This past Saturday I did my 20 mile marathon training run. I figured I would write a quick recap of the run to help myself review what went well, what didn’t go so well and what I learned for future long runs.
The day started off great – I got up around 9am, had a bowl of oatmeal, some orange juice and coffee, showered quickly, stretched a bit and I was on my way.
My plan was to do two 10 mile loops and stop back at the house in between to fill my water bottles and grab more “fuel” if I needed it. I finished the first loop feeling really good – my legs weren’t tired, I didn’t feel like I was running out of energy and I was enjoying the podcast I was listening to. My only minor issue was that my hands were cold, so I grabbed a pair of thin knit gloves during my stop back at the house, filled my water and I was back out there for loop #2.
The first few miles of loop #2 started off well, but things started to go downhill around mile 16…
The arches of my feet and my legs really started to hurt so I figured it would be a good time to start incorporating some walk breaks in. It had been my plan all along to eventually include some walk breaks since my ultimate goal is to complete the marathon feeling good – not in excruciating pain never wanting to do one again. I think my biggest mistake on this run was starting my walk breaks too late. By mile 18 the arches of my feet were absolutely killing me, every step felt like I was landing on broken glass, it was definitely not good and I started to get really worried about having to run a full 26.2 miles. The worst part was because I had slightly mis-calculated my 10 mile loop (it was really only about 9.5 miles each time around) I passed my house at mile 19 and had to keep going a half mile past the house and back to complete the 20 miles!
As soon as I finished I called my husband and he asked how it went, I’m pretty sure my exact words were, “I have never been in so much pain in my life.”
So, that being said, here is what I learned:
I completed the full 20 miles!
I tried a few of the new fuel options I had bought and I think I found a favorite – Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in Pink Lemonade! They were the perfect size and not too sweet (which is my problem with a lot of other fuel options).
Starting at about mile 16 stuff started to go downhill and miles 18, 19 and 20 were downright painful! The good thing is I think I understand why everything started to go downhill and can hopefully correct it for my next long run.
I have to say that for the amount of pain I was in when I finished the 20 miles I actually felt good yesterday and even better today! I definitely have to give my husband full credit for my recovery plan (especially impressive since he was giving me these orders while he was down in Florida working!)
Here is what I did for recovery:
Immediately following the run:
- Ice bath – yes I was in so much pain I finally gave in and took an ice bath. The initial shock of getting into a tub of ice cold water was almost as painful as the run I had just finished, but I quickly went numb and didn’t feel it at all! To help keep warm I had on a bathing suit, sweatshirt with hood and a cup of tea!
- Cheribundi – now this stuff does NOT taste good (I don’t like cherries to begin with though), but it’s supposed to really help with muscle recovery so I held my nose and chugged it, I was willing to try anything at that point!
- Stretching – and a lot of it! I stretched and used the foam roller on my legs and I rolled the arches of my feet on a tennis ball and frozen golf balls to help massage them.
- Another Cheribundi drink
- Warm Epsom Salt bath
- A lot more stretching and rolling my feet on golf balls
- Mineral Ice muscle rub
My legs still hurt a bit doing stairs, and I definitely feel like I went on a long run this weekend, but compared to what I expected to feel like after that run I feel really good!
Lesson #1 – start walk breaks BEFORE you start to get tired or feel pain.
Lesson #2 – when I first started running a couple of months ago my arches began to hurt me so I started doing some plantars fasciitis stretches and it helped a lot, but since the pain stopped I stopped doing the stretches. Big mistake! I focused a lot on stretching and rolling out my legs before this run but completely neglected to do any of the stretches that had helped my arches in the past, I definitely need to get into the habit of doing these every day and hopefully I can avoid the arch pain I had on this run.
My biggest concern with the Garmin was it’s size – I have tiny little wrists and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get it to fit comfortably for a long run. I switched from the hard rubber strap that came on it to the included soft Velcro strap which helped, but I was still fidgeting with it a bit at first. Then I discovered that it was MUCH more comfortable for me if I wore it with the face on the underside of my wrist, it was actually easier for me to look at while running that way too!
I think the Garmin may take some getting used to for me. I’ve gotten very comfortable with some of the features on RunKeeper and loved that because it ran though my phone, which I also used for my music, I was being fed all the information I needed right through my headphones – RunKeeper would update me on time, distance, pace, and intervals without me having to remember to look. I realized that my pacing was bit more all over the place than usual since I was not used to having to look for the information, not a huge problem, just something I’ll have to get used to. The other problem is that since I have headphones on and can not hear the interval timer on the watch I am going to have to find an interval timer to use on my phone so I can hear it on my headphones.
Overall I’m happy with it (especially because with RunKeeper the battery won’t last for a 20+ mile run), but I think it will just take a little getting used to!
I am excited that I completed the 20 miles and very happy with my recovery! I definitely learned a few things and hopefully can apply those lessons to my next long run and end up feeling better towards the end.