Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Day I Ran 16 Miles

I am joining in the Ultimate Coffee Date Link Up! Please make sure you visit the hosts Deborah, and Lynda, and Coco, and comment on some other great posts. 



I wanted to join in today to chat about what I am mulling over. 
Thanks for stopping by! All feedback, advice, and insights welcome!! 

Jan. 2015 - getting ready to roll for my longest run ever 


The day I ran 16 miles, it was a sunny 30 degree day. Kasey (my run buddy) ran with me for the first 8 miles, then peeled off and went home, and I continued on. I felt great until mile 13, and then I noted that my feet started burning and they hurt the last few miles. That was January 2015. I stopped at 15.5 miles and the feet felt better, so I jogged a half mile home. I made it a regular practice to try jog a half mile or so, after all my long runs during that training cycle. I figured it would be good practice. I figured at some point of a marathon I would feel tired, start walking, and would need to know I could make myself go again when really tired…

I have thought about that day a lot! I have often wondered if I had went with the Galloway method how my feet would have felt, but I was determined to run and not stop. My feet were probably in decline longer than I realize. I remember wondering that day, "DO they even make shoes comfortable enough to make three hours of running feel good?"

The beauty of winter training - look how late you can sleep! 

That day ended up being my longest run ever, because a shortly after I was diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture. I struggled for over a year with usually low potassium and vitamin D readings, which I believe contributed to my injury.

I have spent the last month trying to figure out what amount of running is realistic. I still don’t have all the answers, but I have had moments of clarity that are helping me to accept where I am, yet I still have this one nagging thing I need to check off, the marathon distance. 

I don’t want to damage my feet anymore, but I don’t want to sit by and feel like I can’t do things! It makes me crazy, so I try to be optimistic about these fickle feet. They do put a limitation on me,  I haven’t quite figured out how to handle yet. 

Will my feet hold up if I try to train? I don't believe there is anyway to be certain, unless I try. I have failed the past two years to get to the March marathon I hoped to run, so maybe the third time is the charm. 

I still have a few months to play around and see what works for me and I feel like I will have a very different training approach now. During that training cycle, I only paused on a long run if I had to cross a street, and while I did run “easy pace”, I wasn't always at an effort level that felt easy

I read through a lot of information the past few weeks. It is interesting how sometimes even though you may have heard something before; sometimes you really aren't digesting the information, or applying it to your own situation. 

I did more reading about Hanson’s plan and it really struck me for the first time it stops at a 16 mile long run. Well hey, I have run 16 miles before, so that gave me a ray of hope, but then I kept reading… lol Hanson’s has you running six days a week, with back to back long runs. Even when I had healthy feet they couldn't tolerate that kind of activity level, however this is the first time the paces really started to hit home to me… 

If I want to run a five hour marathon that is an 11:27 pace. I can work with that! I am going to have to learn how to train at that pace. 

I tend to run off feel, and I know what feels sustainable to me on any given day, which can vary greatly, but I tend to have one effort level that I poke around for until I hit it. 

This past week, I decided to go out, and really give easy a try. Not a target pace, but an actual easy feel. Trying to purposely run slower felt very unnatural…I turned toward streets with some hills to help me out.

10:36, 10:56, 10:18 

I noticed I was breathing easier, my heart rate lower, hmmmph. I wondered if I could do this for 10 miles? 12 miles? It was hard to not speed up. The last mile I did pick it up, but it was an interesting experiment. It is a mental game in a different way than pushing yourself along, but still a mental game, no less. 

The day before I had run 4 miles  - 10:19, 9:58, 10:41, 10:18 and there was a notable difference in how I felt.

I am going to play around the next few weeks and try to run intentionally slower and see if it was a fluke. 

I have used Galloway 4 x 1 intervals, which I really enjoy for my longer runs, but typically, I still average above a 10:30 pace, so the “run” portions are still fairly fast. It is beginning to dawn on me, I really need to ease up the run portions to feel a difference.

