First 18-mile Run For This Training Cycle

Today I completed my first 18-mile run for this marathon training cycle. It's been almost a year since my last 18-mile run during my training for the St. Louis marathon.

I did the 18 miles in very tough conditions: 10 degrees wind chill and slushy/icy pavement. But I got the run in at an average pace of 9:51 per mile.

Given the conditions, I'm happy with the time. Two of my fastest miles were the last two miles. I was tired afterwards, but I feel I've recovered well.

I do believe that the long runs get easier and you recover faster the more years you do long runs. Certainly, I could have bagged this run given the weather and told myself I'll make it up later, but mentally I stayed strong. I made myself get out there and get this run in. I feel great for having completed it.

I'm hoping for much better weather on my next long run of 20 miles.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
As a veteran of 13 marathons, my most successful ones were the ones where I completed the full distance (a running buddy and I actually ran a nine lap, 3-mile loop) during a training run about 4 - 6 weeks before the actual target race - just a long, slow distance training ran slower than our intended race pace. I also adopted a technique gleaned from a famous marathoner, Jeff Galloway - walking breaks. ( I took these walking breaks during both the training runs and even during the actual race (I would slow to a walk as I approached the water table). Now, I'm not talking about multiple-minute breaks - more like 30-45 seconds or just long enough to get all the water I felt I needed down. During the first race I tried this technique; I worried that I would lose too much time, so I had to force myself to fight the urge to run through a water station. What I ultimately found was that out at around the 20-mile mark, while those around me seemed to be struggling, my legs were still very much game to finish those last 6 miles - in fact, my legs felt well enough to blow past many runners in those final 2 -3 miles.

As mentioned above, running the full distance during a training run is strongly encouraged. There's simply no better way of preparing your legs (even your psyche) than to have run the total distance during practice. I ran earlier marathons where my longest training run was 20 - 21 miles, and those last miles during a race were still miserable. I came to believe that my muscles had "muscle-memory" of about 4 - 6 weeks - meaning that whatever my longest run had been within the last 4 - 6 weeks was what I felt very comfortable in repeating during an actual marathon race.

I wish you much success with your running and racing. Good luck.

Mike :-)
# Posted By Mike Givens | 1/15/07 6:54 AM

Thanks for the advice. I am debating going longer than I've previously done in my training runs. This will be my third marathon. Typically, I've completed 4-6 20-21 mile runs prior to the marathon. I've not tried going further in training. But in both my previous marathons I struggled from 22 miles on.
# Posted By Bruce | 1/15/07 4:45 PM
I've noticed that my muscles also seem to have a memory ... kind of like batteries when you charge them after not letting them fully drain. I ran 18 miles today in preparation for Boston in April - this has been my longest run thus far but I do find it amazing that as I blew past my previous longest run markers I saw a marked difference in labor. Hopefully but the time April comes around, 18 will seem like child's play. When I did 8 for the first time I couldn't believe it; when I did 14 I couldn't believe how eay 8 was ... now I run 8 on a regular day. There is definitly something to this thing about your body remembering the threshold. Thanks for the advice on the walk breaks ... I've actually been doing a bit of that - glad to hear that someone who's been around has been employing that.
# Posted By Emmet | 3/4/07 5:28 PM
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