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!


  1. Fantastic! You had me excited from the "get-go". I was cheering you on, even though you had already completed the run - a week earlier! I was sitting on the edge of my chair, reading!

    Now that is what I call communication!

    Your life and your words are a message of hope to me, and remind me of the apostle Paul, who treasured his message of hope - bearing the good news of Jesus!

    To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

    Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor. 9:22-25 ESV)

  2. Yay for your longest run evah! 14-16 is about all I can take without having the devil on my shoulder saying...that's enough, you're good, you can go home. And the .2 totally counts!

  3. WTG on your longest run ever! You just needed that previous blow-up at 6 miles to remind yourself what LSD is! I too plan for a 10 min mile pace for LRs, go out slow, then try to have something left for the last couple of miles. Very funny about Sunday a.m. radio. So true!! Great job getting it done and making church too. Very impressive!

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us, it's nice to rad about a person who does have to cut things short and isn't used to running for hours on end. AKA you're human! I just did my 15 miles two weeks ago and it was the longest run so I get how it's crazy to try and think of running that far in your mind but then to finish and know you did it psychically is almost an indescribable feeling. Which marathon are you looking at?

  5. WAHOOOO!!!! Can you hear me from Maryland? WAY TO GO!!! It's such a great feeling knowing you've just run farther than you've ever run before!!! This is my favorite post from you; you describe the emotions of training for the first marathon perfectly! You had me laughing out loud about finding a radio station on a Sunday morning. Didn't all of the religious stuff inspire you? lol. I used to get up at 4 am to get 20-milers in before church.. then the kids got older and sports usurped church time. oops.

    You are EXACTLY right to take it slowly and listen to your body. You are a prime target for injury since you're in uncharted territory, so take it SLOWLY, and remember that running in the heat and humidity makes it almost double as hard for your body, so give yourelf a break there.


    I will spread the word.

  6. Nice job on your 14.2. You handled it very well with your pacing and all. I think it's quite an accomplishment in 97% humidity? Yee gads! I'm sure glad I live in SoCal where we don't get humidity like that. I can't even imagine running in that. You did fantastic.

    Even though this is your "longest run ever" you will have a lot of those coming up now. Trust me, you can do them. I've been there before, and was frankly intimidated by it, but got through, and you will too. :)

  7. Hey, Tim! I've tried to drum up more support for you over at my blog. Come check it out:


  8. Good job, Tim. Funnyrunner sent me over. She also made a comment on her blog about how much of a difference it makes whether or not you eat right. It is so true!

    Keep it up!

  9. Great effort! It's great to break those personal distance records!

  10. Fabulous! Way to Go!!

    The distance milestones in training for a marathon were so exhilarating for me, too.

    Funny to think that by marathon day, you will think, "14 miles, that's easy...that's just a training run"

  11. I just discovered your blog. And, as the guy that was training last year for Chickamauga to be my first marathon, I have this to offer.

    Do not do your longest run ever and then skimp on the cool down, stretching, and recovery. I lost 6 weeks of training due to injury after a 16 miler, all because I was rushing around to get to work after.

    Actually, that injury, along with a new business, has temporarily disabled my running mojo.

    That said, I look forward to the new read.

  12. congrats on the mileage pr! i often get the whole planning/scheduling details wayyy off so i can sympathize. at least you still had time to get ready and make it to church on time! i hope you made sure to stretch and hydrate throughout the day since you had to rush off. sometimes i have to rush right after a run but i try not to do it too much.

    now, just because you went on vacation does not mean you can just lay around! :)

  13. Congratulations! Awesome job on your longest run ever! Funnyrunner sent me over to your site. You are both really inspiring me to get back into racing! Maybe I'll check out the local upcoming races and start training for one!

  14. Well done! It's always exciting entering new distance territory. I can't wait to follow you on your journey! --Alex (aka run350)

  15. nice job on the long run! I live in GA as well so I can sympathize on the brutal heat/humidity. I haven't heard much about the chickamauga marathon, so I'm interested to keep up with how it goes for you!

  16. I really enjoyed this entry. It reflected some recent runs I've had in the heat and humidity that I had to give up on and was being a little hard on myself but followed it up with a good run that built the confidence back up again. Good luck with your training and I'll definitely keep up with your blog. I recently started my own blog chronicling my training for my first half marathon and how my relationship with God is an important element in my running. If you'd like to check it out, it's Looking forward to reading more on your training. Take care and God bless.

  17. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.

    I am overwhelmed with all the response and I appreciate every comment!

    This coming Sunday is my first 16 miler so stay tuned :)

  18. Tim well done.
    14+ miles is a great run and you were right with your pace.
    At this stage its about time on your feet.
    Getting the body used to the road for 2 hours plus is a big milestone.
    Well done and keep it up.

  19. What a good run if you had a choice at 12 miles to walk in your front door or continue for two more and you chose to keep on running! You must have an iron stomach, I could never run with a freshly fed tummy. Keep up the good training!

  20. Great post. I was going to write something similar. Will check this blog more often I think.

  21. Tim, I just would like to say that I am enjoying reading your journey. Losing 90 pounds is beyond inspirational and you are also a good writer. I consider this to be a journal of empowerment :-)