Lessons from my crappy 20 miler!

20 milesIt’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!

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