Monday, August 18, 2008

A bit of progress

The past couple weeks have been interesting and educational. I ran 17 miles on August 9th and was extremely disappointed in the results. I was able to get more rest the night before and start my run earlier in the morning when it wasn't so hot but after mile 12, I was spent. I struggled to complete the final 5 miles and my average pace for the run was 9:43! I was feeling very discouraged and yet determined to figure out what I was doing wrong.

I started searching online and reading blogs of other runners and I had a serious Eureka! moment. During my long runs, I have only been drinking water and I never eat before or during the run. I don't know why I didn't consider this sooner but I realized that I need to be taking in the proper food and fluid in order to maintain my energy levels during the race.

So this past week my running schedule was as follows:

Monday - 5 miles
Tuesday - 8 miles
Wednesday - 5 miles
Thursday - rest
Friday - 8 miles
Saturday - 18 miles
Sunday - rest

I purchased some food and drink items for my long run on Saturday. I replaced the water that I normally drink during my run with Gatorade. I also set out a Cliff bar to eat at about the halfway point in my run. The run went much better with my average pace coming down to 9:04 and I felt much better after the run (usually my long runs leave me pretty exhausted for a couple hours). I am continuing to gain new knowledge regarding marathon nutrition and I hope to have it pretty well figured out come race day.

My mileage drops down this week but the following week, I will be running my first of two 20 milers before the actual race. This process of getting accustomed to long distance runs has been enlightening and there are many analogies to life. I have been able to gain some perspective of the dedication and time commitment required to become an elite distance runner and I have a great deal of respect for the men and women who participate in this sport. In watching the women's marathon in the Olympics, they showed the background and training of one of the Chinese women. They mentioned that during her intense training, she runs approximately 750 miles per month which equates to about a marathon per day. Wow!! Looks like I still have some work to do.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Treading water!!!

I was just starting to think that my body had finally surrendered and agreed to put up with this whole running thing. However, my 11 mile run this past Saturday has me convinced otherwise. I had anticipated a fairly easy run on Saturday since I had run 15 miles the week before without too much trouble. But it was more difficult than I had imagined and I think there were lots of factors that played into the final result.

First, I was up late on Friday night due to our softball game being scheduled at 10 pm. So I didn't get home until around 11:30 and didn't fall asleep until after midnight. Second, I wanted to get up around 4:30 am to begin my run in an effort to avoid the heat but I didn't get on the road until closer to 5:30. It had been a really hot week so the temperature even at 5:30 am is still very warm and not conducive to running at all. And finally, I think my initial pace was too quick. I keep telling myself to take it easy the first 4-5 miles but it's difficult because I really feel strong during those miles. I ended up pacing 8:49 for the entire run because my last few miles were very slow and laborious.

My run this Saturday is 17 miles and I'm really hoping I can show better than I did last week. I am contemplating running on the treadmill where I can better control my pace especially during the first half of the run. In addition, the gym doesn't open until 6 am on Saturday so I can sleep in a little bit and not have to worry about the heat. The disadvantage of this method though is that it doesn't prepare me for race conditions especially properly pacing myself. Plus it can get a little boring running on a treadmill for 2 1/2 hours. I'll see how the week goes and make a decision on Friday.

Race day is coming up fast - less than 9 weeks left to prepare!