Painfully Slow

2015-01-17_SummaryThis morning’s run was to be all about upping the distance for my marathon training. So far, my longest run was 24K; so today I wanted to improve on that. The plan was to run for three and a half hours and try to get somewhere in the region of 28K, although I’d be happy with 27.

Weather wise, it didn’t look too bad. The wind had died down and there was a bit of sunshine for a change, although the temperature was still pretty low. Still, anything can happen in three and a half hours, so I decided to wear my waterproof jacket. It’s more for hiking than for running, but it’s still fairly lightweight, windproof and breatheable, so it would do the job.

As I was going to be out for a while, I decided to take my CamelBak and use the bladder for water and a separate bottle for my electrolyte drink. This made it much easier to carry other things, like my phone, keys, PowerGels and my jacket if I decided it was warm enough to take it off.

Funnily enough, I did just that. It was lovely and sunny down on the seafront and I warmed up fairly quickly, so after a couple of kilometres I ditched the jacket and carried it in the back pack. This was so much nicer than having it tied around my waist!

I ran East along the seafront towards Saltdean, taking in the hill on the marathon and half-marathon route. Unlike the road that is used for the races, however, the path along the side of the road undulates along the line of the cliffs. While this probably made the uphills a bit steeper, it did offer a welcome reprieve on the downhills, so I guess it balances out.

I took my first gel after an hour and turned round at Rottingdean to head back to Brighton with a moderate headwind to keep things interesting. Although it was hard running against the wind (I was basically on top of a cliff after all!), it wasn’t as bad as last weekend. For one thing, the wind didn’t feel too cold, and for another, it wasn’t raining… yet!

The rain did come though. Just as I was nearing the end of Marine Drive, the wind picked up and the rain started. I didn’t want to stop running to get my jacket out, so I put up with it until my running segment was finished. And in the nick of time too!

Just as I’d got the jacket on, the wind picked up some more, driving the heavy rain straight at me. Luckily I was about to head down to sea level at that point, which I hoped would mean the wind wouldn’t be quite as bad. As it turned out, the rain didn’t last for very long, but the sky was looking pretty stormy over Shoreham so I decided to keep my jacket on just in case.

I took another PowerGel just after the two hour mark. I was feeling ok, but the old legs were starting to get a bit tired. The pace had slowed down quite a bit, what with the wind and rain and everything, and I knew that I would have to pick things up a bit if I was going to hit 28K.

I passed my starting point at about 17.5K and did some quick maths to figure out how far I would need to run before turning back. I figured that I would have to use the full stretch of the road along the industrial estate towards Shoreham Harbour to get the distance; or just run for 40 minutes out and then 40 minutes back to get the three and a half hours in.

This particular stretch of Industrial Estate is also part of the race routes so it’s not unusual to see other runners out there. It is also affectionately know as ‘The Road To Hell’, which lived up to it’s name after only a kilometre or so when I ran straight into ice cold horizontal winds and rain.

Needless to say, I promptly turned on my heel and ran, or rather shuffled, as fast as I could to escape it. This, of course, meant that I would return to my starting point too early and, as my legs were pretty much ready to fall off by this point, I was worried that I might be tempted to call it a day once I got there.

Luckily I still had a couple of kilometres to sort my head out and, once the rain stopped driving into my back, I realised that it wasn’t going to be a problem. If I slowed down, relaxed and just shuffled along, I could still get 27 kilometres done in the time. I just had to ignore the pain, focus on the ratios and get the job done.

So that’s what I did. I passed the starting point, did a little loop, passed the starting point again and started following the path home until I’d completed 27K.

I was pleased that I’d managed it in just under three and a half hours and, even though my legs were starting to seize up, the old IT band had managed to hold out.

After today’s run, I’m doubtful as to whether or not I’ll have time to run 42K before the Brighton Marathon in April, but time will tell. For now, I’m just glad I got the job done.

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20 thoughts on “Painfully Slow”

  1. WOW! Amazing that you hung in there with all the weather issues – I most certainly would’ve called it a day and tried again tomorrow! Congrats on getting a solid 3 1/2 hours done…I’m very impressed!

    1. Thanks Sharon. I thought about it, but as I was quite far from home each time the bad weather struck, I figured I’d have to cover a fair distance just to get home – and there was no way I was going to do it all again tomorrow! 😉

  2. Nice work. Conditions for running aren’t great at the moment so good on you for keeping going. One thing though, most plans don’t call for running the full distance before your marathon. I’m just worried you might mentally and physically exhaust yoursefl trying to get to full distance before the actual race?

    1. Thanks Bernie. Most of the plans I’ve seen suggest 20 miles as the final long run before the marathon, but to me it just doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m pretty sure I won’t get to 26.2 before the race itself, but I’d like to get close just for peace of mind if nothing else.
      In saying that though, if it gets too much I will back off – it’s my first marathon so the main thing is just to finish, right?

      1. Yep, completion is the important thing. Getting to the startline more important than that. 😄 The extra distance comes on the day – you’ve tapered, you’re rested, you’re fuelled, you have a supported run and a crowd to get you through the extra distance.
        The reason most plans stop at 20miles is because after about 3 – 3 1/2 hours running you start really damaging your body – meaning you don’t recover in time so you either miss sessions or really risk overuse injuries. By the time you’re doing 20 mile runs in a schedule you’re normally doing 40miles+ in the week. That’s a lot!
        However, you know your body best! If you monitor your recovery as you boost your distance, especially as you hit the 20mile mark, and you can continue to back up for your other sessions without pain then who am I to tell you not to do it!

      2. Ah, I didn’t know that about the 20 miles and 3- 3 1/2 hours, but it makes sense. I’ll bear that in mind and keep an eye on the recovery after those long runs – and try not to obsess quite so much about getting beyond 20 miles.
        Many thanks. 🙂

  3. Way to go! That’s a great run! I’m like you, I need to know that I can go the full distance (and more) if I’m to run a race, so my half training involves 14 and sometimes 17 mile long runs. It’s a psychological lift to know, for sure, you can do this on race day.

      1. I think that you have to go with your gut. Do what you think is right for you. Whilst programmes will work for many that follow them, they won’t be right for everyone.

        I had to do lots of splitting long runs last summer and many folk were tutting about that, but I had no choice. It worked for me.

  4. You make me feel quite ashamed of my little 24 minute shuffles, which in fact I have not even been doing lately. On the other hand, you inspire me to begin again. I’ve always had it in mind to do a marathon eventually. I think I’ll start with the 15K Utica, NY Boilermaker. That’ll be good for a few blog posts anyways.

    1. Nothing wrong with a 24 minute shuffle! 15K sounds like a good one for you to go for next. It’s surprising how quickly you can build up the distance – and yes, more running posts from Mowhawk Valley please! 😉

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