TITLE: 20 Miles the Hard Way
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: July 30, 2006 8:26 PM
Here are two signs that you may face a tough 20-miler:
... and that doesn't even take into account the fact that
it's a 20-miler!
There isn't much I can do to change the weather conditions,
and there's not much I can do to address them when it stays
hot and humid through the night. I can run slowly and take
plenty of fluids. Choosing a shaded route is good, too.
My soreness is under some control, though I depend on my
harder workouts to get faster for my race. This week,
however, I overdid both of my fast workouts, partly out
of ignorance though also partly out of overeagerness.
(Stick to the plan!)
This morning, I ran slowly, but "on plan" -- ≤ 70 seconds
over marathon goal pace, which is within the 60-90 seconds
over marathon goal pace recommended by the coach who designed
the plan I'm following. The route I ran offered shade for
much of the last 8 miles, which certainly helped as the
temperature rose into the mid-80s. I also drank a lot of
fluid -- at least when compared to my usual practice. I
consumed 19 oz. of the sports drink that will be available
Last year's experience
suggests that my body may not absorb the liquid I take on
the course all that well, especially this brand. That
almost certainly affected my hydration during the marathon
last year. This year I hope to train my body to take more
liquid, and this kind of liquid in particular. If nothing
else, I need to get used to living with the flavor for
almost four hours!
The first two hours today felt good, much better than the first
half of last week's 18-miler. But I began to feel the effects
of the weather and fatigue in the last hour. Then I ran a bit
faster for my 18th mile (8:15), just to see if I had anything
left. I did -- but then not for the last two miles. This is
an indulgence I need to give up.
(Stick to the plan!)
Last year at this time I ran a
on a rails-to-trails trail in
That run felt much better than today's, and I ran much faster.
I was in better shape last year after a perfect spring 2005.
The timing of my hard workouts and the weather probably
contributed, too. But running too fast on my long runs
last year also probably hindered my speed training last
year and may have led me to peak too soon, both physically
and mentally. So I am not too worried about running slower
on my first 20-mile run of 2006.
For I now, I am happy to have my first pair of big weeks
(50 and 52 miles) under my belt. Now I look forward to a
consolidation week -- 48 miles, with a long run of only 14
or so. Such periods, which I schedule every three weeks,
let the body recover from recent increases in hard work and
mileage and adapt to these new stresses. Then I face my next
big climb: weeks of 56 and 58 miles, with long runs of 22 and
24. I think of that pair as like the Tour de France entering
the Alps for a couple of massive climbs...
- When you rise at 6 AM, the dew point is 78 degrees,
and the temperature is already 80 degrees. (This
problem is at the other extreme from the one you
in the winter.)
- You are already sore from your workouts during the