Firing on all cylinders!

I went on what was supposed to be a 20 mile run. I originally planned on starting out from the house and running along Marine Drive out to I-205 and over the I-205 bridge into Washington and back. But that’s a pretty boring run; flat, but boring. So I decided to make it a little more challenging by starting out from my house, over the Broadway Bridge, to the Leif Erickson trailhead, and into the Leif Erickson trail however many miles I needed to make it 20. But as I got a few miles into Leif Erickson I realized I would only get a 3 hour run with only 20 miles. I was feeling good so I decided to push for 22. That 22 turned into 23, which I calculated would get me a 3.5 hour run.

It was such a great run! No wall. 4 gels. Less than I thought I would need for a 20+ miler and still feel as good as I did. I could have gone for another mile or two. I really could have pushed for a full marathon distance today. I felt that good. I’m writing this 15 minutes after getting back home and there’s no soreness, no stiffness, nothing hurts! How did this happen???

A couple of theories:

  1. I’m learning to slow down on the long runs. Instead of trying to do them at marathon goal pace, I’m really trying to slow down to 1:00/mile slower.
  2. For the 5 weeks I’ve been doing weekly hill repeats. Not so much repeats, but sustained hill running maxing at 3 reps with the longest section being 1.5 miles. Most of these on Saltzman Road. My leg strength feels improved.
  3. For about a month I’ve been doing medium-long runs (8-16 miles, 1-2 hours) without taking any calories on the run and trying limit calorie intake before. I forget where I got this idea from (McMillan? Hansons? I dunno). The idea is to train the muscles to experience stress under a calorie deficit so they “know” how to function on an empty tank. The theory makes sense to me, but I make sure to take an emergency gel when I do these runs just in case. On a related note, since this was planned as a 20 miler and I wanted to train my gut to tolerate gels on the run, I took a mixed bag of gels with me. All 3 brands I had really seemed to pack a punch, more than usual, so I think there might be something to this theory. As far as taste, the Hammer vanilla was the best. I didn’t care for Carb BOOM! and I still can’t decide if I like Clif Shots or not (they’re pretty solid so you have to warm a packet in your hand for a minute).
  4. I’m also doing tempo runs at a faster pace. While I was in Vancouver BC I ran 11 mile loops around the Stanley Park seawall on 3 separate days, each one faster than the previous one. On the last day I even managed to put in a couple of sub-7:00 back-to-back miles!

Update: I just got out of the shower. Guess what? No chafing! No blisters or new calluses either! Man, I need to buy some lottery tickets.

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