Yesterday I did a 6 mile long run, and it sucked every step of the way. I went in with a positive attitude, but that faded pretty quickly as I never found my groove. I was tired, hungry, in pain, and my pace was an entire minute slower than I expected to be. Looking back on it today I had clearly made some serious mistakes going into it. However – I think that there are some great take-aways that I can use to lessen the chance of some things going wrong in the future.
Here are my thoughts as I continue this adventure in completing a half marathon.
1. Six miles is a serious distance. I can usually do 5.5 without an issue, but 6 really deserves respect. Until I’m able to up my mileage more, I need to make sure I really do things right on my long runs. This isn’t a distance I can just knock out in a blink. It is the first distance on my training plan that I really struggle with, and even stepping up as slowly as I am it hasn’t been easy. It was however easier to recover from than when I did 6 last week. I’ll take my wins where I can get them.
2. Get enough sleep the night before. I only had about 6 hours of sleep on Friday night, it was not enough for me to run on. Knowing this alters my schedule for the February racecation, but I’m glad to know now that I need to get a least 8 hours.
3. Eat Breakfast first! To be fair, I did eat. I had a nectarine and a honey stinger waffle – it was not enough. I need to be sure I eat either a bagel with peanut butter, or grab sous vide egg bites and a croissant from Starbucks. Both of these light meals have proven good pre-run food for me. I need to stick with what is working.
4. Make sure your shoes are tied well, and the fit is good. I felt like my feet were flopping around in my shoes for the first 3 miles. I retied them and things got a bit better, I need to be more aware of how my feet feel before I get started.
5. Compression gear is important for me. My back was so tight and I just could not get my hips to loosen up. Because of my size and shape I really need to make sure I’m wearing compression shorts on my long days. It holds everything in place so that the jiggle doesn’t stress out my back and hips. I know this, I was being cranky and didn’t wear compression because of #6. I’ve been injured before because I didn’t wear compression wear, I need to smarten up and just do it no matter how much of a pain it may be.
6. Running while menstruating sucks. There are several biological factors that change throughout a woman’s cycle, check out this article for details. TMI I’m sure, but things were significantly more difficult because I had my period. I am seriously thinking of going on some sort of birth control so that I don’t have this problem for the half marathon.
I’m going to repeat this training week. I don’t feel like I should move up my distance until I can get a good run in at 6 miles. I really REALLY want to do 6 miles in under 2 hours. Actually, I want to be able to do 6.2 in under 2 hours and I think that is my next mini-goal.