Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Runs

As I've mentioned before, i'm working on increasing my mileage in attempts to be able to run a marathon next Spring. With that goal in mind, I laced up for my longest run in 15 years this morning. My GPS crapped out on me, but as far as I can tell from Google Maps, I ran ~8.8 miles, finishing in 1:15, just around my typical 8:30 minute mile pace. Can't say it was easy! I took two short walks and while I didn't have any chafing or blister issues, I did run short of energy towards the end (no breakfast or coffee so I didn't have to go to the bathroom, the bane of morning runs - guess I should start investing in those energy goos). I also, surprisingly, found that my shoulders got very sore. I've known that I should focus a bit on my upper arm strength so that my arms don't get tired on longer runs, but this is the first time that i've actually felt acute fatigue in my arms.

Over 12 hours later, I feel good, if a bit sore, but my legs still feel like they have no strength left in them. Building up muscular endurance for roughly 3x what I did today is going to be challenging!


  1. Nice work! That's a serious run. I hope you had a nice course.

    It sounds like you are serious about the marathon next spring. Let's definitely plan on it together.

    I've found that oatmeal about 30-45 minutes before a long run is the best source of energy for me, but I'll look forward to hearing what works for you.

  2. last week, i set out for a 4.5 mile run. i had "run support" at home with the in-laws in town, the weather was right about perfect and i felt really incredible just to be getting out for a run.

    all that translated into me feeling really amazing DURING the run... and when i hit my normal loop point, i just ran on past. it's pretty simply when you're running on the charles because there are many segments you can add to make your run longer. i ended up adding 2 segments, which turned my 4.5 mile run into a 9 mile run.

    the longest i had run in the year prior to that was a bit over 7.5. i'd have to say the last two miles were nothing similar to the first 7... i went from feeling great to wondering how i was going to get home. but all told it was simply a matter of controlling my pace over those last couple, keeping it slower than he previous mileage.

    i doubt i'll do that mileage again anytime soon, both for lack of time and for lack of desire, but it was fun to revisit longer distances. if you both were going to do a marathon, i might be convinced to train for it...

  3. Love it!

    I totally relate to everything you felt here.

    Every time I go out for a long run, I get that "how am I going to get home" feeling at the end. For me, though, that's one of the things that makes a long run rewarding - knowing that you pushed through that barrier.

    And doing so really is a matter of making decisions about how you will control your pace. I find that aspect of running to be long really rewarding, too.

    As for lack of desire? Every time I do a long run, at the end, I feel I don't want to do it again for a while. But after several days, I'm raring to go again.

  4. I, too, experienced all of the emotions detailed above. Historically, I haven't hit the wall before (questioned if i'd finish) but then I haven't run such long distances in the past. Something new to combat! This last run, I did so by walking for ~100 yards and giving my shoulders time to rest.

    Oatmeal sounds like a great idea Joel (i've read to avoid fiber and coffee before AM runs) but for me it's a timing thing. I'm up and out the door as fast as I can so that I can get back before the kids have been awake for too long. I'm hoping I can find a good supplement to keep me going and then gorge myself on breakfast and smoothies when I get home.

    I'm going to write a "hold me to it" post shortly, but I have formed a Burlington Marathon exploratory committee for the 2012 race. The signup is November 1, 2011 and i'm told that it fills up quickly. As long as my body holds up to the increased mileage over the next few months, i'm planning on giving it a go. I'll write an official "let's do it" post soon, but I'd love it if one or both of you would join me! Details are here:

  5. If you register, I'll register with you on the same day!

  6. i've hit the wall before... 20 miles out from my car on a long bike ride. i literally could no longer push the pedals, crawling seemed near impossible. it was awful. you'll KNOW if you hit the wall, or 'bonk' as they say.

    used a HRM to try and keep it slow, and really achieved what i was hoping to. no fatigue, little pain, plenty of energy:

    1 10:04 10'04"/mi
    2 19:40 9'36"/mi
    3 29:04 9'24"/mi
    4 38:35 9'31"/mi
    5 48:10 9'35"/mi
    6 57:30 9'20"/mi
    7 1:06:56 9'26"/mi
    8 1:16:24 9'27"/mi

    the remaining mile doesn't show up because it's just shy of a mile (ended up with 9:28 pace avg, it's hard for me to pace myself and i'm proud that i could).

    would like to get a few 10 milers in and an 18 miler before signing up, but i think it's manageable. i've already run one marathon and my first race ever was 1 of the 2 halves i've raced.

  7. That's a really nice, smooth pace. Were you trying to keep each mile around 9:30, or were you focused on keeping an even heart rate the entire time? (If so, what heart rate?)

    I have a heart rate monitor, but don't use it. Maybe I should. For the most part, I just set pace goals based on what I think will realistically make it possible for me to finish my run.

    I take half-mile splits instead of mile splits, which helps to keep an even pace.

    If you are doing 9 miles now, getting up to 20+ miles by the end of May 2012 will NOT be a problem. All it would take is one long run per month where you add 1-2 mile on top of what you've previously done. Everything more is just gravy.

  8. I'd be interested in how both of you pace yourselves. I simply go by feel at the moment, and typically end up with a 8:30 - 8:45 pace. I anticipate this dropping as the mileage increases, and suppose I should start taking a more scientific approach. Joel, you said you take splits: do you do that manually on a watch or do you use another tool?

    Eric, agreed with Joel with regards to mileage buildup. There was a good marathon planner in RW a few months back that was what got me seriously thinking about training. Basically, it was running 3-4 times a week at "average" mileage (between 5-10 miles I think) and then one extra-long run every weekend. It also said that as long as you get in one 20 mile run, you'll be good: the last 6 miles are just a mental challenge. Probably involving that wall we've been talking about...

  9. one of the biggest problems i have with running in general is pacing. i tend to go out and run as fast as my body and mind will allow and am usually completely out of gas by the time i'm done. so when i plan to go longer, i need to figure out a way to pace myself.

    even with the nike+ gps app, which gives me my pace in near real-time, i can't seem to slow it down... my body just falls into a rhythm.

    today, however, i broke out an old tool i used to use for triathlon training (mainly on the bike), my heart rate monitor. the interesting thing about this is that you can FEEL something in your body related to the number you're seeing. when it comes to pace, one day i could be running 7:30s feeling the same way i do the next running 9s. when i'm using the HRM, i try to keep it in a particular zone, which increases over time, and i can usually tell when i'm pushing too hard. the watch has alarms that go off if i go into the wrong zone... and i allow it to build gradually, as my heart rate naturally does over a run.

    it worked well today. the first mile was painfully slow for me... i really tried as hard as i could to stay in the zone. but after mile 2, i found a rhythm with the pace and i started to feel good with it. getting into that rhythm is key to me being able to pull off any extended mileage... as soon as i mentally break from it, i'm toast. i kept it when and even allow myself to kick pretty hard in the last .8 mile.

    best way to pace yourself though? run with someone...