Monday 14 August 2017

The big dirty 37k

Pretty amazing race today, as I'm heading out for the last and longest run of my training before the M-Day.

According to most training plans, it's not wise to run more than 32k when preparing for a marathon. In the end, you are not better prepared and you take more risks of getting injured. I agree with that, but only if you see the marathon as the ultimate goal, a race where you'll give all you have before resting for a few weeks.

In my case, I want the marathon to be just another step on my way to the ultra, and I consider it a long run... Just a bit longer and harder than usual! I intend to keep on running and prepare for a 50k, after a reasonable amount of rest. I am therefore pushing the distance, as I have done until now, following a stepped progression. It's a big step after my 30k and 34k, let's see how it goes.

It's a sunny and windy Sunday, I feel rested and ready. I prepared a nice route that shall bring me up to and along the lake, a variation of my 34k. The path through the forest is delightful. I'm completely alone. Good pace and steady heart rate below 150bpm. I reached the lake after an easy 18k. This time I didn't forget the extra tree shirt, really enjoyable to slip in a fresh one while the other dries on the backpack.

I know the lake banks pretty well, peaceful place full of young couples lazing around and old people sunbathing naked... Better keep your eyes on the trail! The sand makes my progression a bit trickier. I resist the urge to dive into the fresh water. Maybe next time if I don't forget the towel!

Damn it, it's Sunday, stores are closed... I do a break at the train station to buy overpriced water from the machines. Once filled up, I'm heading home. 21k, still 16 to go! My legs start hurting. As said before, my foot seems completely healed, but my calves are not happy! I loose myself in new areas. 
I hit the wall as usual around 30k. I am more than convinced that it's a nutrition issue. At the end of the race, I will have burned more than 2500 calories (enough to fuel a woman's body for a full day). I NEED to catch-up and refuel my body on the go. The 28-32k segment is intense and painful. I do a long stop, forcing myself to eat and drink. 

I feel better already and I cover the last 5k slowly, heartbeat now stuck at 170bpm, which means that I am now running on carbs. This is not good, as my carbs levels are probably dangerously low and my brain feed on them only. If I push the distance without refuelling, I will end up with cramps and my body will refuse to go any further.

I arrive at the train station after a bit more than 37km and 4:40 on the road. Not only is this run the second longest in distance of my life, but it's also the longest in time, as I did 4:17 at my first marathon. I'm exhausted but I'm sure that I could cover the remaining 5k. But that's for the big day in 4 weeks! Because now it's resting time. Bring on the taper madness :)

A few thought I had on the way, to improve my runs:

  • My backpack is way too heavy. It's not really made for running and it's about 3kg once I fill it up with 1,5L of water, food and spare clothing. I'm carrying too much weight around and I have sore shoulder muscles at the end. I'm planning to ask Santa for a super light running backpack. 
  • I'm still working on the ideal (and cheap) drink. I added electrolytes lately but I feel that proteins are a must too.
  • As said, I need to bring real food and high-calories snacks on the road: peanut butter sandwich, avocado, potatoes in olive oil, or the like. Two power bars and a banana surely are not enough to refuel on the way.
  • Finally, I feel that my calves are the first thing to give up on me. I need to train them everyday, skipping rope should help. I'll try it after my vacation.

1 comment:

  1. I received the notification about your post only today, so for the last month of trainings.. keep up the good work and take care of nutrition and your calves!! Looking forward to read about your Marathon story!