On Monday I ran 16 miles, and like every long run I do now, it is the longest run of my life. I'm finding that long runs are different than the running I have done in the past. Here are the top three things I learned along the way on this particular run:
3) When you run for 2 1/2 hours, you should bring something to drink. When I finished I was not sweating and I drank three liters of water within about an hour when I got home.
2) You need to actually eat the food you bring on the run and you should start eating early. By mile 12, I still had ~3/4 of my Clif bar left and I “bonked.” I ate the rest of it and endured the next mile or so, then started to feel better for the last three. I should probably be eating about two of these during a run this long.
1) Donating blood before a long run is a bad idea. I gave the Red Cross a pint of my blood on Saturday and could definitely feel it on my run two days later. My average heart rate was ~20 bpm higher than past runs.
OK, so maybe I didn't actually learn much on the run. I already knew that you should eat, drink during long runs and I know that donating blood prior to an extended physical effort is a bad idea. I guess I'm an active learner. On the bright side, I finished the run with a faster per mile pace than previous runs of eight and 12 miles. I had a chance to see how I would react to some tough times, which I'll likely encounter on Marathon day. I was happy to see I could push through and keep the legs churning. Also, the things that caused the misery are easily modifiable and having experienced them, I won't be making the same mistakes on race day.
I'm still pleased with the results of my program, so I'll keep to the plan and see how I do with 20-22 miles in three weeks.