Monday, November 2, 2015

The Running Experiment


I was on my own for my long run this weekend. I did 13.1 miles last weekend and was debating weather I wanted to go back down to only doing 10 miles or ramp it up and do 15 miles.  I decided to just see how I was feeling during the run and then make that decision.
Some very dusty Mizunos after many miles on the trail.

Earlier in the morning I was listening to The John Tesh Radio show and he was doing a segment on pets. I was intrigued. I usually like listening to John Tesh, he's pretty smart!   Anyway, Once I got to the trail I thought I would continue listening to the radio on my ipod instead of my normal running playlist.   Well, between all the talking of the radio show and the commercials, I felt like I was running slower.  I really do think that I need constant music to keep me going. I don't really know if it makes me run faster or if it just makes me FEEL faster because the music is fast.   So, at mile 3.1 I had had enough of the radio and switched my ipod back over to my running playlist. I wanted to see if the music made me run faster or if it was all in my head. I made sure to watch my time as I approached the next 3.1 miles.  Sure enough I did a negative split at the 10K mark. It wasn't by much, but it was faster than the first 3.1 miles so I guess I proved my case. For now anyway!

At this point I decided to go ahead and just run the 15 miles. The next experiment I was going to try was stopping at the restroom along the trail. I was not in any dire need at this point but I still thought it might be good for me to start building in that extra time into my training because I know I will not be able to get through all 26.2 miles on race day without making that dreaded stop.  But as it turned out by the time I approached the restroom stop I was too much in a groove to stop.

The trail I usually run on is an 18 mile trail. It's 9 miles up and 9 miles back. My plan for the 15 miler was to do 7.5 up and then turn around and do the 7.5 back.  It was a beautiful day out, the weather was gorgeous so I thought I might as well run up to the 8 mile mark and turn around and then that way I would finish a mile earlier. I like running a little further on the way up so I finish a bit earlier on the way back.

Now in my mind I was thinking If I'm going to run 8 miles, I might as well run 9 miles and just finish up the trail.  I debated about this tactic for a few minutes. It was a perfect day weather wise to get a long run of 18 miles in.  It would be great to get this long run over with while I'm in the mood but on the other hand, I didn't want to get greedy with my mileage. Going from 13.1 one week to 18 the next week is a significant jump. I didn't want to risk bringing my injury back.

But then it happened. In my mind it was only one more mile up and one more mile back than I was running anyway, so I decided to give the 18 miles a try.  This is awful to say but I truly thought that my pain would come back and I would have to walk a lot of it anyway.  But thankfully the pain stayed away.

I kept thinking to myself just get through the planned 15 miles and if you have to walk the last three, you can.  But when I completed the planned 15, I couldn't just give up and walk.  I had to respect the last 3 miles and give it just as much effort as I did the first 15.  Of course my pace was slower those last 3 miles but the overall pace was still under where I want to be for marathon weekend to make my goal.

With that being said, I realize that I do need to adjust my goal for marathon weekend. I think it's possible that I will be able to run the 26 miles with in my time goal but it's that dang .2 that's going to put me over. Now I know why everyone says it's the .2 that kills ya!

 Have you done any experiments during your run? What are your best tips for getting through high mileage without tired legs? -M

37 comments:

  1. I really don't think I could get through a long run without stopping for a bathroom break. I drink so much water, I am going every 30 minutes haha.

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    1. I think 18 miles might be my limit cus I ran right to the restroom as soon as I finished my run!

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  2. I think it's just great that you ran all 18 miles! Stay confident. You've got this!

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    1. Thank you Wendy! I'm trying to stay positive!

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  3. Go girl! I am the queen of making mileage decisions with myself and playing math/head games like you did. "If I just do this, I can do this," etc. I think it is a viable training strategy! Plus if I am feeling good, I always think, well I may as well do it NOW since I feel good. I may not feel well next weekend!

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    1. Exactly! I think the weather played a huge part in it. I have no idea what the weather will be like in a few weeks when I would actually have the 18 miler on the schedule!

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  4. The things we do to entertain ourselves on long runs!! I used to do mind stuff like that when I was running really long.
    Glad it went well!

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    1. Long runs are great for thinking up running strategies!

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  5. I love playing mind games like this on my run! I actually usually listen to a podcast when I start my run (I try to find one that's at least an hour), then switch to music. This really helps me out because I start out slower, then when I switch to music it 's really motivating and helps me pick up the pace when I usually slow down! Works for me :)

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    1. That's kind of how my run went. First 3.1 easy pace, then picked up speed, then slowed down at the end..haha

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  6. I put books on tape on my iPod and listen to them during my long runs. I do believe it slows me down some, but that's fine for my training. And it passes the time faster then it does listening to music. But on my shorter runs when I do focus on speed, it's music that gets me through. I'm so proud of you for getting the 18 in! You might actually get more then 20 miles in during this training cycle.
    @heatherlas

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    1. When I first started training I thought about doing books on tape but now I don't think that would be a good strategy for me. I don't think I want to do more than 20 mile this time around!

