Twenty miles has always been my benchmark. Can I make it through a ~4 hour run? Alright, ok, then, I can make it through a marathon.
This is my post-20 miler in the rain face. We’re all a little mad here.
Note the caveat – make it through. I definitely saw the difference last year between crashing into a whole lot of run mileage all at once (some run/walk action in the middle of marathon #3) and all of a sudden tapering, versus spending months working up to high mileage and a nice, big, fat run base (running every step of marathon #4) and I enjoyed the second one a whole lot more.
However, because reasons (Kerrville was my A race again this fall, and husband wanted a crack at both marathons he missed last year and me not blaming him one bit for it), we’re doing the exact same thing again, and because other reasons (Bonaire vacation, no will to do anything swim/bike/run for 2 weeks and 2 days), we’re even one more week behind on total run volume.
This is my fourth year of a fall marathon right off 70.3 training, so I should be used to it, but after the half ironman haze fades, I’m always like FUCK I’M SO BEHIND! Thankfully, I’ve found that I can go from 0 to MILES pretty quick as long as…
a) I keep in the lower end of the zip code of my total hours of 70.3 training (10-11 hours tri training = 7-8 hours pure running)
b) I mind the recovery in terms of sleep, stretching, relaxing, etc.
c) keep an eye on my body parts and drop runs if they are not in reasonable working order.
I was happy to get in a 15 mile run in early September, plus two 13s (though the one during the race was run/walk, miles are miles) and a 10. So, 0 is a bit of a misnomer – I had some decent run volume during tri training, just not *marathon* volume.
Week 1 of training was a little underwhelming on the weekday runs (13 miles total), but I busted out a pretty great 15 miler on that Saturday, with the last 4 miles faster.
The goal for week 2 was to ramp up to peak week-esque miles with a double on Tuesday, a longer run on Thursday and go out on Saturday, aiming for a 18-20 mile run and 46 total.
My body and mind kinda said FUCK YOU to that.
I cut Tuesday’s double run to a single because I felt tired and my knee was cranky. And then, after I relented and went to the chiropractor, she asked me to cut my mileage to shorter runs for the rest of the week and if all was good, THEN I could consider a long run. I was very happy she didn’t rule it out, and I felt things feel better as the week went on with everything in the right place and the muscles stop being cranky because my left hip was a full inch higher than my right. But, I could definitely see how going out for a double digit run right away on that could have thrown everything right back into chaos, so missing those miles was the right thing to do.
Saturday was a bit of a wildcard. Rain was in the forecast 100%. I don’t mind running in the rain, but lightning would be a deal breaker. The plan for inclement weather (like, severely inclement) was a treadmill run. Let that one sink in. 20 miles/4 hours on the treadmill. I’ve done 15 but it took multiple Konas to get me through it and this would be the gym where I’d have no control over the TV. I steeled myself for 4 trips around Monterey Bay, my tunes, and trying to ignore bad TV.
Thankfully, when we got up that day, the forecast was JUST rain. Pretty heavy and steady rain, but no lightning. So, up and out we went.
I love running in the rain, and my last two 20+ runs involved some level of rain. I found a lot of joy in this one. I was a little worried about my knee holding up, and it talked to me a wee bit on the earlier parts of the run, but it actually felt like it was getting *better* as I passed into double digits.
I made one sock change at about 6 miles in, but realized quickly that it wouldn’t matter. I tried to avoid puddles at first, but then realized it was futile (and all the juking around was actually making my legs cranky), so I just started forging through them. It was the most fun option, anyway! Instead of being cranky at the rain, I spent most of the day smiling and singing and dancing in it, and thanking the universe for this opportunity. I mean, seriously, as adults, when do we get 4 hours to play in the rain? Never!
After winding around the neighborhood for 6 miles (and said sock change), we went on a journey, which I love. We passed as many creeks and bridges as we could so we could see how high things were. It’s cool to see creek beds that are normally dry gushing with water.
