A New Runner’s First 20 Miler!

I’ve been running now for three years. I’m just a recreational runner; I guess my genetics won’t get me to the 7 minute mile pace.

I’ve been getting faster over time and occasionally win in my age group when I race. I’ve done lots of 5k and 10k races, and ran my first half marathon earlier this year. Now I’m training for my first marathon! Running has made me lose weight, get into shape, and even lower my cholesterol! Last weekend, Sunday, I ran my first 20 miler. For someone that doesn’t run that fast, it can take a long time to run that far. When planning a long run, it’s important to be sure to eat a little something about an hour or two before starting. That will give you some carbs to draw on as you run. Water is also a must! Some carbs during the run is important as well. (At mile 6 I ate a Gu. I really like the lemon flavor. Then at mile 12 I started munching on some Sports Beans.)

My run was at the local city park that is just a couple of miles from my house. It has a nice running path that is a 1.66 mile loop.  With my truck parked next to the path, I could drop by every few laps for a drink of water, and the energy boosts at mile 6 and 12 with the Gu and Sports Beans. One thing that really helped me out was to pour some water over my head from time to time to help cool me off.

This being my first marathon, I’m not too concerned about time. I’m just concerned with finishing! In training, I’m running 1 mile and then walking 1/10 mile to recover. This has been working well for me so far. After this past run, I think I’m going to try 9/10 running and 1/10 walking to see if that gives me a little more energy.

I’ve been gradually building up my mileage over the past couple of months but this was my first really long run. At mile 16 I started slowing down as my energy reserves were getting depleted. Then at mile 18.5 I just started to run out of steam. I had to start walking a little and running a little over the last 1.5 miles. Finally at mile 20 I was done! I walked around to cool off. When I sat down, I got a little dizzy. Oddly enough, it felt better if I just kept moving a little. Then after about 5 minutes I was ready to sit down and rest for a while.

My muscles were a bit sore the next day, so I just took an easy 6 mile bicycle ride to cross train. Then the following day an easy 5 mile run to keep my muscles going. By the following day everything was feeling fine again. This weekend I’m cutting back to about 12 – 16 miles for my long run. Then the following weekend I’ll plan to run 22. Gradually working up to the final 26 miler before I start tapering.

I have my running log posted on my refrigerator so that I can see how far I’ve gone (and how far I have to go!). This is a great motivational tool when I see the miles adding up. I started recording my miles about 2.5 years ago and I’m up to over 1,200 miles.

When I consider that, I think I’ll be able to make my first 26.2 mile marathon!!!


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