Hanson’s six days of running a week is daunting, especially since the tissues in my feet aren't 100% and I need to limit the load, but I am hopeful I can try to pull from a few different training philosophies and actually accomplish a Fall marathon. I have a lot of anxiety when I think about the extending the amount time I am on my feet. Honestly, I get overwhelmed just thinking about trying to train, and maybe I am really not cut out for this, but then I think... all I needed was a few more long runs...

I have a fear of failing again, but I think the fear of feeling regret is worse, if I don't try. 

The real key is building that aerobic endurance and I think at this stage of life I will be okay to train at much different intensity level. Train easy, take breaks if needed, and save for it for race day!

Maybe one of these days I will be able to tell you I ran 16 miles again. 

41 comments:

  1. I have no advice for you but it sounds like you are figuring things out with that truly easy pace. Maybe you could use your Garmin to make sure you don't go fast than that?

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    1. I am working on it :) I will have to pay more attention to the watch for sure.

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  2. I like that you are determined to FIND A WAY. I am hopeful for you that you can find a plan or hybrid of plans that works!! Can you incorporate cross training? Pool running? Elliptical?

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    1. Thanks, I hope it works. I will bike and do other machines for cardio for sure, but I do not have an affordable option for a gym with a pool near me, so no pool time.

      I have been looking around for some swimming lessons I could for a month or two somewhere, but haven't any workable options for adults yet.

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  3. It's all just one big experiment! Here's hoping for a future 16 mile run for you!

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  4. I think you can finish a marathon. Run some of your miles in the pool and your aerobic endurance base will be there without wear and tear on your feet.

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    1. I wish I could find a good option for a pool near me, but everything (gym wise)close is out of my budget. I have been on the hunt for a month or two of lessons somewhere so I could get some pool time this summer, but so far no luck. I'll keep looking though.

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  5. As someone who trained for a marathon while injured and nitvwithout running...there are options! And one in which YOU helped me achieve (sisterhood of the traveling watch). You CAN train for s marathon without logging so many miles. Think about it!

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    1. I do think I will be smarter about biking more and relying on alternative training more. I know even from training for the half this past year and having so many missed runs, I still was okay for race day :) It was hard mentally to miss those runs, but I hope I can remember the lesson that taught me! I just hope I don't have to bail again.

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  6. You know I am a huge fan of Galloway. And trained for a marathon with pretty much only 3 runs a week. So it is definitely doable. I had to wait until my body was ready. At one point in my life I couldn't even go 3 miles without horribly bad knee pain. It took me a while to figure it out, and find a solution and once I was (fully??) healed, then upped my running. I prefer to run forever and shorter distances, than run, injure myself, and not be able to run again. There is this blogger, Jen Chooses Joy, who I admired. Running was her life. She slipped on a manhole in the NY marathon last year but finished the race. Completely wrecked her knee and has fallen off social media and blogging. I always ask myself what I would have done in that case. Is it worth it ?
    My only suggesting would be to give it some time, think about all the pros and cons and discuss them with lots of different people.
    And with the Galloway method, you get used to running slower paces. Believe me, when you have 3, 4, 5 hour training runs, you have to go slower.

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    1. I am w/ you Karen. I would rather have running be in my life for as long as possible so I have really cut back on my mile (3 miles about 4x per week) and added in more cycling, swimming and walks w/ my dog (oh, yeah, weights, too!). I followed Jen Chooses Joy for awhile. What happened to her? Is she still running?! It was weird that she just was there one day and gone the next!

      P.S. I use Galloway, too! I actually really enjoy it after letting go of my ego.

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    2. Karen, I am glad to hear you felt 3 days a week was enough, that seems to be what I will be able to manage. Sometimes can do four days a week, but not every week for sure.
      I have wondered if I should until I feel more healed, but then I wonder if that day will ever come.
      I didn't follow Jen, that is sad! Although, I confess as my injury dragged on and I have other issues, I tend to want to bow out. It is hard week after week when you don't feel well to keep finding other things to talk about. I feel like negative Nelly quite often...and I don't want to fill that roll.
      I am going to try and see what happens, if I have pain I will bail.

