Marathon Training Week Two: How To Survive Distance Running

Last week’s marathon training was admittedly easy, and I was able to reach 20% of my fundraising goal. The longest distance I was asked to run was 2.5 miles, and I was given a rest day that I in no way earned. Now, after a full week of running, I can say my body and legs will be thanking the heavens for a day to not move. Here’s the blow by blow:

The 10-Mile Run

My ideal style of running is stop-and-go. That’s why sports like baseball, basketball, and racquetball appeal to me. There’s plenty of conditioning needed, but you get plenty of little and refreshing breaks. I can only imagine my parents were thrilled at my youthful enthusiasm for nonstop sports as a kid.

Grass stain, muddy shirt, blood stain, more grass stains.

Grass stain, muddy shirt, blood stain, more grass stains.

Therefore, a straight 10-mile no-stop run, no track or treadmill in sight, and following some light pregaming for a beer pong tournament isn’t exactly the ideal way to spend a Saturday morning. Here are a couple of things I think will help you get through a similar run.

#1 Prep Your Soundtrack

I know actually races don’t allow people to wear headphones, but having upbeat music in your ear can motivate you to keep going or even pick up the pace until you’re ready to do it sans tunes. Speaking of pacing:

#2 Pace Yourself

The crucial part of any long run is to pick a pace you know you can maintain for the duration of the run. The reason a number of people burn out is because they go too hard at the beginning and aren’t able to find a good coasting speed.

#3 Find A Method To Track Your Distance

Without the track or treadmill you could go 10 miles from home and then realize too late, “Oh, crap. I have to run back.” Thankfully, there’s a whole host of pedometer and training apps to help you in your quest. I recommend any app that uses GPS to measure distance rather than steps, the latter being notoriously unreliable.

#4 Find Some Hills

Climbing hills in the middle of 10-mile run can make your muscles burn and legs buckle. Yet, you also need this kind of experience to prepare for a long race. Tracks and treadmills are unnaturally flat surfaces, so if you prepare on nothing but those, your legs won’t be ready to push your weight uphill. Give your gams the experience now.

This man should be your inspiration. via The Price Is Right

This man should be your inspiration. via The Price Is Right

3-Mile Run or Rest Day

Experienced runners know how crucial rest is to their training; it lets the muscles recuperate and build so they’ll be stronger for longer next time instead of strained and struggling. That’s why everyday running isn’t recommended. I’ve tried to power through, and I can tell you that by that 9th straight day you feel slower than before. Guess what? You are.

I took the rest day because I knew my body would need it after the 10-mile haul. Take it as a 5-mile average over two days.

8-Mile Run

He also prefers the music method, but this is the wrong 8 Mile.

He also prefers the music method, but this is the wrong 8 Mile.

My legs were still hating me from the 10-mile, so all I can say is “thank you” to the entire discography of the Crystal Method. If you’re not familiar with their work, the Crystal Method is a two man rock-techno group that have done nothing but put out music tailor-made for action movies, their songs including “Name of the Game” and “Weapons of Mass Distortion.” Their songs also tend to run long, making me less likely to repeat the same songs over and over.

4-Mile Run

This one was harder than expected; I was still tired, and I ran it on an indoor track with people as roadblocks. The name of the game for this set was “keeping a set pace from start to finish.” This is something that will become essential as the runs get longer.

I’ll admit I’m bad at holding steady throughout, especially when running near people because of an active desire to blow past them, catch them, or beat them. Regardless of your primal desires, keep your pace and you’ll realize how fast you were when you hit the end.

5-Hill Runs

Job is pretty simple: find a decently sized hill and run and down 5 times. Anyone looking to improve how their butt looks should try this out.

Buns. O. Steel.

I used my apartment building’s stairs since my place is located on the top floor. It was…. a bit rough.

Legs. O. Jello.

What’s in Store for Next Week:

The distance goes to eleven with a total mileage of 45 and a high of 16. No, I wasn’t a math major. Why do you ask?

Next week’s segment may be called “Running’s Haaard.” Say it with full young child inflection.

This Week’s Highlighted Run: Color Me Rad

In a mix of weird and awesome, Color Me Rad is a 5K dedicated to having fun, wearing white t-shirts, and getting blasted with neon colored bombs. Participants get a bunch of goodies, an assurance of awesome pictures, and the chance to pick some local charities where their money will go. Learn more here!

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