marathon week 10: twenties

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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.

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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!

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  • 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.

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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.

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Mile 13: To myself: wow, I’ve run 13 miles and I’m feeling great. Then: holy crap I need to run another 13.

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  • 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.

m14-19

  • 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.

m20-22

  • 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.

 

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