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    3. Susan, I can't tell how often I wish I had some of my virtual friends closer, so we could run and chat! I do better slowing down, if I have someone to talk with.
      I often worry my running days are numbered, I think that is why I cling to running those shorter runs and not doing Galloway all the time. I think I struggle not with how fast or how slow, it is that my feet want to turn over at a certain rate and it to hard to change that!
      I wish I could swim.

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  7. I love your determination! And to be honest, my feet really begin to burn in the late parts of really long runs as well. I usually coat them in Vaseline to prevent blisters but in a marathon or a long run they still do feel like they're 'burning.'

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    1. Thanks Heather! Well that is interesting, I thought it was just me with the burning. Maybe shoes weren't meant to run that long, but we do it anyway lol

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  8. Running 6 days a week sounds very overwhelming to me to say the least! I think you will figure out how to get to that 16 miles again- you are determined!

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    1. I admire those that can run that much, but I know my feet are not going to do it.
      I hope I can find a way to make it happen.

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  9. I often wonder just how far I can run. I've been tempted a time or two, after a half, to just go out & see if I can do more than 13.1, but either I am training for another race or I need to cut back because of some nagging pain so it's never happened.

    Out of curiosity, have you looked at USAFit? Is there a group in your area? They are a great way to train for a marathon.

    I have the exact opposite problem to yours. It is just hard for me to even go "average". If you want to be paced to a slow pace, I'm your gal!

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    1. I would run w/ you Judy (see comment below). Would love to learn to go slower and then try to go a little farther (only 6-8 miles maybe once per month...)

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    2. I wish I had you gals to run with! I find it easier when talking to pace with someone, I find it hard alone. I do think your feet turn over at a certain rate and it is hard to change that.
      Last summer the longest run I did all summer was a 10K Susan, but I got very ill a few times in the heat and I was going about 7 minutes slower than my norm. The heat does bad things to me...If I try to train I will need to start longer runs in late August, I am hoping I can figure a way to get by.

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  10. Thanks for such an awesome update. I really pray you can get back to where you want to be and doing what you love! I would love to slow down my pace because even though I don't go fast, I think I might be able to do some "longer" runs (6 -8 miles) if I could go slower. You are so right--it is such a mental game. And it does feel unnatural but every once in awhile I keep trying. Most days, however, I am totally fine with my 3 miles and then my 2 mile cool down walk w/ Macy. Happy Sunday, friend!

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    1. Thanks :) I am sure Macy loves her walks.

      I think at this point walking will be the key for me, but i have to figure out how to work it in. I have tried a few different ways. I may go with the traditional 4 x 1, but I think I will try 3 x 1 and 2 x 1 to see how it feels in heat. I struggled today - bad! When summer hits I lose the desire to try to run more than a few miles, but I will need to do it in a few months.
      I have found it is hard to make your feet turn over at a different rate. I think we all have a natural gait that is hard to change.

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  11. So nice to meet you via our coffee dates. I have read the post and it seems as if you have yourself a great game plan despite the foot problems. I love that you have started running "late" in life, this is great. I am so inspired by your desire and attempt for the marathon training and run. I have yet to challenge myself to such long run, but hope to complete one. Thank you for having coffee with us :)

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    1. Thanks Lynda! I am working on it. I did start late in life, I wish I would have started sooner! Thanks for the link up :)

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  12. With your doctor's blessing on the physical part, I have no doubt you have the mental capacity to finish a marathon. You are so dedicated and you want it so badly. Finding the right balance between physical and mental is important. I think you're right that there are so many principles from Hansons and Galloway that you can incorporate into making a plan that is right for you.

    Hansons teaches you to check your ego at the door and run easy paces at a level that feels kind of ridiculous at first, but that will eventually serve you well once your several weeks deep into training. So, if you wanted to run a marathon at 11:27 pace you would run your easy runs at 12:27- 13:27 pace.