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  7. I've never run over 13.1 and I have no idea how that would be. I used to use music to get me through and now I've gotten used to running with friends to pass the time. Congrats on the long run!

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    1. I've run most of my races while having friends near me to chat too! I'm gonna try running the race with music this time to see if it makes a difference!

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  8. I'm getting back outside to see how my body adjusts to the new terrain. I've got that new niggle which has me frustrated, but I feel strong otherwise and I am running faster than I do inside. I just need to figure out what's going on with the new tight spot and work on it.

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    1. I always run faster outside than I do on a treadmill too! Hope you get your kinks worked out!

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  9. Wow, that's awesome that you did that! Usually when I say "I'll see how I feel" I end up stopping early lol. And I'm 100% with you on the music. It definitely gets me more energized and makes me run faster. I've tried podcasts before and I'm always slower.

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    1. Usually when I say "i'll see how I feel", i'm giving myself an excuse to stop earlier than I want to. I needed to break that cycle!

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  10. Great run! I run by feel, but only to a certain degree, and I make a plan, but only to a certain degree. I have to have SOME ground rules, lol, or else it all goes to hell in a handbasket. During marathons, I save my music until I NEED it. I try to go as long as possible without it. And then plug in.

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    1. That sounds like a good strategy. I've started a race without music and then ended up plugging in cus I got bored!

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  11. I haven't done high mileage in so long - I couldn't tell ya :)
    So glad to see you are making it back up to the many miles without pain... so happy for you!

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    1. Thank you so much! Being pain free is the best part.

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  12. I think that probably what I eat/drink is what keeps me from having tired legs. I've got a 15 miler scheduled for this week and will be experimenting with watered down juice on my run only because I want to drink it before it goes bad!

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    1. I need to figure out what will work for me cus my legs get tired right around mile 13. I'm thinking more weight training?

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  13. What progress :) 18 miles is great!! I think this WDW is going to turn out really well :) I love that you just felt good enough to keep going...
    Last year I did a long run and also did one run/walk to compare :)
    How awesome you have a place you can run that far.

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    1. Yes, I love that trail! I am hoping for the best for wdw but need to keep in mind that anything can happen!

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  14. I can definitely relate to your fear of getting injured. Keep being smart and you will be fine! Im sure it was a huge confidence boost to get through such a long run like that:)

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    1. I'm just glad I got that one down without the injury coming back!

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  15. wow...im super impressed. although i will say normally i do the same thing. "well its only 1 more mile might as well". this weekend where i am it was super rainy so none of that was happening, mine was, get at least double digits and ill be happy! great job taking advantage of your positive mood and great weather!

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    1. The weather was definitely key! Don't know how many more great running days we will have now that we are in November!

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  16. Very cool, congrats on getting the 18 in! I always say if you feel comfortable and you can get more mileage in, go for it! 13-18 would seem like a jump if you hadn't worked your way up to it, since you did take the time to build your body was ready for it! Very cool, now you can probably keep with the 18 milers and skip any lower mileage build up, and who knows with a few more long runs of 18+ in, you may just cream any goals you had set! I fully do think you can run 26.2 miles without a bathroom break! Although it's not 100% guarantee use your training time to see which foods your eating the days before that are making you stop for that bathroom break, and quit eating them. If your drinking to much the morning of, cut back. Start experimenting on those things and eventually you'll figure out how to pretty much eliminate (other than the rare problem) a trip to the bathroom:) Promise, out of 39 marathons, I can count on one hand how many times I had to stop in races to use a bathroom, so ya you can experiment on your diet now and probably eliminate pit stops in the race for sure! Great job on the run this weekend!!!

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    1. That marathon last year was the only race I ever had to stop during for a break. I guess I need to start watching what I fuel with beforehand.

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  17. Yay for all those pain-free miles! I'm such a stickler to my training plan that I could never do an impromptu switch like that, but I'm glad it worked for you! And yes, music definitely makes me run faster. I save it for speed workouts or later in a long run.

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    1. I usually stick to my plan, but the weather was just so perfect on Saturday and I didn't know how many nice days i'd have left to comfortably run that distance!

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  18. That's great you were able to do a pain free 18 miles! I'm with you on the radio/podcasts. I've tried podcasts before while running and I don't feel like it worked as well as music. I felt like I didn't run as well and I didn't pay as much attention to the podcast as I wanted either.

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    1. Ya know I was just wondering how those people who run while listening to podcasts do it!

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  19. Haha, I'm not a very big risk taker on my runs during training. Great job getting it done! You are going to do great!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.