I can’t believe I have only six weeks of training left. This experience has flown by, and yet I’m continuously so proud of all the progress I’ve made in the past three months.
Week 11 was tough as I had to hit 17 miles on my long run. After doing pretty well with my training half marathons, 15 miles had felt rough but doable. My timing and pace was pretty good and consistent, and even though those extra two miles felt unbearable, it was overall pretty okay.
But 17 miles… woof. That long run left me well and truly destroyed. I managed to get to 15 at about a similar time but the last two miles, my body just gave up. I had to walk a lot and even when I pushed myself to run, it was basically a snail’s pace. Those last two miles took me just over 30 minutes, which was a bummer.
I try to be kind to myself because this is the first time I’m doing this and I am really figuring things out as I go. I have a lot to learn and every week I make adjustments and improvements.
The good thing is I think I know what my issue is. I haven’t been hydrating properly at all. I do really well with my gels and gummies. But since I’m not doing these long runs in Boston with everyone else, I don’t have the advantage of aid stations every few miles or so.
So basically my strategy has been to plan my route so that when I’m around halfway through (however long it the run is) I’m approaching a Starbucks where I can dip in and get a cup of water. The problems with doing that are that a) I’m only hydrating once during my entire long run (INSANE), b) I stop and drink the entire grande or venti size cup of water all at once (DUMB), c) it brings down my momentum and impedes my overall negative split (DUH).
I’ve known from the start based on my research that it’s so important to hydrate constantly during long runs, taking small sips at least every 15-20 minutes (if not every mile depending on weather). But my dumb dumb brain rationalized that since during the marathon there will be aid stations where I can stay consistently hydrated, there was no point in training with a hydration bottle strap or pack.
The past couple of weeks have finally put an end to that very stupid line of thinking. Not only because of how insanely difficult the 17 miles was and the knowledge that soon I’d have to go up to 18-20. Week 12 was a taper week to recover so I did my easy runs at about 7-8 miles and the long run at 10. But I was in Florida. And it was hot. And I realized that despite how much easier these runs felt as compared to the beginning of training, I was extremely dehydrated with just one water stop five miles in. It really affected how the run felt, how my body felt, everything.
So I ordered myself a nice little hydration bottle that will strap on to my hand, and somehow that completely shifted my perspective on this week’s upcoming runs. I was getting increasingly nervous about doing 18-20 in one go, and now a part of me is looking forward to seeing if my theory is correct and hydrating will help me get through it easier.
Not to mention with easy runs now being consistently in the 6-8 range and springtime rolling into New York, it’ll be nice to stay easily hydrated on those runs too.
The one really encouraging thing about these past two weeks is how amazingly more easy 8 and 10 miles felt as opposed to my first weeks of training just a few months ago! My very first long run was 8 miles and the second was 10 and I remember getting home and being completely unable to move. I literally stumbled on to the driveway and texted my family to bring me water and couldn’t make it inside for half an hour just laying there. Those took me so much longer and caused so much soreness, and now (despite the dehydration) they feel like no big deal.
So I enter these last six weeks with gratitude for how far I’ve come, kindness as I learn and improve, and excitement for what’s to come.
Thanks for following along so far, and be sure to donate to my fundraiser if you can! Every dollar counts!
Until next time!