It seems that all the pondering yesterday of my long run day did in fact help. As I wrote, my long run days have been quite difficult. Not just the mileage, because even at mile 3 I can feel awful. Also I cannot seem to run them even close to my average time. Somewhat I understand that, because it is a longer day and I don’t want to push too much, but considering I ran my half marathon under 8:00 pace and I cannot even run 10 miles under 9:00, it is frustrating to say the least.
What did I do differently yesterday? Quite a lot. Unfortunately, when you change multiple things at one time, you don’t really know what helped and what didn’t. I admit I was desperate to figure this out, so here is what I did differently.
- I got up and drank 32oz of water as soon as my feet hit the floor.
- I drank a cup of coffee (as I do most of other mornings)
- I took a shower (I normally don’t take a shower until after my runs if I run early in the morning)
- Right before my run I walked a quarter mile and ran very slowly another quarter mile.
So something in this mix helped me tremendously. I felt great when I started my run and, in fact, felt good for most of it. My hip began to hurt around mile 7, which was annoying, but I did well overall until mile 11. Now you need to know that I haven’t run over 10 miles since February when we did our half marathon, and I wanted to run 12 miles yesterday. Mile 11 was just hard. I felt like I had nothing left. However, when I got to mile 12, I thought, if this was a race, I would find something inside to pick up the pace, so that is what I did. In fact the only mile I ran over a 9:00 pace yesterday was mile 11.
I finished my run, drank my chocolate milk and looked at my time. I ran the 12 miles at a 8:38 pace!!! Other than the half marathon, I have never run a long run in our neighborhood under 8:55 and it has been a long time since I have been under 9:00.
So, now I look at the 4 things I did differently and wonder… which one helped, or was it just TJ’s advice to not over think the run. Either way, I know myself, now each Sunday I will have to do those 4 things to make sure I am covered. I know I’ll have good runs and bad, but yesterday made running fun again.
Today is our traditional off day, but TJ and I are going to run very slowly for a few miles. Just for fun 🙂