My WDW Marathon training saw my training reach new heights this week when I eclipsed the 20 mile barrier for the first time! This really should have occurred a couple of weeks ago, but I was ill-prepared for my run that faithful day and I had to settle for a 16+ mile long. I am following Jeff Galloway’s marathon training plan, which offers plenty of recovery runs and not too many long runs to prepare runners for a marathon. This week’s long run was supposed to be 23 miles and next week, but with the St. Jude Half Marathon in two weeks, I decided to push up the run a week. I will likely do the same for my next long run, 26 miles, but I will wait and see on that. Also, I decided to go for 21 instead of 23 since it was the median between 16 and 26. I felt that splitting the difference was a more prudent move. I hope that I was right!
It was colder than the norm here in Memphis and I do not have much experience with running in the cold. Usually I have a lull in my running schedule after the St. Jude Half and the runs I do complete are of a shorter variety so I can work them in on the warmer days of the week. I know that several of my readers live in colder environments than what I experienced, but a wind chill of 14 is nearly crippling to a southerner like myself. But I sucked it up and I got out there to complete my run. I really do not have the proper attire for weather this cold, but I made do with a tech tee, half-zip jacket, and an Under Armour skull-cap. I do not have any long pants that I can run in and this is a problem that I need to rectify before my next cold run. In fact, it was so cold that ice was forming from the condensation and sweat on my Camelbak. That was certainly a first for me!
The run went about as well as I could have hoped by going into uncharted waters. My pace was about what I expected and hoped for during a training run, even if I started to tail off after mile 16 or so. I decided to use a run/walk ratio of 3:1 after mile 17 and while this helped with my training, it did not help combat the cold! Actually, the Galloway plan calls for run/walk ratios for training runs, especially the long ones, but this is the first time I experimented with a true run/walk ratio. Come January 12, if I start to struggle, this 3:1 ratio will be how I complete the race, so getting familiar with how I would do that process is helpful.
Another takeaway from my long run is that I was starving by the end. Before half marathons, I typically have a banana and some peanut butter, but this was not sufficient for 20 miles or more, even with some race fuel. I also did not carb load prior to the run like I would an actual race, but I certainly will do that for future long runs of this distance.