Monday, October 30, 2017

Gearing up for Marathon #2

I am going to share an article that I have read many times to frame my mindset about running marathon #2. 

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals for the Weekly Wrap!
Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin

http://hohoruns.blogspot.com

I want to be clear I am not advocating running a race undertrained, or passing judgment on the way anyone trains, I am simply sharing my heart and decision making process that led to running a marathon on October 28th. 

Below is a clip from the article 

Written by Coach Jeff


The marathon long run is overrated.
In my experience, too many beginner runners (those training to run slower than 3:45) focus on trying to get in multiple 20 or 22 milers in their training segment at the expense of improving more critical physiological systems. More importantly, scientific research has shown that runs of over 3 hours offer little aerobic benefit compared to runs of 2 hours while significantly increasing injury risk.
As such, rather than cramming your marathon training schedule with multiple 20-22 milers that increase your injury risk and recovery time without decisive aerobic advantages, you should focus on improving your aerobic threshold, teaching your body to use fat as a fuel source, and building your overall tolerance for running on tired legs through accumulated fatigue.
Since the long run is such an ingrained element of marathon training, and suggesting they are overrated sounds blasphemous to many veterans, I am going to provide you with scientific research, relevant examples, and suggestions on how to better structure your training to help you run your next marathon faster.
The science of the long run
Most beginner runners training for the marathon are averaging anywhere from 9 minutes to 12 minutes per mile on their long runs (3:45 to 5-hour finishing time). At a pace of 10 minutes per mile, a runner will take roughly 3-hours and 40-minutes to finish a 21-mile run. While there is no doubt that a 21-mile run (or longer) can be a great confidence booster, from a training and physiological standpoint, they don’t make too much sense. Here’s why:
Research has shown that your body doesn’t see a significant increase in aerobic development, specifically mitochondrial development, when running over 90 minutes. The majority of physiological stimulus of long runs occurs between the 60 and 90 minute mark. This means that after running for 3 hours, aerobic benefits (capillary building, mitochondrial development) aren’t markedly better than when you run for only 2 hours. Therefore, a long run of over 3 hours builds about as much aerobic fitness as one lasting 2 hours.
Furthermore, running for longer than 3 hours significantly increases your chance of injury. Your form begins to break down, your major muscles become weak and susceptible to injury, and overuse injuries begin to take their toll. This risk is more prevalent for beginner runners whose aerobic capabilities (because of cross training and other activities), exceed their musculoskeletal readiness. Basically, their bodies aren’t ready to handle what their lungs can.
Not only are aerobic benefits diminished while injury risk rises, recovery time is significantly lengthened. The total amount of time on your feet during a 3-hour plus run adds considerable fatigue to the legs, which leads to a significant delay in recovery time. Credit 

I've read the words in red over and over as I have thought about running another marathon and I take them to heart. 💕 Am I trained to run 2 hours…Absolutely.  Is that enough training? I don’t know…Did I believe I could do it?  I felt confident I could meet the challenge mentally and physically in every other way than my feet...my feet are my thorn, but I was ready to test them. 

I put my name on the waitlist for this race during the summer kind of willy nilly and said, if it is meant to be I’ll get in. The course is advertised as a fast downhill course on unpaved road. It had been a little over three months when they contacted me (I had forgot about it!) and said I could have a spot! I was shocked…the wait list was huge when I threw my name up; I really didn’t believe it would happen.

There were a handful of reasons I threw my name on the waitlist.

My first marathon did not turn out as well as I hoped and I felt I needed to right some of the things that went wrong that day, and I was very curious if unpaved surface would make a difference for my feet.

I spent 8 months without the slightest desire to revisit 26.2 after the Richmond marathon in 2016. Something flipped after that and I was ready to create some new marathon memories. 

I had a lot go wrong race morning last year. I had sooooooooo much anxiety I could not even eat. I ran on empty and while doing a race close to home did allow me to sleep in my own bed, taking care of my animals in the morning, cleaning up messes, was all part of my undoing. Also trying to drive downtown and park at such a big event was a total stressor. I still get sad when I think about how the morning went; it wasn’t conducive for a great day. I could go on and on about how heartbreaking this was to me in so many ways, but the big lesson I learned, is that I need to remove those elements so I can have a clear head and happy heart when I get to the start line.

This race limited to 400 participants, with a parking area and shuttles to take you up the mountain and affordable accommodations nearby, and the promise of beautiful views made me want to be there!

