Saturday, August 25, 2012

A bad run

The Goal for Saturday's run:

18 miles
Miles 1-6 @ easy pace

Miles 7-16 @ GMP (8:10-8:00/mile)

Last 2 miles @ easy pace.

What actually went down:

18.14 miles in 2:30, with 10 @ GMP.


So on paper, or garmin, this looks like a fantastic run. Unfortunately it was the most awful run I've had in a while.

Most of my training runs have been perfectly uneventful. I prefer them to go without incident. This one was a huge struggle. I could tell in the first couple of miles that this run was only going to get worse. When it came time for the GMP miles, I gave it my all and now think I should have backed off a bit with the pace. I had to stop at the fountains for water every other mile because I was so overheated and hellbent on achieving the GMP miles. (I was dressed appropriately for the temps)

All day post run I've felt so terrible- headache, achy leg, etx, feelings I usually don't experience.

What I did Right:

It was 73 degrees when I started sometime after 6am- with a decent humidity level. I didn't immediately feel hot. I felt pretty good, maybe a little groggy until mile 2 or 3 like normal.

I took water whenever I needed it. Which was a lot more than normal and I continually felt thirsty.

I took a salt tab and gatorade prime and honey stinger waffle (not all at the same time) pre run which is what I usually do.

Took a salt and gu at mile 5.5, another gu at mile 11.5, and some mango salt strips at mile 12.

Feet felt happy in my brand spanking new mizuno wave elixirs.

No tummy issues or any other issue to speak of.

Possible causes for the craptastic run:

Not enough carbs. I haven't been a fan of pasta or other carbs for quite some time now. I can't eat sushi rolls anymore (used to be a carb loading fav of mine until I got sick a few months ago from them) and I just really don't like eating pasta because of the way it makes me feel (brick in my belly). I haven't really carb loaded for a run in a while- I tend to go for burritos with rice and chicken the day before a big run. Maybe the lack of carbs has finally caught up to me?

Friday I had 2 beers and a few pieces of chicken quesadilla, and a small piece of veggie pizza for dinner. Maybe this wasn't good pre run food? Eh, I've had beer the day before a run and never had a problem before. Doubt it was this.

It was 86 degrees and full sun by the time I finished the run. I'm pretty sure this had something to do with me feeling absolutely terrible during the 18 miles. I don't run with a HR monitor, but could tell my heart rate was very elevated today.

Final Thoughts

I'll just chalk this crappy run up to pushing myself too hard in the heat. I can't really think of anything that stands out which would have directly contributed to this run going bad.

I so desperately needed/wanted this run to go well for my own psyche, because I've been struggling with my goal for this race and second guessing my abilities. I pretty much had a huge breakdown today over this run. I only have one more long run left before my short taper begins and hope to have some good runs next week during the peak of my training. All runs can't go well, and just makes you appreciate the good normal runs a lot more after a run goes bad.

I like to analyze how to make things better or prevent certain events from happening "next time" and can't find a reason other than the heat which caused this run to be terrible. I'll now walk away from this bad run with a clean slate.

Here's hoping next weeks 22 miler goes according to plan.

3 weeks to go!

- xaar


  1. Sometimes the bad runs just hit us so that we can appreciate the good ones even more. I hope that this was the case for this run. You have got this! Don't doubt yourself!

  2. i've ditched pasta as my pre long run meal too for pizza. but not all pizza is created equal, so i make my own and no longer feel the carb depletion. it does take up to three days for your body to absorb all those excess carbs, so maybe a few days before the long run start adding a piece of toast to your breakfast or a side of rice to your lunch or even a baked potato to your dinner. doesn't need to be anything crazy because your body can really only absorb so many carbs at a time anyways.

  3. The fact that you were able to gut out 18 miles when you were feeling sub-par is GREAT preparation for the marathon. If, during the marathon, you start to feel sub-par you will be able to look back on this run and it will give you confidence that you can keep your legs moving to the finish!

  4. Bummer that the run didn't go as well, but not every run can go perfect according to plan. Just based on your post, maybe your body was low on glycogen a tad, and also the heat is likely the main factor. 86 degrees when you finished is hot.

    And how I like to gauge how a run goes is a combo of pace and heartrate - since 9 min pace with a really high HR isn't as good to me as 9 min pace with low HR. To me HR tells a lot - whether your body is ready, how hot it is, if you are fueling correctly, etc. So generally I try to run based on HR if possible.

  5. It sounds like a successful run but not a pleasant feeling one... which makes me think you are one of those badass elite athletes who can run a kickass pace even when they don't feel 100%! We all have faith in your 9/16 race!!! :)

  6. 3 miles in...and you still pushed through it. Uhh, kind of amazing! Don't let it get to you. You are going to dominate!!

  7. I think sometimes our body forces us to have bad runs, just so that we can mentally learn to cope. It sounds like you did everything right, and your body was testing you to see if you were ready. I think you passed!

  8. Congratulations on pushing through a tough run. I know how craptastic it can feel, but you still made it happen. Be proud of finishing despite how it felt.

    Without getting into too much detail, are you approaching that time of the month, by chance? My runs tend to suffer in the 7-10 days leading up to my period. During this time I often just feel off kilter. And I've learned to prepare my expectations accordingly.

    I also have a theory that on average, about one out of about every 4 or 5 runs is bad. So it's good to get those bad runs out of the way now in training instead of on the big day. The more bad runs you have now, the less likely it'll be for your marathon to fall on a bad day!

    I wish you many awesome training runs and race runs in the future!!!

  9. Girl, it was HOT and that's all there was to it!! I would have melted with those temps!!

  10. Thanks a lot for the link to Meb's Olympic marathon thoughts - that was awesome to read! I guess it confirmed what I thought the temp was - 70 degrees with high humidity.

    I didn't know Meb was battling blisters, that is too bad to hear. I didn't know about the drink mixup with Hall, that is a bummer too.

    Who knows if he had grabbed the right drink if he could have medaled?

    Meb has always been my favorite olympian going back to 2004, so glad he had such a good run out there. Still wish he could have grabbed my flag from me, I never thought to hold it out for him!

  11. Just now catching up on your posts! I know how you feel --these runs are tough. But it's still a kick-ass 18-miler! I usually have pizza and beer 1 or 2 days before a long run (had 3 pieces of pizza and 1 beer last night before my 20-miler this morning and felt great). Another way to get carbs and protein into your diet is a protein smoothie! I recommend: almond milk, almond butter, sliced banana, frozen strawberries, liquid iron, vanilla protein powder, cacao powder, Udo's oil, and a few pieces of ice. Can't wait to see how you do in a few weeks!