Today I started off my day with a three and a half hour run. Sounds like the perfect long weekend, right? I was actually kind of nervous for this Sunday long run because it was actually my LONGEST training run EVER! When I was training for Calgary, I celebrated my 21st birthday by running 21 miles, got injured, and then before I hit taper time I worked back up to another 21 mile training run. I had always intended to have 22 miles as my longest distance before the marathon taper but last training cycle it just didn’t really work out. I can happily report that I made it throughout the twenty-two miler and now I get to put on the brakes a little, dial down the intensity, and hopefully coast my way to race day.
I have to admit, running solo kind of got to me today. It is a long time running by yourself when you are out there for three and a half hours. I think it was mostly the conditions as it was weirdly foggy for 70% of the run. I felt really alone when I couldn’t see 50m in front of me. I ran some country roads before I did a little tour around the city so when I was alone I mean I was really alone. No cars, no people, just me, some podcasts, and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement about 3804718963 times.
It cleared up for the last part of my run, and it was at that point that I had run out of water and was running into the direct sunlight. I was about to stop at McDonalds, about 2 miles from my house, when who should roll on up beside me… my parents!! My dad is too cool to ride along side me but my mom stuck it out and rode with me home. Thank goodness she was there because she had a full water bottle and some words of encouragement to coach me through my last few minutes.
Again, the only thing that got sore were the bottoms of my feet. I think it is my shoes but it also could be the 22 miles. Even after my 76 k bike ride and 4 mile run yesterday I tried to keep a consistent, easy, long/slow run pace. My legs felt a bit heavy at first but after five miles they were ready to go. I managed an average pace of 8:52 min/mile. It’s funny (but not really) to think that that is what my average pace ended up being for that horrendous Calgary marathon 😉
I listened to the Jay & Dan podcast of course and then I started listening to the Marathon Training Academy podcasts. The hosts, a running couple in the US, are insanely monotone and kind of painful to listen to, but they have lots of good advice and they interview some awesome people. I actually learned a lot, particularly about fuelling. I had some Honey Stinger energy chews and a package of Sunkist fruit gummies that my mom bought for my younger cousins. Sugar is sugar. I needed more water but we all know I am terrible at hydration. I kind of thought there were more gas stations and stuff on my route than there actually were… lesson learned! My mom saved me.
I felt pretty good after I got that extra water kick at the end. I finished off 22.43 miles and then walked a cool down from the corner of my street. It was already getting pretty hot when I got home! I had a chocolate smoothie with extra protein from Starbucks post-run because it turns out I can handle lots of liquid recovery after long runs, just not solid food. I know that the glycogen window is really important and refuelling is half of the importance of long runs so I am glad I found the smoothie solution. Plus, I downed a water bottle of Ultima electrolyte as soon as I got home.
I am happy to report that I survived my longest training run ever. The toughest battle was the mental one. I got kind of lonely but that was probably better mental training than I could ever ask for. It was a good pace for me and I never felt like I was pushing hard or anything. I always try and stick to slow long runs because it is more for time on feet and getting used to the endurance than it is about speed.
I topped off the week with 54.27 running miles. Probably one of my highest mileage weeks too! I got in an awesomely tough trail run and a solid ten mile tempo run. This was my peak weak and now I am slowly tapering for the Edmonton marathon that happens August 24, in three weeks! I know that a lot of people cap their training runs at 20 miles and some reach to 23 or 24. I am really happy I got a 22 miler in because somehow it gave me a little more confidence. 4 more miles sounds better than 6 more to me 😉
What is your longest training run in a marathon cycle?
Do you run solo or with a partner or group?