For me 20 milers have been the big bad wolf of any marathon training cycle.
Prior to this year, I’ve run 20 miles or more about 4 times in my life. I realize that sounds a little crazy, but 2 of those were my 2 prior marathons. And when you think about it, that’s kind of crazy.
Friends ask me a lot if it makes me nervous to only run 20 miles before a marathon. It doesn’t (anymore). Honestly, it makes me nervous just to run 20 miles!
Yesterday was my second 20 mile long run of this training cycle. It went better than I could have possible hoped.
I’ve been working with a coach since March, and I can’t say enough amazing things about Mollie. Not only is she an amazingly accomplished runner, she’s been a great coach for me. She’s encouraging, and she’s built me a plan that has worked well for me (even while I’ve been working 11p-7a for a majority of my marathon training) If you’re in the market for a coach, I highly recommend checking her out!
In the past, running 20 miles has felt like a struggle. I often feel like the last 5 or so miles are a struggle. I can’t find the energy to do anything afterwards. I feel sore and tired immediately. This wasn’t the case with this 20 miler (or the previous 20 miler although that one was run in 80 degree weather with 90% humidity, so the weather had its effects!). I practiced my race fueling strategy – a bagel with butter before my run and one salted caramel gu every 45 minutes with water during my run. That seems to be the PERFECT strategy for me. I never felt my energy level dip and I was able to maintain a 10:03 average pace per mile. That didn’t feel crazy fast. I didn’t feel exhausted after. I have some slight lower back soreness today, but that’s about it!
To say this 20 miler was a huge confidence boost is an understatement. Being able to run 20 miles and feel like I could have run 10 more, is HUGE. The Chicago Marathon is in 3 weeks. I feel like I will be peaking right at the perfect moment to set a PR. I’ve got a new fire in my belly to run this thing, have fun on the course and just see what I can do out there.
Running is weird. It’s weird when you tell friends that you’re running 20 miles over the weekend, for fun. I have found that there is something oddly spiritual about running. You are out on a trail, appreciating the beauty of the world and your ability to surpass your own expectations.
I am SO looking forward to October 11th!