I left the house at about 7:30 this morning, dressed in a couple of layers over my sunblock-slathered arms, neck and shoulders. See? I do learn from my mistakes - once in a while. ;) I had mapped out my run last night. It was not an easy route. Leaving from our house, down the old highway which is basically a series of mild up and downhills for about 6 miles. Then it levels out as the route goes through town for the next 9-10 miles. That was when the wind was at it's absolute worst, at least today. At times, I felt like it was pushing me backwards. Once I was back out of town and up against the foothills, I took a little out and back jaunt of about 4 miles, up towards the mountains. Obviously, that was a pretty tough section for me, as my legs were starting to fatigue as I was trying to go uphill. Then back down the hill, and out to the road that would take me back home. Portneuf Rd. is filled with hills - big hills. Apparently I like a challenge. ;)
(I took this right before I headed up the mountain road. See off in the distance, where the mountains converge in a small valley? The freeway runs through there, and it's called The Portneuf Gap. I love running the gap! Incidentally, that's Pocatello Marathon's tagline: "Running the Gap!")
Despite the fact that my legs felt a bit achy and tired before I even started running today, I was able to stick with my 4 minute running, 1 minute walking ratio for the entire time. I finished the 26.21 miles in 5 hours, 22 minutes. That's an average pace of 12:18 minutes per mile. I am pretty excited about that time, for a training run.
Some of you may be wondering why I ran the full marathon distance as a training run. Well, I trained for and ran my first two marathons in a "traditional" way, basically running as much as I could and only walking when absolutely necessary. I developed many different injuries, and despite logging TONS of miles, I never really got any faster. I was feeling over-trained and even though I enjoyed running and training, I was starting to get burned out. I came across a method of training for and running marathons/half marathons developed by former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway. I read several of his books, and decided to give his method a try. What it boils down to is adding short walk breaks to your runs right from the beginning. This way you "re-set" your leg muscles before they start to get overly fatigued, making it possible for the average runner to not only run longer distances, but shortening the recovery time after long runs considerably. I am still not a super fast runner, but even with the walking breaks (I usually use a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio), my times on long runs and races are improving over what I was doing before. And...other than some minor issues I've talked about before, i.e. black toenails and mild muscle soreness, I haven't had any injuries since starting to add the walk breaks, and can more or less get on with normal daily activities after a long run, which is much better than being so sore I could barely go up and down the stairs for days, as it was before. For all you skeptics out there, yes, you can still call yourself a runner (and marathoner) even if you take walk breaks - and your body will thank you for it. :)
My running mentor/friend recently sent me the Run/Walk/Run Interval Timer used by Jeff Galloway:
There's a lot more I could say about using the Galloway method to train for distance running, but honestly, I can't say it any better than Jeff himself does in all of his books. If any of you want to learn more about it, I would highly recommend starting with his book, "Marathon: You Can Do It!"
Question: What have you done to realize you can do hard things?
P.S. This is what recovery looks like: CEP Compression Socks. Mmmmm. :)