OK… That… was doable.
To say that I was “worried” about my long run today was a bit of an understatement. After the belly flop I performed on my last 16 miler (had to walk most of the last 3) I had managed to intimidate myself a bit about the long runs.
After much research, consultation with everyone from professional triathletes to the local psychic (no… not really…) and a bit of soul searching (as in: that really hurt… why do I wanna do this… again?) I came up with a plan to try it again. A plan I am pleased to say really worked.
Oh, I still hurt a bit, but I just ran 16 miles… I’m kinda supposed to. But no more than after a hard 10K. And I don’t feel like I need a nap. In fact, after I finish this, I’m going out to do yard work!
Here’s the plan. Take it for what it’s worth:
I have cut back to 4 days a week training. Three organized “group” runs for motivation and variety and one long run. I was just beating my body up too much at 5 to 6 days a week and I never had time to recover.
I need to eat. I need more calories DURING the run or I run out of gas and BONK. So I changed two things. First,I made my run a double loop so that I could stop back by my truck and refuel. I stopped for 3 minutes, ate a peanut butter sandwich, a gel and a bottle of water. This REALLY helped. Second, I switched from water to Perpetuem in my water bottles. It’s a calorie replacement fuel that is easy to take and is a major help. I felt as if I had very few of those speed up/slow down periods and I was able to maintain a very steady pace.
Other things I did:
I took gel packs every 4 miles (I used to do every six).
I stopped and walked for 15 seconds every mile through my “water stops”. The time was easy to make up and the walk not only helped me recover just a bit, but also helped make sure I got a good drink.
With the walks and the stop in the middle, I still managed a 10:18 pace (my goal is 10:00) AND, and this was the most impressive thing to me, my second eight mile loop was 2 minutes FASTER than my first loop. I also think I probably could have gone at least a couple more miles. I felt that good…
I think with all these changes, as my fitness improves and I can trim the walks and breaks a bit, it should be easier (NOTE: I did not say “easy”… just easiER) to meet my goal time of 10 minute miles.
I’ll let you know in 2 weeks when I try this again for 18