Also, actually tackling the beastly 26.2 once before gave me experience with what to expect, and confidence that I could get it done. 26 miles seemed so unimaginable to me all during training last year, I am not sure I really believed I would finish until I ran my 20 miler. I have always known though I would not train the same way (if I ever decided to do it again) and I figured 16-17 would be about my longest run. 

When race organizers contacted me my initial gut reaction was go! Then the doubts and worries started to flood my mind…will I get hurt, will my feet explode, will it be miserable if I walk 10 miles of it, will Coach Holly be upset I am messing up my half goal???
I have been on a half training mission with Holly, and I didn’t want to flip from that goal, but my heart wanted to do this.

Honestly, it was just a few weeks ago I got pulled from the waitlist. Is that really enough time to make a big difference in my fitness level?? No! But, I did believe deep inside I was ready. I just had a sense of peace about it.  If I had a little more notice I would have trained up to 16 miles, but time wasn’t abundant so I just stuck with my normal plans. 

Remember, I put my name on the list and said if it is meant to be…

In the end, I decided to say thank you Lord for the opportunity; I am going to become a second time marathoner. My BIG race plan was to hopefully see some beautiful sights, run some intervals, and enjoy the journey.

I, of course, had been stalking the weather, which was great in NC and VA the week leading up the race, and of course the Thursday night before the event – rain 100% chance!!

If you saw my Instagram post you know I accomplished marathon #2 and it was a 5 minute PR and I am very happy I decided to go for it!

I’ll leave you here until I can get more details written out…but I did it! 💫
Thanks for stopping by!! Karen




Have you read this article about training and the long run before? Any thoughts about it? 
The importance of a 20 miler?? I believe I needed it for marathon #1!!
Have you run a race undertrained? 
Have you ever made a big decision on...if it was meant to be?? 
Does a rain forecast make you dread a race? UGH!!! 

28 comments:

  1. A rainy forecast makes me especially anxious for 26.2 miles...anything shorter, I'm not worried (much). I have not not always gotten tot hat "benchmark" 20 miles in training, but I really have not let that bother me much (I know my endurance is strong, so the "20" is a bit irrelevant). I'm excited to hear more details of this race!!! Congrats!!

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    1. Thank you :)
      I am the same, rain I can deal with rain usually, but it wigged me when I was thinking about running 4+ hours lol

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  2. Never would attempt a FIRST marathon without the 20 miler.

    The 2nd. Not sure. I would be afraid of injury.

    Yes, I have run a race not trained and I just walked the 2nd half.

    I hate racing in the rain!

    I am pretty impulsive too.

    So happy that you were successful. It's mental, right? You wanted it and you got it!!

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    1. Thank you :) Yes, a lot of is mental!!
      I think that 20 is crucial for a 1st marathon, this time around the advantage was I believed I could do it.

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  3. Congrats on the PR! I am happy it all worked out for you and you got the spot and had a better marathon experience!

    When I am marathon training, I do several 20s and 22s and they really help me. I can see not doing a bunch of them though, and the plans that only train to 16 or 18. Everyone is different! You gotta find what works for you - and that is the issue - so many plans are cookie cutter and not tailored for a person's specific needs and what their body can handle.

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    1. Thank you :) I feel like it worked out great - if I recover well, I will call it a victory!
      You are not really prone to injury so I get wanting to do the longer runs. I know my body won't cooperate lol sadly...

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  4. I'm so glad you decided to do this, Karen! I think whether one does a 20 miler or not depends on the person, their body, and whatever is going on with them at that time. I would never poo poo someone for doing it the way it works for them at that time! I'm glad it worked for YOU and I could def see myself doing something similar sometime. :)

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    1. Thank you :) yes, this was kind of fun not to worry about the race for weeks, just jump in and do it lol
      I think a 20 was crucial to me the the 1st time around but I felt more confident this time. I totally get why people do them!

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  5. I know our initial coach for USAFit often advised slower runners not to run over 4 hours, but to try to get in their long run in 2 runs in a 24 hour period if they will take longer than 4 hours. AND that if you can run 16, you can do a marathon.

    I do think if I were to attempt a first, I'd want at least a 20 miler -- maybe more. I know some of my friends talk about the marathon miracle (aka that last 10k), but so many more seem to come apart during them.

    It would take me way more than 5 hours . . . which is exactly why I haven't done it. And my trail half was rainy, but hey, it was Mud & Chocolate & I knew there was a really good chance of it.