    I'm sure that sounds really slow when you're used to 10:XX pace but if you tried it maybe it would help get you through the distances, especially if you did 13:00 pace using run/walk. That way you would still be running at a faster pace, but overall your pace would be very easy on your feet.

    My easy paces feel absurd right now but I just think "if this works for people who run 2:50 marathons I need to trust that it'll work for me too." Meb also follows a similar philosophy. I mean consider he runs a marathon at 5 minute pace but does his warmups sometimes in 8 minute pace and does his easy runs around 7 minute pace! There really must be something to this running easy days really easy thing! I hope to find out come October! :)

    I really hope you're able to achieve your goal of running a marathon, I know it's something you really want!

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    1. That is funny you bring up my Doc :) He understands I want to do it...just once, and he hopes I can, but he gives me no guarantees...and I have to bail if I start hurting too much. I do have a little more time before I really have to dive in, so I keep hoping my feet will get a little better.
      Today I tried to run 3/4 of a mile, then walk and easy jog the rest of the mile. I did better pace wise, but i didn't feel much better, but it was crazy humid. I am going to try 3 x 1 and 2 x 1 to see how they work. I have never used that ratio before, so I feel I need to do it and see how it goes before I decide.
      Pace doesn't bother me if I feel good doing it, what makes me crazy, is when I slow down and still feel miserable, that has always been the issue in the heat. Then I get tempted to speed up and just get it over with lol or walk...
      Maybe I need to read Meb's book!
      I am hoping this method pays off for you in October :)

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    2. Hahaha I definitely hear you on wanting to speed up to get a run over with! I can go either way during a miserable run, either I want to get it over with or I want to stop running and sulk while I walk home. Honestly on those days having a blog is a life saver because I always think "I don't want to write an annoying post where I cry about a bad run. I might as well finish it and try to be happy about it." :D

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    3. That is funny how we think about what we might write about! I thought about that when I was doing my wrap up from last week lol I really didn't even want to write the words, but I struggled last week, so I shared it...now maybe I regret it!

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  13. I had a tibial stress fracture 2 years ago and then a few other injuries stemming from it. I think if you really let it heal you can return to running. I've tried to limit my longer runs and races to less a year to give my body time to heal. I do not want to be injured again. Thanks for joining us for coffee today!

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    1. You have made a great comeback fro your injury!
      I have been quite limited for months now and I am hoping I can find a way to get this done :)

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  14. I identify with so much of this post. My trouble during training is that sometimes the prescribed pace is so slow that it feels uncomfortable. Then I wonder, what does an easy run really mean? That my breathing is easy? That my legs feel good? That my feet aren't tingly? Is there a such thing as an easy run once you get up to 16+ miles anyway?!

    11:27 sounds so doable. But then I remember how hard the end of my marathons have been and I realize that it's not as easy as I think it is! But I want to break 5 hours someday - it's my ultimate marathon goal - and your reflection here was really useful to me! I'm glad you're facing your fear of injury and trying again.

    I had a tendon strain in my foot during the first training cycle for a marathon and had to stop after 15 miles. But then I completed three more cycles successfully. So I know that adjusting your pace and being smarter in training CAN get you past that threshold without injury. You can do it!

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    1. That is it Ali! I have said it is so hard to make your feet turn over at an unnatural rate.
      I struggle in heat, so I do slow down quite a bit, but the problem is I still struggle lol last summer I ran 67 minute 10K's and still got heat sickness. I have a very hard time defining what easy is because it always changes.
      I am glad to hear you made it after injury! It was frustrating to have to stop, I feel unfinished...I hope to get to the finish line one day.
      Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  15. In the most recent issue of Runners World that just came out, they actually have a 16 week bare-bones marathon training plan. It tops out at a 40 mile week and only has you running 4 days/week: the long run and some really short weekday runs.

    People in the run blog world tend to be overachievers, and I think that gives the perspective that you have to work a lot harder than you actually do to be able to run a marathon. I know people who have completed marathons by doing little more than one run (the long run) per week. I know several people who have run very successful marathons running only 3x per week.