At around mile 15, when we finally crested the 3 mile hill and turned back towards the house, I got my second wind and picked up the pace and pulled away from Zliten (we have an agreement – when one of us is having a good day, just GO). My last 5 miles were 10:53, 10:57, 11:12, 11:05, and 10:40. I’m getting pretty good at this fast(er) finish thing and I’m really not even trying.
It’s also the first run I’ve ever done this long without music. Before, I used to need that distraction to run. I would legit reschedule a run if my mp3 player was dead. A year ago, I would have felt the same way. Now, I still enjoy music while I run at times, but *needing* music is not really a thing anymore. I was pretty proud that I didn’t have one thought on Saturday about missing auditory distraction. I didn’t need somewhere to hide, even those last 5 miles.
I really wish I could amp up the mid-week miles a little more because I’m handling these long runs out of nowhere very well, but it may be an either/or situation right now. I need get my legs under me, and in the timeline I’m in – I’ll take a SPECTACULAR 20 with only 18 mid-week miles to support it rather than only running 7-8 miles a day x 5 days a week (yep, it’s marathon season when I say shit like that). Soon I’ll be running all the miles. Just not quite yet.
- 38 miles run
- Long run of 20
- One session with some faster miles or segments (4 mile progression – check)
- 1 dozen + a few stretches
- Did NOT get to the lake or pool. I’d claim rain but honestly, I just wasn’t ready yet.
- All food tracked. I’ll discuss ratios a little bit below.
This week’s goals:
- ~40-45 miles of running
- Long run of 18-20 (lets go volume!)
- One session with some faster miles or segments
- 2 dozens + stretch
- Get your ass to the pool. Or at least on a bike. But pool.
- Track all your food, and adhere to the NEW rules.
So, I’ll be honest. I have to dial this eating plan back. I hit a weight that threw up MAJOR red flags (190) three days in a row. The plan was to allow for a little weight gain, about 5 lbs, which I was ok (begrudgingly) with. Then it got closer to 10. I’m now up to about 12-14 lbs up from where I was August 1st, which is NOT OK with me.
Obviously, this means that I’m outeating my training. I’m reading a lot of pro athlete daily diary blogs, and they consume a lot of carbs… between their 2-3 workouts a day. Then, they eat like a normal (carb heavy) human for meals. Running for an hour does not merit the same eating as training many hours per day.
Right now, besides long run day, I am, for the most part running 1-1.5 hours a day with ~2 days off. I do not think that 2700 calories or 400g carbs 7 days a week is doing me good. So, I’m modifying a little to see if I can get back in the realm of feeling like I don’t jiggle when I walk like a bowl full of jelly, and also fuel my workouts properly.
- Long run day (3+ hours) – aim for about 3000 calories and over 400g carbs. These are the days I need to be fueling my ass off.
- Mid-week long run day (1.5 to 2 hours) – aim for about 2300 calories and at least 300g carbs.
- Normal training days (1 hour runs) – aim for about 2000 calories and as close to 300g carbs as possible.
- Days off – let hunger dictate. Aim for a little less than normal training days, but eat a little more if I’m still hungry. The day after long runs – I’ll probably be hungrier.
- Eat as much as I can as close to runs as possible. I’m doing a lot of lunch runs so this works out SUPER great (get back, pop food in microwave, shower, eat immediately). Post long runs, I have a new recovery shake and it’s frikkin mana from heaven. I find the sooner I eat after running, the less “rungry” I am later in the day.
I’ll give this a few weeks, and then see if I need to tweak it further. I’d like to see my weight eventually stabilize around that “5 lbs up” (181-183) I was promised. I am 100% still in the mindset that this marathon is a training run, and besides not being a dumbass and fueling my longer runs properly, this is probably a good opportunity to get the weight in check so I’m not running this marathon pushing 200 lbs. It’s terrifying that this would even be a possibility, but that’s where we’re at.
And, with that, back to my regularly scheduled week. Vacation part two coming soon. Promise!