This weekend called for a 20 mile training run as I prepare for my marathon. I knew from the start that instead of 20 miles, I'd actually be running 21 miles. It was a mind game that I played with myself and it turns out, I was right, and I won. 

Before I get into the specifics of my training run on Saturday, let me explain something. I think I've been confusing people on Twitter. I posted on Saturday after my run that I had just completed my 21 mile Honolulu Marathon Training run and I was excited. A Twitter follower of mine replied and assumed that the marathon was 2-3 weeks away. It's not. The Honolulu Marathon is 6 Weeks away. But it is my big race this season so I tweet about it a lot and HELLO! It's freaking Hawaii!!!! However, I am running another marathon 3 weeks before it here in Tulsa. So really, I'm following my training plan leading up to the Route 66 Marathon so I'll be ready for it in time and then I'll rest a little after that and run maybe one more longish run before I taper off again for Honolulu. 

Now that we've cleared that up, back to how I survived the 21 mile run...

I Was Mentally in the Game

When I woke up Saturday morning at 5:00 AM I told myself repeatedly and out loud that I was going to run 20+ miles, I was going to have a good run, and that I could do it. You can even ask the Hubbo because as I was sitting on the floor foam rolling my legs before we left, he could hear me saying it out loud to myself. I needed to do this because I didn't do it for the Tulsa Run last week and I suffered. While this training cycle has had it's ups and downs, I've had very few long runs that I would call great or even good. I had a great 15 miler and a great 21 miler. The rest, I would say I survived for one reason or another. Being in the game mentally, was a huge help this weekend on my long run. 

My Nutrition Was Good

I'll never say that my nutrition was great because it's something I struggle with, but leading up to my long run, everything I ate this week focused on running 20+ mile run. My nutrition was pretty on point this week and especially the night before the run. Even though it was Friday night AND Halloween, the Hubbo and I stuck to our meal plan and our bodies thanked us for it on Saturday morning. That means, no alcohol, very little sugar (1 cookie) no other junk like pizza or chips and dip. We did go to a Halloween party for about 90 minutes, but we ate our usual pre-run dinner (grilled chicken, brown rice or quinoa, and avocado) before we left the house so we'd be less tempted to consume party goodies. 

I Played Mind Games with Myself

First, I tried not to look at my watch too much. I know that can be hard but I really tried to focus on the conversation with my friends and others in my running group. I even ran next to new people for a few miles for a new conversation opportunity. 

Second, after we reached the 10 mile mark, and I started to countdown how many miles I had left, I'd add an extra mile. So for example, if we were at the 10 mile mark, I told myself I had 11 mile left not 10. It was a good thing too because we ended up with 21 miles on the dot!
I had to do this because I know that it is typical for my group to run .5 or .75 miles longer than what's on the schedule. Sometimes it just happens. But in my mind, when I'm focused on stopping at mile 10 and we are still half a mile away from the car, the last half mile can be a real bitch because I didn't mentally prepare. This time, I knew we'd be going over and I was okay with it from the start.

Last, I kept telling myself that I'd have to run longer on race day. Meaning that even though I ran 1 more mile than I was "scheduled" to run, really on race day, I'd be running about a 10k longer than my longest training run and what's one more mile at that point? 

I Had a Secret Weapon

Well, not really a secret weapon. It's not a secret that I run with music. My "weapon" was that I didn't allow myself to put my music in until we had less than 5 miles left. I ended up only listening to about 3-4 songs total and only put it in when we had less than 4 miles to go. 

I Knew What To Expect

My running club is good about sending out not only our training plan so we'll know what to run each day, but also we get a map of our upcoming long run. I also get weekly emails from my coaches telling us how we did on our long run along with running tips and articles. So when the email came out earlier this week with the map attached for our 20 mile run, I looked it and studied it. I knew that we would hit 20 miles before we got back to our starting point. I thought it was only going to be about half a mile, but knowing my group (we like to take wrong turns :)) I knew we'd end up with close to 21 or more. Which is why I started playing mind games with myself early on with  my mileage count down. 

I Have Awesome Running Buddies

While we aren't very good at taking group pics, we always have a good time during our runs. There isn't one person that I can't run along side and strike up a conversation with. That distraction can be so helpful sometimes during some hard miles. 
My core group within my group that I usually run next to had a great time talking about Halloween, concerts, kids, dates, and race strategy. We are also happy to report that we have a solid race plan in place for the Route 66 marathon in a few weeks. So glad I have Tara and Suzy to help entertain me during these long runs! 

Question! How do you make it through your long runs?



11/03/2014 6:22pm

This run proves just how much of a fluke that Tulsa run was. You're doing great. I think you will kill both those marathons. I don't wanna sound like the weird guy but I've never run with other people (except one specific time) It sounds great to be able to just talk and think about other things. I just listen to music the whole way.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
11/04/2014 9:10pm

Thanks Frank! I don't know how you do it! I would go crazy!

11/04/2015 12:49pm

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11/03/2014 10:09pm

I've trained for marathons with and without a training group, and running with a group is SO much better! I trained with a group for the Chicago Marathon last year and it made all the difference in the world, especially the 20-miler! Good luck!

RunGingerRun - Sarah
11/04/2014 9:12pm

Thanks Mike! I agree. A running group or running buddy is where it's at!

11/04/2014 7:30am

You're a beast!! You are going to do awesome in Hawaii. Any chance I can fit into your carry on and you sneak me there :) I am so jealous that you are doing that race. Take lots of pics.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
11/04/2014 9:15pm

LoL. Thanks Shaun! We can sure try to pack you in my carry on! :)

11/06/2014 10:51am

That training group sure sounds amazing! ;) Those are some excellent mind game tips. Thanks for sharing.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
11/10/2014 4:40pm

They are pretty great! :) Couldn't have made it this far without them!

11/07/2014 10:23am

Great job out there training. I eventually plan to do a marathon (well, 3 actually: WDW, MCM and NYC) but can't wrap my head around that long of a run. Of course, I couldn't wrap my head around it either when I started training for my half.

Before I did my longest, 14 mile, training run it was all about planning my route out, making sure I had music and getting up and hydrated early. It helped that I was on vacation in Myrtle Beach so the scenery was wonderful. After I got past the commercial part, I also got to see a bunch of awesome beach front houses for sale, so I daydreamed a little about owning one of them to help pass the time. I hadn't yet discovered the awesomeness that is Nuun, which would have only made it better.

RunGingerRun - Sarah
11/10/2014 4:42pm

Thanks John! Training for those longs runs is definitely more mental than anything.
Can't wait to follow your training as you prepare for your first 3 marathons! You picked some good ones!

01/04/2015 9:04am

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10/04/2015 12:52pm

Marathon Training Run is always the best for the athletes to get more training and energy for the final run. you are good in writing and maintaining this blog and there are other athletes getting benefit with your writing.

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