20+ Mile Run

The most important type of run while training for a marathon is, not surprisingly, the long run.  The goal is to get out and run for very long distance so that your body can adapt to the distances and running for such a long period of time.  Nearly all marathon training plans will have you run a long run once per week.  The training plan I’m following for the 2008 Marine Corps. Marathon calls for four 20 mile runs.  Those are the longest runs in the plan.  I prefer to get some runs in before the race at 22-24 miles in length.  When the plan calls for a 20 mile run I plan to do a minimum of 20 and hope that I feel good enough at the end of the run that I can add a couple of miles.  This weekend was one of those runs!

The first 20 miler I ran for this training plan didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  I was out of energy at the end of the run and couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I was quite wobbly when I finally finished.  I finished with a very good pace but I didn’t feel strong.  Feeling strong is more important to me, at this point, than having a fast time.  Running fast is for races.

This time I tried to fuel myself better.  I ate a larger bagel and I ate it slightly closer to the start of the run.  I gave myself 2 hours between when I ate the bagel and when I started running as opposed to 2.5 the previous time.  I ate a larger banana before the run.  I also took an antacid to prevent the heart burn that I sometimes get when I eat a banana and run.  I chose Powerade as my sports drink.  I did this only because that’s the drink that will be on the Marine Corps course this year.  I needed to see if I could stomache the stuff.  I also brought 3 gels with me.  I decided to try Gu brand gels instead of Clif Shot.

Something worked right.  I tried so many things at once that I have no idea which really helped.  The only problem I had was that my stomach felt full for most of the run.  I don’t know if that was from eating more, the different gel, or the different sports drink.  I had my first and only gel at about mile 8.  After that I kept putting off having more because I didn’t think I could stomach anymore of it.  I ended up finishing my run having had only 1 gel.

Compared to Powerbar endurance I do not like Powerade.  It doesn’t taste as good and it doesn’t sit all that well.  I think I can get used to it though.

This was my first run with my new Ironman watch.  The watch has a “lap” feature that I used to mark various parts of the run. My overall pace was an 8:06.  These are my splits:

  • 0-6.5 miles: 55:25 pace 8:32
  • 6.5-7.14 miles: 5:06 pace 7:59
  • next 6.5 miles: 51:14 pace 7:53
  • time spent at mailbox swapping gear: 25 seconds pace INFINITY
  • next 6.5 miles: 52:14 pace 8:03
  • final additional 1.19 mile loop: 9:16 pace 7:48

After the run my fan club drove me home.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

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