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…..


  1. Soooooo. Happy. Here.

    You'll. Rock. It. [duh].
    You'll. Love. It.

    I loved this: "..in love with miles" yes. Me. Too.

  2. What a cool post! You almost ran a marathon out there! :) Great pace. I see an ultra in your future and I can't wait to read all about it.

  3. enthusiasticrunner.com says:

    AWESOME!! It makes me want to run 23 miles right now! (…maybe that's because I am at work too)

  4. You are fast girl. I hope someday I cant say I like to run my long runs solo. I love having some one to talk to. Than I dont think about the miles so much.Your totallly ready to do an ultra girl. Love those rad colored saucomy shoes. I have the kinvara 2, love them.

  5. wow superstar – nice work! The running for time is a really really good idea – I might just have to incorporate that into one of my long training weeks!

  6. SupermomE12 says:

    Love you! You are the greatest. And those shoes are SWEET. that's all. :)

  7. So did you pick to run for 3:11 because it's your goal time or just because? Just curious based on the whole idea of being on your feet for your goal time which I have seen in other training plans.

    I REALLY like that idea of running for time every once in a while because its SO true that you can't speed it up no matter how fast you run. I might have to try this :)

  8. Sounds great. I've never done it, but I can see the benefits. I am impressed by your long runs times. We are both in marathon training but your times are much faster than mine. I am aiming for a 3:15, and you a 3:10, right? Can you tell us what program you are following?

  9. I'm going to try those beauties. nice run time!

  10. Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog says:

    I love the shoes, such awesome colors, and AWESOME mileage for the time, you are going to rock that marathon!

  11. runthelongroad.com says:

    Very interesting – I will have to try that some time!

    I have been running injury-free for the past 10 years simply because I listen to my body. I notice everything and make adjustments along the way.

  12. Gracie (Complicated Day) says:

    I've never done a timed run before but I think I should; honestly I spend way too much time thinking about distance or pace for someone as slow as myself 😉 Although I WILL run a 3:10 someday as well! Maybe not this year but next!
    Thanks for the shoe tip – I love the wide toe box on Saucony's so I'll have to check them out. $80 isn't too bad, either.

  13. Racingtales - Alison Gittelman says:

    Awesome! And all alone! You are going to love the ultra…lots of alone time. I ran at least 10 miles of Capon Valley without seeing a soul.

  14. Great job on the run AND on listening to your body. That is just soooo important :)

  15. Stephanie says:

    wooow so awesome. i love your perspective on things. not everyone can do this! seriously! that is awesome that you want to do an ultra. have u looked at the speaker series for northface, dean k. is speaking. r u doing philly or mcm or neither…i forget already sorry!

  16. Zaneta (Runner's Luck) says:

    from my perspective… your time run rocked!! :)
    you're my hero for wanting to do an ultra… I still haven't run more than 13.1 miles! lol… in a couple weeks i'll be at 14! :) Hopefully i'll be ready for my full in october! lol..
    LOVE the shoes by the way! :)

  17. ooooh, do an ultra! They're a LOT of fun and a completely different mentality than marathons or shorter races. You're just out there to run and have fun, eat as much as you can at the aid stations and make friends along the course!

  18. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Racingtales – not totally alone :) – I was able to catch up to 3 runners after mile 4 (hence the mile in the 7's) – ran with them for 2 and then met up with a group and ran 7 miles with another runner! That being said I'm used to running alone on long runs (even though I find it seems longer when you are alone!)

  19. Rebecca Samson says:

    I totally can see you running and ultra!

  20. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Katie M – The training paces for my runs are a 3:10 goal marathon. My 8K and mile time predict around a 3:13 but that being said I will be happy with anything under a 3:20…so really if I PR I will be happy end of story :)

    As for a training plan goes….I'm a coach so I coach myself(when I'm in doubt I ask the coach of Capital Area Runners for advice, since I can be somewhat stubborn). I come up with my own training programs and change them every single season so my body never gets used to what I'm doing. There are some key workouts, like tempos that remain the same, I just run them faster now.

  21. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Stephanie – I'm signed up for Marine Corps Marathon, it will be my 6th time running it. I am secretly or not so secretly targeting my training for Columbus Marathon, I just have to convince my husband to let me fly out there and run it.

    I've done Philly in the past and loved it!

  22. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Aron – I picked to run for 3:10 because it's my goal time. Being that I'm a geek and really don't like ending in the middle of a mile I ran 3:11 so it was a full 23 miles. I didn't start doing the timed runs until I ran a 3:31 marathon.

    I personally think if someone plans on running a 4 hour marathon or longer, running that long in training beats your body up wayyyyy too much to benefit you in the actual race. I think the longer a person has been running injury free the easier on your body it is doing long runs that are beyond the 20 mile distance. That being said I highly recommend them for working on pacing and for someone who is targeting a 3:30 marathon or faster. I have NO idea if there is any science behind this. I am just saying this on my personal experiences and what I would tell someone if they were asking me if they should try this.

    Before B & A my timed run was 3:00 because I simply didn't think it was a good idea to attempt to run for 3:25 which at the time was my goal. I ended up running a 3:21 in that marathon.

    Hope that helps!!

  23. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Penny – I do most of my training in the Kinvara 2 and love it also!! I used to train only in the Ride's but then slowly (over a year) worked my way up to running in the Kinvara's full time. GREAT SHOE!

  24. merrymishaps says:

    I've heard coaches tell people (especially slower runners) they don't need to run more than 3 hours when marathon training. Like you said in a comment above, it's too hard on the body.

    That said, it takes me about 3:30 to run 20 miles on a decent training day, and I definitely like to get a few of those in there. I like the idea of running for time … but I won't run for marathon goal time. I'm too slow for that!

    (First marathon, we trained to 24 miles with Galloway run/walk. I'm sure that took over 5 hours. We did fine, but I know I don't need to do that anymore!)

  25. Margs @ Faster Bunny says:

    I know I can't wait to meet you too! Especially because we can talk about Northern VA haha :).
    Anyways, I LOVE this post. I am also really fortunate to almost never be injured (although my weekly mileage is pretty low). While I may just be "built" for running (big ankles haha), I am a firm believer in listening to your body! No one can tell you what to do better than yourself :).
    Anyways, you are a freaking amazing runner (esp with that stroller, holy cow, girl).

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