Today’s long run was the longest training run I’ve ever done: 24 miles!
When I saw 24 miles on the training plan back in February, I did not know if I should run that far for training purposes. Most plans have you max out at 20 miles—maybe 22, but as the weeks progressed, I’ve felt more confident in my mileage and in the training plan, so I figured why not?
I was going to play it smart though and if anything wasn’t feeling right, I would only do 20—but hopefully at least 22 miles.
I ate breakfast (about 500 calories), got busy doing other things, and probably waited too long (3 hours) before I finally got started. (I usually try to start within two hours of eating.)
I picked up these Hammer Nutrition gels at REI this week when I saw they were $0.99. I really like all the Hammer Nutrition products I’ve tried, and I liked this energy gel as well!
After 10 miles, I “stopped” at home to grab some water, pick up another energy gel, and drop my gloves off. I didn’t actually stop; I literally ran up to my pile of things, grabbed what I needed, and continued running.
It is always one of my goals during each long run NOT to stop. I figure if I can get in the habit of not taking breaks, I won’t want them during a race.
I did take one break today so that I could drink more water than the just few sips I can only take while on the run. Craig wasn’t able to bike with me today otherwise I would have had more opportunities to drink extra water while running.
After about 13 miles, I started to get tired and my pace dropped off to 8:20 minutes/mile. I was still feeling fine, but I also could feel the effects of running for almost 2 hours starting to set in.
At 2:00, I took my second energy gel. I’ve been trying these Accel Gels after a couple fellow runners recommended them. The jury is still out on whether they are better than a “traditional” energy gel. These gels have a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio—all of the other brands I’ve tried just have carbohydrates. And I *think* they help, but then again it might be in my head. I’m still experimenting.
They do cost more and they are also more watery. I think I like that better though because then I don’t have to chew my gels. (I’ve found the GU brand to be the thickest, but they also taste the best.)
At mile 17, I actually did literally stop at home for some water and to pick up my third energy gel (which I didn’t end up taking but probably should have).
By this time, I was starting to get tired and my pace dropped to around 8:30 minutes/mile. Yet, my overall time was pretty decent. I started to realize how close I was to my marathon PR (which stands at 3:42 right now)—and I was on a training run!
The last 3 miles were the toughest—I knew I was almost done yet I still had a few miles to go. I did my best to hang on and also do a few pick-ups the last two miles.
When my watch clicked over to 24 miles, I immediately pushed the stop button on my watch and stopped to walk. I looked at my watch and saw 3:20. All I could think was, “Wow! I only had to run 2 (point two) more miles to complete a marathon, which would have been about 18 more minutes. I might have been on track for a marathon PR—in a training run!”
And sure enough, when I checked my average pace, it ended up being 8:22 minutes/mile and if I could have maintained this pace for another 2.2 miles (which I’m 95% sure I could have), I would have a new marathon PR of 3:39!!
This is so exciting because this was a training run, I haven’t tapered yet, I didn’t have people cheering for me, and I wasn’t racing or in race-mode! I can’t wait to see what this marathon will bring. Now I just need to pray my training continues to go well, I don’t become injured, and the conditions are ideal (or mostly ideal) for the marathon!
Glad to be done.