Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for an awesome and fun giveaway!! =) =)
Since I haven’t blogged since this post, I figured I’d share my workouts from last week with you.
Monday: 30 min bike (9.3 mi) + 5.5 mi speed workout.
- 1/2 mile warm-up
- 2 miles: 12:28
- 2 x 1 mile: 6:07, 5:59 (1st sub-6 mile post-baby!)
- 1/2 mile cool-down
Tuesday: 900 yd swim + 60 min bike (17.85 mi)
Wednesday: 900 yd swim + 5 mi tempo run. Swim went great – swam back-to-back days and arms felt totally fine. Run: warmed up for the first mile (7:30 – started at 8:15 pace and was down to 6:30 for the last minute), stopped the treadmill, stretched one last time, caught my breath and began the workout. My goal was 6:30 4 miles (No starting slow and speeding up). My legs were exhausted from back-to-back cycling and swim days but didn’t quit despite wanting to about 4010839302 times.
Thursday: 3 mile recovery run (7:50 pace). Tested out the new Saucony Virrata shoes – initial impression is that I really like them…but I want to wear them a few more times before I do a review on them.
Friday: Ran 22 miles. I had a long ride scheduled for Saturday (which I ended up not being able to do b/c of really bad chaffing) and lots of things planned for Sunday, so my only option (again) was to run the miles before my husband had to leave for work. My two options were treadmill or outside in the freezing cold (it was 20 degrees but felt like 15 when I started). I knew splitting it up between the two was not an option – if I ran the first few on the treadmill, I’d never brave the cold. After the 20 miler on the treadmill two weeks ago, I really didn’t feel up to another long run on it just yet, so I opted for outside.
I had no idea what route I was going to take when I left the house. I find that works better for me on my long runs – maybe it’s because I feel more in control of my fate if I decide on the fly…whatever the case, I initially planned to do a few 3-4 mile out and backs by my home but once I started running north I decided to keep going. I knew this would force me to run up some major hills on my way back (and that I would hit them at miles 18-20) but I convinced myself that I would rather hurt in training then on March 17 when I’m dealing with the hills in Central Park for the NYC Half.
Even though the run was a success - I ran the mileage I set out for, hit the paces I wanted, finished with my fastest two miles, and ended with a high and a smile on my face – the entire run was NOT like this. There were some high highs but some equally low lows.
I’ve come to expect this roller-coaster ride on long runs. They happen to me on almost ALL of my long runs. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a long run (over 16 miles) where every single mile was amazing. I hit low points ALL the time in long runs. It’s normal. 2+ hours is a long time to be running. There will always be rough spots, doubt, slower miles…the key is being ready for them. Expect them. Be prepared to pull yourself out of the lows when you hit them.
Long runs are important for physical reasons. They prep your body for the long race. But I would argue that they are just as (if not more) important for the mental toughness it gives you.
Not every mile of a marathon is going to be amazing. Just like a long run, there will likely be some super low points. But by completing some long runs in the training cycle, you are strengthening your mind and your mental toughness for race day.
Here are some ways that I approach the roller-coaster on a long run:
- Be ready for the lows. Expect them. They WILL come. Sometimes out of nowhere. It won’t be such a shock when you feel yourself getting to that low point if you know it’s coming. The initial reaction is to want to stop, quit and call it a day. I wanted to do that at least 5-6 times on Friday. But I kept running and eventually pulled myself out.
- Envision the race. I do this ALL the time. If I have less than 10 miles left on my long run, I start to picture myself running the last 3, 4, 10 miles of the marathon. I have 5 miles left? I’m at mile 21.2 of the marathon. I see myself on the course. I picture a time on my watch and tell myself I need to maintain x:xx pace for the remaining miles to hit my goal time.
- Repeat a mantra. Come up with your own mantra. Something that works for you. It can change for every long run. On Friday, I repeated a mantra that my friend Leticia and I had discussed on Thursday: Pain is temporary but a PR is forever. I repeated this to myself at least 100x towards the end of the run. Over and over again. It worked.
- Focus on smaller goals within the long run. I hit my first “low” point at mile 5. Yes. Only 5 miles in. I felt great and my pace was right on track. But, the thought of running another 17 miles totally consumed my mind and I couldn’t get past the idea of that many miles left. I told myself that I would get to turn around in a few miles – I only had to run another few miles and then I would be able to run home.
- Focus on one mile at a time. I don’t ever start a long run and think that I have to run 22 miles at an 8 min/mile pace. I tell myself to run that one mile at that pace. I try to only think about the mile I’m running (it doesn’t always work – see above) – how much further (time and distance) until that mile is complete.
- You can do anything for xx minutes. If I hit a low during the last 45 min of the run, I tell myself that I can do anything for 24, 32, 40 minutes. In the broad scheme of things, 32 minutes is nothing.
I finished the 22 miles in sub 2:53 (7:51 pace). My splits were extremely even for the entire run despite the lows (and hills):
- Mile 1: 8:07
- Mile 2: 7:54
- Mile 3: 7:52
- Mile 4: 7:47
- Mile 5: 7:46
- Mile 6: 7:52
- Mile 7: 7:54
- Mile 8: 7:57
- Mile 9: 7:59
- Mile 10: 7:58
- Mile 11: 7:55
- Mile 12: 7:54
- Mile 13: 7:44
- Mile 14: 7:46
- Mile 15: 7:49
- Mile 16: 7:57
- Mile 17: 7:59
- Mile 18: 7:49
- Mile 19: 7:53
- Mile 20: 7:46
- Mile 21: 7:37
- Mile 22: 7:35
How do you deal with lows on a long run/race? Any tips you’d like to share?
Did you run long or race this weekend?