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Marathon Training Run 18 Miles - Looking For Feedback

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This is the longest distance Dave and I have ever run/walked. I've done longer hikes though. We are training for our first marathon (10/6).

Distance: Total Mileage: 19.17.

Time: 4h35m - 5 minute warmup walk, walk after 17.5 mi

Pace: 14:21 overall - before final long walk, was 13:44

Weather: 79-85*, 59% humidity, cloudy, occasional breezes (not cool breezes)

Trail conditions: gravel trails (former rails-to-trails) except 1.5 miles of pavement, frequent tree cover.

Timing: started mid afternoon - after working a 6.5 hour shift (on my feet)

Hydration: 9+ cups of water during run

Fuel: Every 15 minutes starting at 30 minutes. Combo of gels (1/4 of a large one every 15 minutes; dislike but tried again because will be available at first marathon), chews (1 every 15 minute; prefer these)

How did it go? It was really, really hard to keep going - this started well before we got near our previous longest distance (16 miles). Now that I think about it, things started getting difficult at mile 6.5, when we started the paved section, which was also hillier. The hills were long, "slow" ones. My legs just felt tired. during the latter part of the run, I kept telling myself "only 3 minutes to go". We have been doing very well with 3 minute run to 1 minute walk intervals. I contemplated shortening the run interval, but chose to not to. I told myself I would stop intervals at 17.5 miles, figuring we had only about 5 minutes until we got to the car. Well, I was off on figuring how far away the car was, so we ended up walking 1.75 mile, slowly. I felt much better after taking ibuprofen, stretching and getting off my feet. And I asked Dave to drive to pick up the other car.

We normally train with a group that runs early Saturday mornings on paved bike trails, but sometimes like this run, we have to go it on our own. I will not attempt another long run later in the day - especially after working and not doing the math to realize how late we'd be out (I am a morning person). We will also do out-and-back runs rather than setting up our own shuttles.

Background details: Life has been extra challenging lately. Dave (DH) lost his job 7/18, so money and insurance are huge issues. We dropped our eldest child off at the college for the first time on Saturday. For 3 weekends straight, I will be making trips out of state. My mother has been in/out of the hospital 4x since Memorial Day. We have one cat (my mother's) who the vet could go any day now - since before Memorial Day. We have an old cat (20YO) that doesn't look so great. But I may be borrowing trouble there. My uncle died. I miss long distance day hiking. I've been feeling even more overwhelmed lately. I can tie my weight gain to when Dave lost his job. As usual, I don't get enough sleep. But I remain committed to the marathon training - usually running (3x/week) feels good and helps me feel sane again. I cling to this goal as the one thing I won't give up, I won't bend to all the other demands on me and my time.

Areas I'm looking for feedback on:

1) Is it normal to get really hungry and crave food starting about 2 hours in? Does this mean we need to adjust our fuel or pre-run food? This has happened on other long runs. By the end of this run, things got to the point where I just wanted to get home, I stopped caring about food.

2) Does getting a headache in the later part of the run mean anything? I had it for maybe the last hour. I even started to feel nauseous during the last walk in. I ate some walnuts (1/2 cup) and took sips of some cold Clear American carbonated water in the car. I craved salt (not uncommon for me :) ) - wish I wasn't out of my usual car stash of salted almonds.

3) Any ideas why this was such a difficult run this time? I get that adding two miles can make the latter part difficult, but this one started getting difficult at mile 7, and just got more and more so.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great job on your run I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said already.
    1701 days ago
    I can't imagine doing that long a run in the afternoon after working.

    As for fuel, I need a gel every 5 miles or so - that's what I did for the 20 miles I did yesterday. And I was doing 1/:30 except for 40/30 from mile 16 on.

    You did great! emoticon


    1701 days ago
  • JESSIKA_56
    1) I do get hungry, and this is normal. Just look at all the calories you are burning! I like PBJ sandwiches for long runs as well as the chews. Sometimes I do dried fruit and pretzels with salt.

    2) In my experience, a headache means I'm getting overheated and/or dehydrated.

    3) The run was probably a difficult one because you had already worked 6+ hours that day and that you are a morning person, but you were running in the evening. Lots of factors like that go in to how difficult the run is.

