Grand Rapids Marathon – 6!!!

SIX WEEKS! This marathon thing is starting to feel very real and I can’t seem to decide if that is a good thing or the worst thing ever. It is extra crazy to think that of those 6 weeks, 3 weeks will be spent tapering and 1 week will be focused on racing a half marathon, which really only leaves 2 real “normal” weeks of training.

A couple weeks ago I put in an amazing 20 mile run and was starting to feel confident that I was ready for the full 26.2 miles. This week I struggled through my 20 miler and was left feeling like the marathon is going to be a disaster. I’m glad that I still have one more 20 mile run scheduled, because I have a few ideas about what went wrong this weekend and will have a chance to test my theories.

First of all, it was much hotter this weekend than it was a couple weekends ago. Plus it was hot all week leading up to my long run. I think that the weather took more out of me than I realized and I went into the long run extra fatigued. Fortunately it is extremely unlikely that the forecast will be showing 90s in October in Michigan (the average high for race day is 59), so I shouldn’t need to worry about the heat for the race.

The second issue might have been due to poor fueling leading up to Sunday. For my first 20 miler I was very careful about what I ate on Saturday and made sure to eat a healthy pasta filled lunch. This weekend I didn’t really pay attention to what I was eating and had Chinese takeout for lunch and nachos for dinner. Carbs: yes; remotely healthy: no. I needed a bathroom break about 10 miles into my run and about 13 miles into my run I was starving.

I managed another couple decent miles and then really struggled the last 5 miles. So many times I told myself to keep my chin up and hold it together. I just wanted to sit down and cry. Looking at my Garmin data, my splits for these miles aren’t terrible, only about 15-30s slower that I would have liked. I am really pleased that I didn’t give up and call for a ride home. I know that the marathon is going to be difficult and I need to try to be ready to for it.

Monday 8/31
rest day

Tuesday 9/1
Distance: 7.0 with 7 strides
Pace: 9:20

Wednesday 9/2
Distance: 11.0
Pace: 9:46

I was hoping to run 7 miles at HMP, but it was just too hot. I decided to start at goal marathon pace and try to work my way down to half pace over the course of the run. After a two mile warm up I managed the following splits: 8:47, 8:47, 8:36, 8:22. After those 4 fast-ish miles I was done. I couldn’t even keep moving at a slow jog. I walked for a few minutes and then for another few minutes. Eventually I was able to get running again, but I kept it slow and easy.

Thursday 9/3
rest day

Friday 9/4
Distance: 12.0
Pace: 9:24

Saturday 9/5
Distance: 5.0
Pace: 10:01

Sunday 9/6
Distance: 20.25
Pace: 9:54*

*Average pace includes a bathroom break at mile 10 and a short break around mile 17 while I messed with my watch. If I were to remove those breaks, my pace would have been 9:45.

Total: 55.25 miles

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9 thoughts on “Grand Rapids Marathon – 6!!!

  1. I think we've all been there with a bad run, and thinking it will mess up our race. But- just remember that it's one bad run, and think about all your thousands of other miles that went into training! Plus, you finished the run even if it wasn't the best. You did it, and you're going to do great on race day!

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  2. My period of tiem off from hard training has really allowed me to “zoom out” and see some things I couldn't see before, and the biggest thing I've realized is that we runners tend to read way way way too much in to one single workout. We get cocky after a really good run, and we let one bad run make us feel completely discouraged. But the reality is, workouts are just workouts. One workout really doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things, other than that you were having a good (or bad) day.

    It's good that you are trying to learn from what went wrong, but try not to overanalyze and assign so much meaning to any one particular day. Go back and look through all of your training to remind yourself how hard you've worked and all you've put in so far. Your marathon is the sum of all that. You're doing a REALLY good job in your training, probably the best out of most running bloggers I follow. Just keep going, and take each day in stride. You got this!

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  3. You are right I need to be looking at the big picture of my training and try not to get too caught up on one particularly awesome or terrible run.

    And THANK YOU SO MUCH for reminding me how hard I've been working and for saying that my training is going so well. You are the best 🙂

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  4. Your training has been so impressive, I really think you are going to have an amazing marathon debut. I think you've had more solid long runs than ones you've felt mild disappointment in.

    I am sure that the weather and your fueling situation played a big part in your long run this past weekend. I know if I don't fuel right even a medium length long run can feel like a death march.

    I know it's easier said than done, but don't stress too much. You have put in so much hard work – you will definitely be prepared come race day!

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