I ran my second 20 mile training run of this marathon training plan this morning. There were quite a few things that went well. There were a couple things that didn’t go so well.
First, I tried out a run/walk/run approach to these 20 miles. I had been hearing recently, from several people, that they were finding success with this method, and actually running faster than they had using a more traditional approach. I borrowed a friend’s Gymboss interval timer and set it for a 4 minute run/1 minute walk interval.
I ran the same 2.5 mile loop that I always run for my long runs. I ran the entirety of the first loop as a warm up and then turned on the timer. I really had no idea what to expect, but I noticed that my running segments were at a pace that was noticeably faster than my typical long run pace. Initially, the walking segments felt long. I’m used to running every step of my runs, so taking a minute to walk (when it’s not through a water stop at a race) was something different.
After a few miles, I began to appreciate the walk breaks. Since my running segments were faster, I was feeling fatigued and the walks were a welcome reprieve. I just had to remember not to look at my Garmin during those sections. Surprisingly, I was noticing that my mile splits were about the same place they were during my last 20 miler, when I ran the whole thing.
Another reported bonus of the run/walk/run method is that it is supposed to decrease recovery time. The jury is still out on this one. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I still came home and put my compression socks on.
Overall, my time for this 20 mile run was about 8 minutes faster than my last 20 miler! I’m not sure that I would say it was easier, but regardless of how hard I was working during the run segments, I knew I only had to do it for 4 minutes and then I could take a mini-break. It was psychologically easier to know that I got a break every 4 minutes.
To have 5 of those miles clock in under 10:00 minutes was pretty awesome!
The bad part of the interval timer is that it made me realize that there is (at least) a small part of me that cares what other people think. Because I run the same route for all of my long runs, I see a lot of the same people. They are used to seeing me out and running on Saturday mornings. Today, there were times when they saw me walking. I know that it doesn’t really matter, but the thought went through my mind. I tried to counter that thought with the realization that my legs were carrying me for 20 miles this morning…what were they doing?!? (My brain can be kinda juvenile when it gets into glycogen deprivation.)
This graph looks a little strange too. The walking breaks give my speed a bit of an EKG-like look.
I did have a couple issues during the run that made me question why I was pushing myself to complete another marathon. I had some pain in the back of my right hip for about the first 10 miles. Basically, I was cursing my right ass bone for almost 2 hours. (Technically, it’s my SI joint, but I think that ‘ass bone’ paints a good picture of where it hurts.) Somehow, the pain seemed to subside during that latter miles. Now that I am a few hours post-run, my ass bone hurts again.
I had some GI issues during the last 4 or 5 miles. I know I sound like a broken record, but I am so sick and tired and having to deal with this when I run. Today, my electrolyte drink gave me some stomach issues too.
I’ve tried a lot of different electrolyte drink options during my training runs. I’ve used Gatorade. I’ve used Gatorade diluted with water. I’ve used Nuun. Today I used Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Fizz. All of the above have been met with mixed results. I almost always get a stomach ache from them and today I had some nausea, too.
What do you guys use? I am a salty sweater. After a run, my neck and legs are usually covered in flaky, white salt deposits. I know I need a way to replenish the lost salts, but at this point, I’m ready to just open up a salt packet and chase it with some water.
I fueled with a Honey Stinger Waffle, a couple gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies from Trader Joe’s and part of a bag of Sports Beans. The Sport Beans didn’t do much for my stomach either, but it might have just been the fact that it was getting late in the run and my stomach wouldn’t have handled anything very well at that point.
Another note: my loop takes me past our local nursing home. On at least three of the loops, I saw the same two people standing out by the road having a cigarette. I couldn’t believe that they needed to have three cigarette breaks in a less than three hour time frame. After I had showered and changed, I got in the car to go over to my mom’s house to pick up the boys and the same two people were out there again! That is quite an addiction. They should start running instead.