Monday, January 14, 2019

Learning from Long Runs

The point of running long during training is twofold. Obviously you need to give your body and mind practice at long distances; you need to build up the strength and stamina to stay on your feet and moving forward for a certain duration of time.

(Quick tangent here, but I am so proud of myself for actually getting up early and going on long runs by myself. In the last few years I could always count on having a running buddy for at least part of a run, if not the whole thing, so this personal accountability is new and a very welcome surprise.)
Another 10 miles, done!
Anyway. Long runs are also essential for testing out what works (and what doesn't) for a run of that length so that come race day, clothes, gear, and nutrition are figured out.

So, because it's been awhile since I've run a long race, I have been paying close attention on my long runs to figure out what's working and what's not. I'm worried I'll forget some of these important lessons, so I'm posting them here.

1. Clothes. I am not surprised that my Skirt Sports bottoms (shorts, capris/tights, and skirts) have been wholly comfortable and have enough storage for 10-13 miles. (Actually, this makes making a final decision tough!)
Ah, Florida kill me.
I'm still figuring out my top situation, though. The weather on race day will probably call for a tank top. I haven't decided which tank to wear, but if I wear one without a built-in bra, I know for sure which bra I won't be wearing.

On my last long run, my Champion bra felt so constrictive until I'd warmed up, about 4 miles in. It was terrible. It's weird, because I usually like that bra, but it's definitely a no for race day because it's unpredictable. Instead, I'll likely wear my VS bra, which is comfortable, breathable, and never too tight.
Can you see where I tucked the shirt into my bra to help relieve the pressure?
2. Gear. I recently got some new PC Runners (my favorite running socks) for Hanukkah from Matt's mom. They are so comfy and soft when they're brand new! I will definitely be wearing them; I won't be wearing compression socks during the race, but I'll have some for after.

Obviously I'll have my new Garmin and my headphones. I will probably need to update my running playlist so I have reliably good tunes during the race.

The main gear question right now is my shoes. I bought a new pair of Ravenna 9s, and although they generally feel pretty good, they are giving me a hot spot on the fleshy part of my foot under my big toe. I don't know if they just need more breaking in or what, but for now I will be using them for shorter runs and giving them one more long run test before deciding if they're okay for race day.
They're so pretty, but I just don't love them yet!
If I can't wear the new ones, I'll wear an older, more reliable pair of Ravennas, of which I own too many.
It's between these two pairs. It's a shame I only own one pair of Ravenna 8s because they're my fav.
3. Nutrition. What's been working for pre-run fuel is a cup of hot coffee and GF instant oatmeal with PB2 powder and honey, with a splash of almond milk mixed in. (I guess I will need to travel with this stuff so I have it on race morning!)
Why did I take this picture before cooking? Blame waking up at 5:30am.
I try to finish eating at least 30 minutes before I start running. I've been eating one Gu (usually of the salted-something variety) around mile 6.5 (give or take a mile) on my 10-mile runs, and that's been perfect. I don't think I'll eat a second Gu on race day.

I haven't been drinking on my runs at all. Last weekend that really hurt my performance; I could tell I was thirsty. But I think if I hydrate really well in the days leading up to the race, I will be able to bypass the water stops.

It feels good to be figuring this stuff out again. In many ways I feel like a newbie and I don't want to make a silly mistake that throws me off my game...But I also feel like I'm getting a lot of good practice in and my body and mind are starting to remember and enjoy long runs.

Next weekend, maybe I'll aim for 11 miles!


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A1A Training: December in Review

Hoo boy. December was as tough as I thought it would be with our travel plans. But it also had some shining moments, including my first 10-miler of training well ahead of schedule.

I started the month with the tail-end of a cold, so I missed some runs early in the month, but then I was able to stay on track and get in some solid training for most of the month.
While we were in Vancouver and Seattle, we did a ton of walking, but I only managed to get in one run. It wasn't really a quality run; the first 3.5 miles felt pretty good, but I never settled into a groove because the terrain was so outside my norm - hilly.

The last little part of the run was a mess. We tried to run half of it to a Safeway to pick up bus cards, but the hills outside the park were so steep I had to give up. We did run from Safeway home, but it was so steeply downhill that I was worried I'd hurt myself, so it was barely a run.

I'm still not thinking about paces or goals for A1A at all. I'm just enjoying training and letting my body lead the way.

I am pretty happy with how December went, and from this point on, training should be smooth sailing! No more interruptions ahead!

Since vacation, my legs are having a tough time recovering. I'm hoping they warm up soon, as January is already well underway.

Now, I wrote before that I'm scrapping all my Thursday runs because it helps my legs feel more prepared for Saturday long runs. My original planned distance for December was 71 miles. After crossing out Thursdays, here's how my December looked.

Planned Distance: 57 miles
Actual Distance: 54 miles

Here's to January! Race day is 5 weeks away.