I don’t mind the rain. I don’t mind cloudy days, cold days, and the typical weather we get in these early months of 2017 here in Portland, Oregon. Some days, when I just feel like relaxing at home with some Netflix or a book, I’m grateful for the gray skies seem to give me permission to sit inside. This winter, however, has been brutal. Whether it’s a snow storm that shuts the city down for days or the bouts of illness, this winter has totally messed up any regularity in my running schedule.
This week was no exception.
On Monday, I got a great 9-mile run in. By great, I don’t mean that I PR’d every segment on Strava, I just felt revived. After more time than I’d ever like spend trying not to fall on my ass from ice and mud, it was nice to get a run in on a relatively normal Wildwood. Thank goodness for the nice folks that volunteer their time, clearing the trail. It’s pretty amazing the difference from the week before when my friend and I were slipping and sliding through every mile. Each mile flew by and I felt like I was back in the game.
Then my eye infection came back, and the doctor ordered no work and no running to give the antibiotics time to do their thing. Work obligations crept up as well, and I didn’t make it back out until today.
The long run.
I’ve heard numerous coaches and elite runners emphasize the importance of making sure to grind out the long run, even if your other runs fall by the wayside. I’m on week 4 of the Sage Running 50-mile plan. As you just read, I only made it out for the 9-miler. It was discouraging that I couldn’t make it out for the other three runs my plan mapped out, but I stayed true to the long run.
I must say, keeping up the long run left me feeling great, and any negative feelings I had about missing other runs was gone. I got 18-miles in and I’m feeling pretty good as I write this. I’m planning on trying to make up one of the runs with a good ole’ road run in my Hoka’s.
I feel pretty good about the time and minute per mile. It’s been a long time since I’ve run this far, so I was nervous in the beginning. I was also doing a cardinal sin: trying new nutrition on a long run (I’ll talk about that in a second). I started out slow, but was able to pick up speed after the first mile. There was not a ton of elevation gain, as you can see, but that was just fine with me. I wasn’t trying to set some sort of speed record, just wanted to find a decent pace so I could finish the run not feeling destroyed.
I think I should have taken the first five miles a bit slower than I did. I didn’t feel wasted by the end, but my legs were a little more spent than I would have liked. The last two miles were a bit more difficult to maintain, but overall, I was pleased with the effort. Next time I’m going to move a little bit slower and give myself a few more breaks. I think I only stopped twice on this run.
The real winner was Tailwind Nutrition! I’d heard many elites who suffer GI distress during their races or runs swear by Tailwind. It’s a very inoffensive powder that you add to any water you may be carrying on your run. A couple of scoops in my hydration pack and I kept my fingers crossed it would work. Nutrition intake during a run has always been a struggle for me. If it’s a run over two hours, my stomach is going to feel like a brick. Happy to report that nothing like this happened. Because every sip of water was a dose of Trailwind, I was killing two birds with one stone. Each sip provided hydration, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to keep me moving. If you have stomach problems on the long runs or races, give Tailwind a try. I plan on using it on all long runs.
So, the moral of this post: If you miss a couple days on your training plan, don’t beat yourself up and drop the whole week. Do the best you can, and if you have to ration your time, give yourself a few hours for the long run.