The Longer The Run . . .

We are approaching that time in the marathon training process where the long runs are getting to what some people call “ridiculously long”. Runners, on the other hand, see it as a challenge to overcome. But, as the miles increase, the kinks in your training armor start to show and can lead you down the road to injury or failure if you’re not careful and take the necessary precautions.

Our running group is starting to see the effects of this, as some of our members are struggling through injuries. Most times, injuries can be contributed to either lack of stretching, or poor form. Both of these are essential for a successful run, and especially when you run long distances.

Saturday, our group was scheduled to run three hours. I met Chuck at the park, and after stretching, we took off on our run. We were the only ones there. After a couple of miles, we had to make a quick pit stop, and when we resumed running we found Doug on the trail. He had gotten to the park a little late, and was going to run alone. But as fate would have it, we “ran” into each other and the trio was set.

As we ran, I wondered why there was a lack of members at the start. I know that it’s summer, and there are plenty of family activities to keep oneself busy, but marathon training seldom takes a break. While it’s better to be undertrained that overtrained, it still helps to know that you can complete most of the distance without too much of a struggle. I would not want to walk up to the start of a marathon having only run 15 miles as my longest run.

Chuck and Doug did a great job with their runs, and we finished just a little early at 2:48:39. We went a distance of 15.75 miles! We averaged 10:04 per mile. I thought that was pretty good, and going into next weeks run where it’s 3:15, I’m thinking that the magical 20 mile run is getting close. If they continue at this pace, it will be time to do a pre-marathon route run so they can get a feel for what will be waiting for them in October.

I know a few other runners in our group are doing well, but they had to run on other days so they could meet commitments. I also know that a few are fighting injuries, but it seems a few are missing. I hope they haven’t given up, because it’s pretty awesome to cross that finish line and forever be called a marathoner. But that comes at a price; you have to dedicate yourself to the training, or the finish line will never come. I hope this was just a bad week, and that everyone is ready to go again next weekend. Because if not, the kinks in the armor will show up pretty quickly, and no one wants that.

I cannot stress enough how essential it is to stretch to warm up the muscles before a run, and to stretch after a run. Foam rollers, and even ice baths are a runners friend, even if it feels exactly the opposite! It helps to prevent injuries, and helps the body recover quicker. Trust me, I hate cold baths, but I take one after a long run. I also have a love/hate relationship with my foam roller. It is a necessary evil, if you will, but one that helps me recover from the abuse I put my body through, and prepare it for the next round.

And the next round of long runs is coming! I can’t wait!!

Live healthy, be happy!


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