A Long Run after a Long Rest
After 11 long and mentally agonizing days off from running following my Ironman 70.3 Augusta race, I’m feeling a comeback coming on! Yesterday I was able to go on my first long run in 2 weeks, and I’m declaring it a success. After an easy 4-mile test run on Thursday, I felt healed up enough to rejoin my running group for our last 14-miler before the Marine Corps Marathon. (I’m pretty sure the last 2 weeks count as my taper.) I met my group at 6 a.m. and wasn’t sure what to expect or how I would feel. I didn’t know if I’d be slow as a snail or have a spring in my step from all the rest.
Here’s how the run shook out:
Mile 1: 9:09
Mile 2: 8:53
Mile 3: 9:03
Mile 4: 9:03
Mile 5: 8:52
Mile 6: 8:42
Mile 7: 8:33
Mile 8: 8:36
Mile 9: 8:55
Mile 10: 8:50
Mile 11: 8:44
Mile 12: 8:48
Mile 13: 8:43
Mile 14: 8:55
Last 0.23: 7:47
14.23 miles: Average pace: 8:49/mile
So what were my key takeaways?
- I might be stronger than I think. I’ve been convinced that 11 days off was going to completely derail my speed and endurance. Although I am sore from yesterday’s run and began to feel a bit fatigued around the 13-mile mark, I was able to push myself while still feeling strong. I do think the time off is making my body ache a little earlier than normal. After 14 miles Saturday, I felt more like I typically do after 18. My feet and ankles were very happy to be done, and my knees and hips were feeling tired by the end.
- The start of this run is very similar to how I’d like to start my marathon in 2 weeks. Slow and conservatively. Don’t go out too fast. Don’t waste energy dodging the crowds. Begin to build more speed after the first 3 miles.
- I was happy with how consistent my splits were. With the exception of miles 7 and 8 which had large downhill portions, we hovered within a reasonable range that felt doable for the marathon.
- In the last few weeks, I’ve started fueling with gels instead of Swedish Fish. I feel they get into my blood stream faster and have better ingredients (I’m using Honey Stinger’s all natural brand).
- My electrolytes were off yesterday. My skin was a little salty despite drinking my Nuun and taking one salt tablet. I don’t think I hydrated enough on Thursday and Friday, nor did I eat enough salt the night before the run. That will be a big focus for me during the next 2 weeks. Nutrition and hydration are king!
- I’m going to really focus on my speed work and tempo runs during the next 8-10 days. Be on the lookout for a post on speed work this week!
- Miles 21 through 26.2 still scare the crap out of me, and they always will.
- The online running community continues to be the coolest group of people on the planet! Thank you for all your support, encouragement and love. You guys rock.
T-minus 14 days until show time!
How do you typically feel running after several consecutive days off? Do you use fuel with caffeine during your races and long runs?