Now that I’m into the meat of my marathon training, my long runs are twenty miles or more. With three more twenty milers to go before I taper, I have a chance to simulate race day or at least practice my preparation, fueling, and recovery.
This weekend I ran 21.25 miles along the Strand, a bike path that follows the Pacific Coast in Los Angeles and logged my run here:
- The night before: set out my clothes, shoes, and gels- three for this run. Charged my watch, made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and foam rolled.
- 430 am: woke up and ate my PBJ sandwich, drank a glass of water, and went back to bed.
- 530 am: woke up again, ate a banana, put on sunscreen, got dressed, and did my warm up routine.
- 615 am: out the door!
- Miles 1-4: I was a little stiff so I warmed up slowly. It usually takes me two or three miles to loosen up entirely and today was not different. I expect my taper and race day adrenaline will have me loose before I run the marathon. First water stop at mile four.
- Mile 7: I reached Dockweiler Beach and ate my first gel. My sandwich and banana were not giving me any problems. Looks like eating two hours before running was a successful experiment. GU “espresso love” gel gave me a little caffeine boost.
Miles 8-13: held a steady relaxed pace about 15 seconds slower than my goal pace. Feeling good! Stopped for water at mile 10 and then gel number two at mile 13. GU salted caramel.
Mile 13: To myself: wow, I’ve run 13 miles and I’m feeling great. Then: holy crap I need to run another 13.
- Miles 14-19: Starting to feel the miles add up. I felt like my pace was lagging but I was actually running a little faster, right around my race pace. Stopped for water at 16.5 miles and then my final gel at mile 18. GU caramel macchiato.
- Miles 20-22: Once I reached 19 miles I felt a surge of energy since I was so close to passing 20. I was not paying attention but I should have been because I ran mile 20 faster than my race pace. I don’t know what would have happened if there were still six miles to go but I doubt that it would be anything positive. Maybe I can keep that surge in check for a few more miles and use it to cross the finish line?
- My final mile was a cool down. I was definitely tired- I just ran 21 miles- but I felt like I had enough strength to continue. Thumbs up to my fueling experiment.
- Recovery: as soon as I got home I drank a protein shake, followed by a soy latte and a bagel with cheese. When the food settled I did a quick glute-circuit routine, showered, and relaxed. After lunch I took a one hour nap. The next day I ran seven easy miles to keep myself loose and did an IT band strength workout.
- Next steps: I had to stop in order to eat my gels. I’ll need to practice eating them while running or slowing down. I like to run wearing a beanie because it keeps the sweat out of my eyes but the sun bothered me on some sections of the Strand. I’ll try my next long run with a hat.
I’m happy that my eating strategy worked for a 21 mile run. I’m not running any further before the marathon so I estimate one more gel will get me to the finish line intact and holding my goal pace of 7:45-8:00. Onward.