Each training cycle I do at least one run where I run for time, not distance. This teaches my body to be out running for a long time, but also teaches me how to pace myself. It does not matter how fast I run, or how many miles I complete, the time on the clock is the time on the clock. I can not speed it up by running faster. In order to ensure that I will be able to run for the specific amount of time I want to run for, I need to pace myself.
Saturday I was feeling good, so I decided a couple of miles in to my run that I would make it a timed run if I still felt good at 13. If I did not then it would be a 18 – 20 miler.
I build in lots of long runs into my training program to allow myself to be able to make last minute decisions about my runs based on how my body feels.
I often get asked how I avoid injuries. I have never had an injury sideline me. It is my firm belief that this is because I listen to my body. I do not take painkillers before, during or after a run. I use any twinge, any bit of pain to tell me what my body needs. Does it feel tired? Run less miles? Slow down the miles? Does it feel too rested? Increase mileage? Pick up the pace? Do my arches hurt? Should I ice? Should I switch out my Superfeet? Do my IT bands bother me? Are my shoes causing me to pronate too much outward? I listen to each and every sign my body sends me. When it is not happy I back off and push it less.
At mile 13 I felt tired, but strong. At that point I decided I was going for my timed run and would run for 3:10 minutes. My goal marathon time for the fall [if you want to read more about this click to read Here's My Dream Josh Cox].
In all I ran 23 miles in 3:11. I was tempted REALLY REALLY REALLY tempted to run 3.2 more miles and finish a marathon, alone on a random Saturday morning, but I held back. IT WAS HARD.
What I learned on this run is that the long miles quiet my overactive mind. I am in love with miles. I want more and more and more. If I did not have kids – I would race all the time. I would run long runs for the heck of it.
It has been decided and so I am laying it out there: I WILL RUN AN ULTRA ONE DAY and it will be sooner rather than later. [thank.you.emz]
On a related note I ran in my NEW Saucony Shadow Genesis and they are pure bliss. I am a shoe snob and literally NOT one single complaint after running 23 miles in them. They are $80 of awesomeness. If you are neutral, check them out. Gear review on them coming soon…..