The long run is my favourite part of my marathon training week. Everyone has their favourite bit, some like speed work, some like to run hills and the lazy buggers would take a slow recovery run everyday if they could 😉 The long run is my happy spot. Not too fast, not too slow and plenty of time to listen to the radio, zone out and breathe in the fresh air. I’m also a sucker for the endorphin flood and the great (smug, ahem…) feeling it gives me for the rest of the day. Can’t get enough of that good stuff. I’d make this a part of my everyday if I was Lance Armstrong, sorry I meant – if I could.
My long run this week was 20 miles. But there was a dilemma. I should have run it on Sunday but as I’d run the Dublin Half Marathon on Saturday, the only option was to shift it to Monday. I toyed with the idea of deferring it to next week but with my longest run last week being the half-marathon, I was anxious to get in a longer run. If I’m honest, I’m never really sure what to do in these circumstances – i.e, where a race jumps into the middle of your week’s training and throws all other scheduled runs out of sync! Upshot: I ran 20 miles this morning.
I made sure to get in a good carbo loaded dinner last night and had a baked potato, along with some turmeric spiced sea bass and steamed green beans. I also chomped down a banana and a bowl of greek yogurt, dried fruit and chopped fruit for supper so I was all set for the morning.
It was a wet morning but luckily the rain was stopped when I headed out.I reckoned it would probably start to rain at some point given the grey clouds looming overhead but at least I’d have a headstart on it! My run brought me out of the town and straight into the countryside via the Tipper road, Forenaughts, Rathmore and up into the hills of Kilteel. I then turned back towards Kill via Arthurstown and re-joined the route that had brought me out. Lots and lots and lots of countryside and nothing but fresh air! My legs were tired, as I knew they would be, having put in a good effort at the race on Saturday but my sole goal was just to do the distance and get it done. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to hang in for the full distance but by the time I’d the first big 16 mile section nearly done, I had come around to the decision that “sure I’ve managed to do 16 and if I’ve come that far, then 4 miles isn’t very much to do”.
That’s often the way I get through any run. Not thinking too far ahead and just getting there one piece at a time. Kinda makes the whole thing less of an overwhelming “Oh my god, there’s no way in 7 hells I would ever be able to do that” and more of “Ara sure (in the words of every self-respecting Kerryman), I’ll just do that little bit and then I’ll see where I’m at…” experience. Or, like the frogs and boiling water – you know? If you want to cook a frog (I’m not sure if this part if correct because who would want to cook a frog? But I can’t see any other reason why you would be putting a frog into a pot of water…), it’s better to put a frog into a pot of cold water (to which it is accustomed) and then gradually turn up the heat, rather than dropping it into a pan of already boiling water which would cause it to immediately jump out. I digress.
I got the 20 miles done and came in at 3.07:36, which was actually not a bad time and one I would have been happy with it on any other training day. In theory, add another hour to that time for another hypothetical 10km and that would give me a marathon time of 4.07 ish. Then add in fresher legs, tapering, breakfast (I ran on empty yesterday) and race day tempo and I’d hypothetically be looking nearer to the 4 hour mark. That’s a lot of hypotheticals, all of which are unpredictable and in no way guaranteed to come to fruition, so I won’t hold my breath. If I did, I might find myself bitterly disappointed on marathon day and no one wants to go to that party. Instead, I’m going to just keep breathing. Breathing in all of that good fresh air.