It’s always such a relief to get the first 20 miler of a marathon training cycle done! Finished my first one for Twin Cities Marathon 2016 yesterday. It was ugly. The first 10 miles were great. And then I hit the wall. At 10 miles!? I could not move. My pace slowed. My legs were heavy. But I powered through and finished at exactly 20 miles, not a step further.
I’m a Type A runner (aren’t most of us?) and like to learn from each run, particularly the bad ones. So here’s what I figured out:
- I was severely dehydrated post run. I had lost 3 pounds during the run and felt ill. Looking back, I should have forced myself to drink more fluid from the beginning. I didn’t plan the route very well and only had my hand-held water bottle with me. I ran out about mile 7 and didn’t have a stop planned until mile 11. So I went about 5 miles without fluids – and those miles were early miles so probably critical to get the fluid in. When I refilled, I was already dehydrated and it made it hard for me to stomach even water. So I ran the last 9 miles with just one more water bottle. Blah.
- Pace: I went out at 9:15 pace and decided it felt ok (my goal marathon pace would be about 8:50, if I’m going for a BQ again!), so tried to stick with it. It actually felt good until the dehydration issues. But in retrospect, since it was the first 20 miler of the cycle, I probably should have started out slower, like a 9:30 pace, and just been happy with that.
- Sleep. I stayed up too late. With 20 milers, I should treat them more like race day and get to sleep early. They are too tough to do on too little sleep!
Even with it being a crappy 20 miler, I am SO grateful to have the legs to be able to run it. The legs are feeling great! Moving on!