    I think this is a very doable goal for you. Injury is NOT inevitable and, contrary to popular belief, injury is not caused by high mileage - it's caused by inappropriate training and putting too much stress on the body. Someone training for a 5K and doing short but brutal workouts is just as likely, if not more so, to get hurt than someone logging high but slow mileage for a marathon. The key is to build up gradually. Take it week by week, and keep your eye on the prize. Yes, it's hard to keep your miles so slow, but you have to fight that urge for instant gratification and keep your eye on the prize. Every time youre tempted to push the pace, think about how you'll feel crossing the finish line. You can do it

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    1. Thanks Hanna :) I need to read that RW plan. I think for now my feet will tolerate 3 days a week, four at the most. I really have no big time expectation now. I confess I did before, I had high hopes to run a 4:45, but those days are over. If I can finish and not die I will be happy lol
      I am feeling better as I hear more folks have actually done that distance off 3 days a week.
      That is good, keep my eye on the prize. I need to worry about that one goal when training starts and not let other things cloud me. I know I will start worrying about I am losing my speed, etc...and I need to let it go for that period of time...I hope I can do this!

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  16. The most I've ever run is 13.1. I always am glad when I'm done. Could I run 26.2?? I don't know. My feet often bother me. My ankle is fine but would my screws & plate hold up for 26 miles?? I'm afraid to find out that I risked everything to be a marathoner. There are enough short races and half marathons to keep me occupied. Then there's the time factor for training and the weather. It's so complicated.

    Good luck. You have that can do spirit and if you want it, you will do it. And if you decide not to, that's ok too. I'm with you on that one.

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    1. I relate to that. I have finished some half's and I felt done!
      I question just like you do, is it really worth it? I will stop if i have too much pain, but I do want to try again. Just once...that is all I want. I have wondered if I will even run many more half marathons. I guess I will see how my feet do in a few months.

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  17. I KNOW you can run 16 miles again, and that you absolutely CAN run a marathon. Your strength, perseverance, and fortitude wouldn't have it any other way! But I think you are also being very smart to take things cautiously and listen to your body and your mind. It does feel weird to purposely run slow, right? But I've learned to enjoy it because it's much less harsh on the body over the long term. I'm a huge fan of Galloway's run/walk method - there's something so mentally helpful about knowing you never have too long before you can take a break!

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    1. Thanks Emily :)
      It does feel hard to find a rhythm, but I will get there. I am fearful now that it is hot, nothing will feel easy lol I do think I am really happy with the 4 x 1, but I am going to experiment with different times and make sure!
      I do really look forward to those breaks when I doing the timer!!

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  18. I knew going into my marathon training I could not run 6 days a week in training and still do the smaller races. In fact I only ran 3 days most weeks with twice during the week and those were usually only 3 milers. Then a long run. I built up the long run. If you want to do this you can, and you will figure out a way. My way worked pretty much. Yes I had ITB problems even in my marathon but I finished. Slowing down is going to be key I think for you. It is so hard to excel at a 5k then go out and run something like 15 -20 miles. Just my opinion, but I think given what season or race your training for you have to pick. You have a great base, even with you strength training which a lot do not do. My only advice from my experience is you don't want to over-train and draw out the weeks. I could have cut back 2 even a whole month off my training and I would have been fine. It was not that I wasn't trained that hurt me in my marathon. Some will tell you if you can do 26.2 in training your can do it in the race, I beg to differ. If you can do 20 maybe 22 for someone like you, the last miles will carry you through. No need in running your race before your race, ya know. Just added wear and tear. You've done enough races and had to deal with the mental aspect to cover for all of that. In a nutshell, pick your race and get your plan cause you can do it! :) Plus we'll all be here to help you. :)

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    1. I am so glad to read all this!!!! I really think 3 days will be what works for me, and I plan to add to my long runs, but I don't want to do anything more than enough to get me to the finish line. I will be going minimalist!
      I have a pretty good plan worked out. Fingers crossed I will make it this time :) I am so glad you are here to help!
      I am going to do my best not to over-train :)

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