts me home just 30 short minutes before needing to be at church. The full log of this run and my splits can be viewed on my running log here.

As I was nearing home I was right at 12 miles and it was approaching the time I needed to get home. I decided that based on the way I felt (good) I would never forgive myself if I didn't go the full 14 miles. I decided that I would finish off the full 14 miles and just rush a quick shower before church. I passed the 12 mile mark and put another 2.2 miles in to finish off my long run. I had 25 minutes to recover, shower, and drive to church.

I was very pleased with this run. Just completing it was a mental breakthrough that was needed right now in the early days of marathon training. It is going to be a tough, but rewarding, couple of months and I really need your presence and encouragement.

If you don't mind I would deeply appreciate your sharing of my blog throughout the running community.... I need all the support I can get in my Quest to 26.2!

Thanks for reading!