Another record! I ran 5 miles today. It seems like it was a good idea to take Thursday off; my legs felt great today. I’d like to thank Meg for pointing out that my training plan does not call for speed workouts. I’d been adding them in for variety and “to get better.” Well, I just started reading Hal Higdon’s Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons (affiliate link), and he flat out says:
“The vast majority of runners are happy just to finish comfortably in a reasonably good time and thus do not need sophisticated training methods. Speed training gets in their way. The extra leg fatigue can make doing the vital long runs much more difficult. It is one stress too many, even for experienced runners.”
So, that is that. No more speed work for me. I might revisit this decision after my half marathon, but not before. The other thing Hal mentions in his book is that his novice plan only requires three days of running. I’ve been doing four, because Wednesday always says “X miles or cross.” So not only was I running on an optional day, but I was turning it into speed work. I suppose I should consider doing cross training for the duration my run would take, in order to maintain a day’s rest for my legs after each run.
So, on to my run today. I waited until 3:30 p.m., when the temperature was 29 degrees and sunny. There were 15-20 mph winds from the west, so I created a route that took advantage of all the north-south roads in my neighborhood, slowly heading east. I was able to map a five mile route that never took me more than a mile from my house. I’d be running into the wind for the last mile, but it was the most direct route home at that point, so I would have no choice but to do it.
I also wanted to start testing out fuel on my run. I remember reading somewhere that if you’re planning on running more than an hour, you should start fueling at 45 minutes, and then every 30 minutes after that. I mentioned this in a women’s running group on Facebook, and someone suggested that if I wanted to use fuel today, I should actually take it at 30 minutes so I had time for my body to digest the fuel and benefit from the energy (I was expecting my run to take 1:12). The group got into a discussion about the best fuels, and I didn’t get too caught up in that. I just want to eat real food when I run. Before I left, I cut up half a Lara Bar into six pieces and shoved it in my pocket.
For the first mile, my feet felt heavy. But, I was running close to a 14:00 mile pace. That’s pretty good for me, and I was concerned that I was running to fast for my longest run to date. I purposely tried to slow down. I kept running until the two mile mark, and then I started walking and ate three of the Lara Bar pieces. When I returned to running, I could almost immediately feel the tiny bit of food in my stomach. It was warm, and it was like I could feel it digesting. It was slightly uncomfortable for about 5 minutes.
I walked again at about 3.25 miles, when I had to navigate an icy sidewalk. By now the discomfort of digestion had passed, and I considered eating the remaining three Lara Bar pieces, but decided against it. I just kept going. I was listening to Jillian Michael’s podcast, and right around this time she was doing a call-in segment with someone, and she said something like:
You only have a chance at failing if you’re attempting to do something great. If you’re always trying to do great things, it’s ok if you occasionally fail. There are others that won’t even try.
Just kept running… At the 4.1 mile mark I walked for about a minute or so, then returned to a trot determined to run the rest of the way. I didn’t care how fast I was running, as long as I was moving. When I rounded the corner into my neighborhood at the 4.6 mile mark, I remember thinking, “It seems like my legs should be much more tired than this.” I can only hope that’s how I feel during the last mile of my half marathon in May.
I finished just a few houses from home, in almost exactly the time that the NIke+ app had predicted I would run. I took the obligatory selfie, and promptly went inside to stretch, something I’m committed to doing after each run from now on.
I took the liberty of stretching out my training plan because I wanted to get started in February, so next week I’m just repeating this week, but increasing the long run to 5.5 miles. I’ll need to try something different for fuel. Someone had suggested applesauce with honey & peanut butter added, so it’s substantial but doesn’t require chewing. I’m not sure that appeals to me, but I could mix applesauce with some of my homemade jam to pack in the calories. We’ll see. The race I’m running provides Gu gels & pretzels, so maybe I should get used to using those unless I want to carry my own fuel. I’m sort of opposed to Gu, though (chemicals).
Looking forward to tomorrow – only 40 minutes of cross training. That will probably be a walk with my husband.