Tuesday I ran my last long training run for the NYC Marathon and my longest run ever. I would love to say that it was 20 miles of pure bliss, but that would be a lie. During a 20 mile solo training run there is a lot of time to think and here is what I learned during that time:
- 20 miles is really far just in case you were questioning that fact. I think because I mostly drive everywhere I take for granted how far twenty miles actually is, but no more. Below is a map view of how far I ran just in case you needed a visual.
- The thought of running 20 miles is actually harder than the run itself. The mental challenge of a 20 mile run far outweighs that physical challenge. It is amazing how debilitating the mind can actually be especially when you have 18, 16, 14, 10, 6, 4, 2, and finally 1 mile to go. This run was mentally draining, but I pushed through by thinking about marathon day.
- Wind and humidity is not my friend. As soon as I stepped out my door to run, at 8:30 am because I worked the night before, I knew this run would be challenging. It was humid and it was windy. The majority of my run was along the Wantagh and Ocean parkways and back. The entire way to the beach I was fighting headwind, the only thing that got me through was knowing that on the way back the wind would be at my back and that it was entirely possible that this is what marathon day could feel like, otherwise I would have turned around at mile 4. This particular path was also pretty much without any shade leaving me at the mercy of the hot sun and humidity.
- Not many people are out exercising on a Tuesday. I chose Tuesday to run because Sunday was my daughters birthday party, she’s six, and Monday my poor little Chihuahua had surgery to have a tumor removed. It wasn’t the Tuesday per se that was a problem, but the pat I chose was isolated because not many people were out exercising and this left me feeling pretty vulnerable for a good portion of the run, next time I run 20 miles I would choose a more populated route.
- I felt like I could not run one more mile. I also felt like that at the end of 16 miles and then 18 miles. I am pretty sure that the excitement of marathon day will boost my adrenaline and propel through the last 6.2 miles or at least I am hoping it will.
Here is the breakdown of my run:
- Mile 19-20 was the hardest as you can see from my pace. Every muscle in my entire body hurt and every time I stopped for a second all of my muscles would tighten and I know better, because stopping after running for so long your muscles will just seize. At Fitness Magazine’s Meet & Tweet yesterday I heard Dr. Marci A. Goolsby, a sports medicine doctor form the Hospital of Special Surgery, speak and she confirmed that you need to keep moving after any long run or race to prevent your muscles from seizing. You also need to keep moving to prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), don’t just sit on your butt the days following a race or long run make sure you keep moving.
I have hit a milestone in my marathon training and it is called the taper. I am excited, nervous and scared all at the same time, but I am also confident I have done my best to prepare for the NYC Marathon and in 16 days that is exactly where I am meant to be.
I would love to hear any tips you have for a first time marathoner during the taper period of training!