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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Marathon training summary: the long runs

I'm looking back at the last few months building up to this marathon, and it's a little scary. I haven't done much!
Long runs at the Fly

Let's first examine my long runs. I did only four real long runs: 18, 20, 20, 20. My final one should have been 21 or 22, but I felt far too sick to finish.
The 18 miler was the day after Christmas in dreadful hot weather (80's); I did 25 hill repeats and ran 8:09 pace and everything felt normal (but hot).
The first 20 miler was my best of the cycle: Rainy, slow start; 25 hill repeats; fast finish for five miles. That was 7:45 pace and felt pretty comfortable, which thrilled me. Anything under 8 is faster than I've been running at all lately.
But I stopped being thrilled when I realized that my half-marathon pace hadn't budged as I ran a race the next week. And that was kind of the last time I saw any improvement in pace.
My next 20 was much the same, except I caught the longest train on earth. This meant that in addition to my 25 hill repeats, I had a bunch of short hill sprints (the train crosses one of my hills. So it shortens the length of the hill and I chose to do sprints to make up for the tiny distance). I ended up with something like 35 hills, but finishing on the windy levee meant that my even-pace finish I had hoped for didn't happen. 7:50 pace.
Then I took off two weeks for my old lady knee.
And I wrapped up with a final 20-miler two weeks out from the race (I don't do well with long tapers).
I just posted about that 20, so you probably read that it was a stomach disaster early on. Naturally, I'm nervous about blowing up so badly on my final long run, but I'm crossing my fingers that my stomach is perfectly content on race day.


  1. I think you're set honestly. 3 20 milers is enough and it sounds like you kept a good pace with them. Hopefully all will go well with the knee!

    1. I do think it's enough to finish the race, but I am a lot more comfortable about not hitting the wall if I run 21 or 22 miles.

  2. I figure you got the disaster out of your system so it'll all be good come the race.

  3. I am impressed that you combine long runs with hill repeats! We usually do one long run different loops of hills added in, but that's usually on an 18 mile week and we don't do a lot of hills on our 20, 21, and 22 mile weeks. Maybe you just have to accept that this time around, your training was different since it was a more compressed training cycle? And accordingly, your goal should be different? I know it's hard to not go into it with high hopes for how it goes but when it's your first marathon after some major surgeries, I think it's ok to lower your expectations a bit and see how your body does.

    1. I actually think the hills shorten the long run for me. They're a big distraction, and once I finish all my hills, I'm over half-way done.

  4. I'm the same way about preferring to have a 22 miler just for my own head. But even without a 22, those are 4 solid long runs!