20 Mile Long Run: FAIL

Yesterday I did my 20 mile long run. Well, it was supposed to be 20 mile long run. But what I ended up doing was more like 15 mile run plus 5 mile recovery walk.

TLDR version: I ended up running the first 15 miles at the slower pace than December 20-miler, and started walking from Mile 16. My legs were not ready to move. Need to rest more, and do more slow runs.

I’ve been watching many training videos recently. Some talking about the need for hill running, some talking about the need for interval training, and yet others touting the need for tempo runs. I watched them all. And more I watched, more I felt that I needed to go out there and do more runs.

So this week, I did about 34.8 miles total. Tuesday was treadmill run, Wednesday was tempo run, Thursday was interval training, and Friday was hill running. And I went out Sunday morning to do my 20 miler.

It was okay until 13 miles. I held my pace at 8:34 mins/mile. A little slower than usual, but still within range. But after 15 mile, I just had no willpower to continue running. I just did not feel like running any more. So I walked.

Once I started walking, my legs were getting used to the walking pace, and there was no more motivation to finish the run. My legs were sending distress signals, and I had no mental fortitude to override the fatigue.

I ended up finishing 20 miles in 9:11 mins/mile pace. It took 3:04:15

Just as a comparison, it took 2:59:25 to do 20 miles back in December 19, 2015. And it was not done in a good condition either. It rained quite heavy at times during the run. Yet yesterday was total failure.

After the run, I felt totally dejected. I trained harder, but my records were getting worse.

Could I have been overtraining?

Now that I look back, I think it’s combination of a few things.

  1. Yes, I think I overtrained. All the training videos that I watched was made by professional runners in their early to mid 20’s. Just about 20 years younger than I am. Let’s see: I’m not professional runner, I am in my 40’s, and I have been doing long runs for about 4 months now. No wonder I cannot keep up with those pros who finish marathon under 3 hrs.
  2. I should have run more easy runs. I’m now starting to see other running coaches talking about the benefits of doing lots of easy runs. In fact there are lots of coaches who advocate 80:20 rules. 80% of all runs should be easy runs, where heart rate is no more than 60% of max heart rate. Only about 20% of the runs should be tempo, interval or hill training. I haven’t done nearly enough easy runs.
  3. I should have eaten way better. When I did my long run in the morning, I didn’t have a gel to start out. Now that I think back to my December 20 miler, I remember taking a gel before heading out. I should remember to eat a gel before starting, and even better, I should take time to eat something before the long run.

So the verdict is to eat better, rest more, and do more easy runs.

Will that be enough to do my 3:40-or-under marathon goal? Not sure.

Soon, we’ll find out. 🙂



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