I ran 23 miles on Sunday. My coach gave me a timed run for my long run on Sunday. I was given 3:15 to run anywhere between 8:20-9:15 pace. I love running long runs that are planned like this because the end goal is the time and not the distance. If you are planning for 20 miles and having a horrible run each mile can seem endless and you can feel like hitting the pace that you need is sheer torture. I find that long runs by time take the pressure off and allow me to perform how I am feeling in the moment.
Last week I took an additional day off as my legs were feeling tight and “fried” from the previous week of hard training. I knew that if I didn’t take an extra day to recover then my long run would be a disaster. I am so glad I took the rest because by Sunday morning my legs felt fresh and ready to go. As an additional bonus the weather on Sunday was picture perfect for running a long distance, high 40’s with only light wind. Now if only we could order up that weather for the Boston Marathon! I figure I need to be prepared for anything! With the weird winter we’ve had it will probably either be snowing or blazing hot. As long as I continue to conquer my miles and get each run done then I should be good to go on race day!
I woke up late on Sunday, the time change threw us off. It was nice to sleep in and have a big breakfast before my run. I started my run around 10:30 which was actually great since we will be running around that time on Marathon Monday. I dutifully packed my hydration pack with my usual Clif Shots with caffeine and Clif Organic Fuel (banana, mango, coconut, yum!), water, and a hydration flask filled with Skratch Labs Raspberry Hydration Mix. I kissed my kids goodbye and headed out the door. Lately I have been favoring out and back runs from my house for my long runs. I have been running alone which has been amazing mental training for working through the tough parts of a run. The roads from my house offer a ton of hills and are perfect practice for Boston. Also, either way you go the run begins with some downhill and we all know that Boston is a downhill course!.
This run was like magic. The miles just ticked off and I was very comfortable with an average pace of 8:29 with some quicker miles during different points. I allowed myself to just feel the run and worked on keeping my body loose. I am thankful that I have been doing Bootcamp since this fall. The additional strength gained from bootcamp keeps me moving through the tougher miles because I know I have the strength and I remind myself of it. I was super psyched when I reached the turnaround point and I was already at 11.5 miles. This would definitely be my longest training run and if I could match my pacing on the way home then i would be well on track for Boston. It warmed up as I ran and I definitely needed everything in my pack to keep my energy up and also to stay hydrated.
I was surprised at how well I felt on the run home. I always play mental games with myself when I run and break the mileage into chunks. Every time a mile ticks of on my Garmin rather than to think of it as 5 miles to go, I think oh, “4.99 miles to go or less than 5 miles to go,” this makes the distances seem more manageable. Before I knew it I was closing in on our farm which meant I had 3 miles to go and one set of monster hills to tackle. These hills are a good test of will. Even though my legs were fatiguing at this point I never let myself quit on these hills and walk. I slogged on because I wanted to push for 23 miles. Once I made it to the top of the hill by the local organic dairy farm I knew that I was in the home stretch. With one mile to go and 23 miles in reach I picked up the pace for the last mile. And wouldn’t you know it, I just squeaked in–23.o1 miles in 3:15.
This run was a huge confidence boost for me and it also makes running 26.2 miles way less scary. I was feeling so good on my run last weekend I probably could have pushed on for the final 5K to run the whole marathon distance! This weekend my coach has me backing off in distance. I am excited because my long run is only 14 miles! Hopefully it will feel like a breeze. Now the countdown is on for sure! Only 32 days left until race day to log miles and to do the hard work. I have one big long run left (I think . . . I never know what my coach will throw at me) where I will be running the Eastern States 20 miler along with Sarah who is also a part of #TeamStonyfield and who blogs at Run Far Girl.
The excitement is beginning to build.
Here is a peek at my training over the past two weeks.
Today I’ll be running Yasso 800’s again! Hopefully they will go as well as last time!
What was your longest training run? How did it feel? What helped you to run further and faster?