    I've had a handful of races I really felt called upon to do. You have to go with your heart! Congrats again!

    I assume that you let Coach Hoho know of your plans?

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    1. Thank you Judy! Yes Holly knew!! and was wonderfully supportive.
      I think the 20 was crucial the 1st time around and I would recommend to anyone to try to get it done.
      I do totally agree with your coach - I would not run over 3 hours in training now and I've felt that way after I ran my 1st one. I do believe 16 is plenty now but I couldn't have done it mentally the 1st time around off 16. It is a different kind of hard for us who are slower - we have to plan to be on our feet along time!

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  6. I am so impressed and happy for you! This gives me tons of 'food for thought' as I worry so much about getting injured even before race day due to the amount of miles needed to run in the training process. This logic makes perfect sense to me because like you, my feet are the thorn in my side. I need them to be fresh, fresh, fresh before race day!!! Hmmmm.....

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    1. Thank you :)
      Yeeeees to fresh feet! The 1st one is really hard mentally because it all feels so big, but after that experience this one wigged me out much less.
      Just break down into parts and do it :)

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  7. I 100% agree with what Kim Ilax said. You have to find what works for you. Remember, I gave up on the high mileage training after my disastrous first marathon and let my CrossFit coach train me for #2. She followed the principle of running on tired legs and my longest run was 18 miles. It was a recipe for success. I did follow her coaching plan to a t, tho. I'm glad this worked out for you. Enjoy your PR!

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    1. Thank you :)
      I would have caved mentally on your plan for my first, but after tackling the distance once it makes perfect sense to me! Becky made a great plan for you!

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  8. I like to run at least one 20 miler in each marathon training cycle but this past one I was late with training and only did a 16 miler and felt great during the marathon! I think sometimes people run too much and burn themselves out before the race even comes.

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    1. Yes, this time around I didn't have fatigue weighing me down. Last year I did recover well during taper at all and it made for a tough race.

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  9. Congrats on that PR! That's so impressive that you decided to run this with such little notice. I'm still working on my first one so concentrating on the long runs as that's the traditional method :) But I am super slow and am definitely worried about injury as the mileage gets up there since it takes me so much longer to run the required distances. I'm not sure if I'll ever run a second one but if so, I'm going to look into this idea more.

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    1. Thank you!!
      yes I think you need several long runs under your belt mentally to get you across the line the first time around but I wouldn't train more than 4 hours...if you run that long you know you can make it!
      The 2nd f you ever decided to do it will be easier on the mind...just having the experience and knowing somewhat how I would feel helped a ton to hop in and do this.

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  10. Congrats Karen! Marathon training is so personal. What works great for someone can be disaster for another. Personally I think the 20 miler is necessary for mental confidence, if nothing else. There are many paths that lead to that finish line.

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    1. Thank you!! I had to have the 20 miler the 1st go around for sure! Even then I worried...
      It was easier mentally this time.

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  11. What works for marathon training is such an individual thing. Because running a marathon is so overwhelming mental (that's what they say), I think most people need the confidence of having run a 20 miler -- at least for their first marathon. Regardless, I am so proud of you for tackling this distance again. The fact you pulled 5 minutes off is amazing! GREAT JOB.

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    1. Thank you!! I had to have the 20 miler the 1st go around for sure!
      It was easier mentally this time. I am more worried about recovery than I was worried about running LOL
      Thank you for all the support!!

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  12. The method I use (Hanson) limits their long runs to 16 miles because of that exact research you cited. As a slower runner, I've always been concerned about injury if I run over 3 hours. Knock on wood, no injuries yet. Congrats on marathon #2! I can't believe you only got a few weeks notice!

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    1. Thank you :)
      I feel like i needed the 20 miler the 2st time but now I totally get the concept of 16 miles. I really agree and wouldn't run over in training 3 hours ever!

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  13. First, congrats on accepting the challenge and doing so well! Second, I have no advice on marathons! My body is just not up for one. ;-)

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    1. Thank you :) It took me a long time before I even considered doing that distance again. It is a beast.
      I am not still not sure my feet were up!

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  14. Wow! I am so impressed, Karen! I can't imagine running a full marathon without some dedicated training the months leading up to it, but a good frame of mind is essential. I bet you're still beaming about that PR. I would be. :)

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    1. Thank you :) I am still riding the high! I just felt like it was the right call for some reason, now I am just praying I have no lingering issues from being a nut LOL so far so good, but I have only run once since.

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