    Best wishes!
    1704 days ago
    Thought I would add one more item. I'm reading this book: Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners.
    Lot's of good information and well worth the time to read.
    Has a lot of information about how many calories you should eat and what should make up those calories, like carbs, protein and fat.
    One thing she does mention specific to your comments is, if you are hungry for salt, eat salt.
    You might look into reading this book.
    1705 days ago
  • KTLUND99
    Great job on finishing the distance despite not feeling it! Powering through like that will be HUGE for finishing your first marathon!

    1) I agree - your glycogen stores were probably depleted, so try to eat more and try to carb load a few days in advance.

    2) To be out that long and in the heat of the day, you'll need salt or electrolytes. You can add something like Nuun to your water, take a salt tablet, or drink something like Gatorade. The gels and chews will help, but when you're drinking so much regular water, you might need a little extra.

    3) I just read a RW article on Positive thinking. There are going to be bad workout days, but remember that there are more good ones, that you are strong and you can do it, and 18 miles CAN be done, so you CAN do it, and don't get psyched out. Easier said than done, I know. I struggled with anything 18 and over when I was training for my 2 marathons. I can tell you it's better to do them and know you're on track for training than to skip it or shorten it! I shortened a 20-miler to 7-miles because I wasn't feeling well and then doubted myself all through the marathon and missed my goal by 20 minutes. I think if I had pushed through and finished it, I might have made it.

    You're doing great, just keep it up, try to stay positive, and keep having fun!
    1706 days ago
    I first time you do any distance I found it to be really hard. Well at least when you get to those 18+ numbers.

    Fueling, Not sure what the calories you are eating come out to. I eat 100 calories ever 4 miles.

    If you are going to do intervals in that sort of heat you really might want to try more walking. It actually takes less energy to walk a mile than run a mile.

    Personally I found that Galloways ratios fit well with the pace if it was within my ability. So 3/1 gives me a 10 minute mile but 4/1 gives me only 9:30 for a half distance, On the other hand if I use 2/1 I will not slow down to 12 minute miles, but will be much cooler and will recover faster from the long run.

    Do you know what a reasonable training pace is.

    When I trained for my first marathon I did 30 second runs/30 sec walks for all my long training runs.

    I did find it scary to trust the galloway ratio thing at first and walk more.

    Gosh you are having more than your fair share of stress and yes that will effect you.
    1706 days ago
    I could only echo what the others have said but as someone who has only gone as far as a half marathon, WELL DONE!!! You deserve great pack on the back for sticking to your training schedule despite all the other crud going on!!! I'm sooo impressed and convicted!!
    1706 days ago
  • BECCA315
    I'm sorry that I have no running or marathon advice for you, as I can't do either with my bad knees. But I can tell you, via the other issues, that it will eventually get better. Your last two months sound like the start of our year: job issues, health issues for Ed, Nick starting school, health of the cat, the death of my mom and all that entailed. If you need to talk, let me know. Becca emoticon
    1706 days ago
    First, Well done on the training. Long distances ARE difficult and going for your first marathon is outstanding.
    I have done 12 marathons and have done different training programs for many of them.
    I can tell you from my experiences in relation to your questions.
    1. YES!!! after about 2 hours your body's glycogen levels have been just about depleted and they need replacing. The wise thing is not to let yourself get like that and avoid it. I would say you do need to adjust your fuel and your pre run food. It's not just the meals immediately before a long run (marathon) that count, but the several days before hand. Look at your intake for that period of time as well. I use a sport drink in a hydration bladder (backpack) for long runs and that way I am topped up. I also take my gels spaced out a bit more than yours but that is me.

    2. The headache could be that you are dehydrated. Combine that with feeling nauseous and yep could be body starving for fluids and if you were out when temps were getting warmer you might have been losing even more fluids. Early runs sure do help and the later it gets the harder to keep going as the body is starting the training run tired.

    3. I believe we run in our mind first. You mentioned the time of day, running after work, temps and all of them can have a effect on the run, Also just how we are feeling setting out can effect us during the run. When I have long runs when I get to feel drained, I have to mentally shift gears and find the good about it. I know that if I don't get out and do the long runs I will feel it even more at the actual event.
    Keep your focus and the why of this. You might even want to change your run/walk/run ratio if need be, even for part of the run. You can always go back to a different ratio as you feel.

    All the best with your training and your marathon! Welcome to the club!
    1706 days ago
    I think part of your problem could be that it was hot, humid and late in the day.
    I always run/walk shorter intervals for my long may want to try 2/1 or 1/1.
    1706 days ago
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