Marathon training is really hard but is also very rewarding. I am finally back on track with my training program after taking a couple of weeks off during summer vacation. I hardly ran while I was on vacation. Eating chips, drinking beer and going to the beach took precedence over following my training plan which called for running several times during the week. My goals all along for this marathon have just been about finishing and not getting hurt so taking a couple of weeks off didn’t freak me out. I also think it positively affected my mental state because I was not constantly thinking about what I was going to eat to fuel my run, how much water I was drinking and when I would fit in a run.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the turning point of this past weekend. We got back from vacation and I slowly got back into the groove. I was still not following the training plan exactly, but I was definitely running more than I was when I was on vacation. The turning point in my training happened this past weekend. My planned long run was 15 miles. I spent a great deal of time thinking about this run as it is the farthest I have run EVER.
The first step in preparing for this long run was to pick the route. We have a beautiful bike path near us that runs for 21.4 miles from one end to the other. To access the map click here. It is relatively flat, not super crowded and very scenic. My plan was to park my car at one end and have my husband drop me off 15 miles away.
The second step was planning my pre-run nutrition. I knew I would be out there for a few hours so I needed something that would sustain me for a while. I chose to fuel with a product called Generation UCAN (Meb uses this also). I have used it before on long runs and I really like it. I have sustained energy for at least 2 hours and it is very easy on the digestive track. I have ulcerative colitis so I need to be careful about what I eat. That is a whole other blog topic. Fortunately, I am in remission so it has not impacted my running. You can find product information in this link. I use the Tropical Orange flavor as it is naturally sweetened. You can find a large selection of Generation UCAN products at Fleet Feet in West Hartford.
The third step was planning what I would listen to as I would be out there for a few hours. My post last week was about how much time I had spent in the car driving around and that I needed to find something productive to do while I was trapped for all of those hours. As I had mentioned, I did download some podcasts and listened to them in the car. I thought this would also be a great idea for my run. I went onto iTunes and searched running podcasts. I found one titled The Running Lifestyle Show and another titled the The Marathon Training Academy. I downloaded several episodes from each and thoroughly enjoyed listening to them.
Finally, the day of the run. It was a beautiful morning. Temperature was in the low 60’s, low humidity, partly sunny. My husband dropped me off in Farmington and I started running. I ran from Farmington through Avon into Simsbury into East Granby and back to Simsbury. It was amazing to see the signs of each town as I went from one to the next all on my own two feet. My pre-run fueling was perfect, my hydration was right on target and the podcasts I had downloaded were great.
For me, it was such a great accomplishment to run 15 miles that now I feel like I can finish strong. 6 1/2 weeks to race day! Wish me luck!