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Each week (3 in a row), the long training grows by 1 mile.  Week 4 – is called recovery.  It would be nice if recovery meant a full week lying around in a hammock, being served refreshments, but no.   A recovery week simply means — subtract 3 miles from your longest training run – and that becomes your long run distance for the week.  I digress, this week is not a recovery week.

Instead, my step-daughter Emma (fellow marathoner in training) has informed me that this week – our long run is 17 miles.  It is hard for me to even conceive of running for 17 miles, but since I’m training for a marathon (26.2) – I guess it is time to buck up to these new distance realities.

So, here is how I prepare physically and mentally for my long training runs (17 this week):

  1. 7 days before the next long run – I ran 16 miles.  Relieved it is over, and have a week to mentally prepare for another go at this madness.
  2. 6 days before the next long run – easy 3 mile run, which feels like I have cement blocks wrapped around my ankles, but at least it is only for 3 miles
  3. 5 days before the next long run – I depart to run 6 miles…end up running 9…for no real good reason other than I can, I might as well, and 9 feels like a good number
  4. 4 days before the next long run – cross train on elliptigo and swimming…and beginning to look at the weather forecast hoping that long run day is not super hot and humid
  5. 3 days before the next long run – depart for 4 miles – end up with 7.  Yup, because I can.
  6. 2 days before the next long run – depart for 6 miles – and actually did 6 miles!
  7. 1 day before the next long run – cross train – swimming and aqua jogging
  8. OMG – today is 17.  I wake up early, and eat my smoothie breakfast.  All of it.  I’ll need the energy.  I try to plan my route – but there really is no plan.  I just need to get in 17.  Hubby will ride with me for the last 6-8 miles.

    Time to get on with this.  I set my Garmin.  At mile 0.  OK.  OK..  any time now.  Press the garmin button.  And we’re off.   We- being my Garmin and I.  I don’t really have a route – but have a LOT of neighborhoods to traverse.  In and out…sometimes over and over.   It is all junk miles…it is now 9 miles.

    I call hubby Paddy – and let him know my ETA.  He arrives at our rendezvous point on bicycle, with extra water, a banana and lots of honey packets.  It is mile 11 when we meet.  6 to go.  I like to think of this as 3 outbound…and 3 returning back.  After a quick hydration moment – we are off.  Nothing fast.  No PR.  Just getting it done.

    We get to the 3 mile outbound marker – and I take a moment to consume honey.  Surly I will soon be followed by bees.  We head back, and it is all about self preservation.  Lift the heavy feet…and avoid uneven sidewalks, dogs, manhole covers, oncoming traffic….  One mile at a time…   I check my Garmin – 1 mile to go.  Surprisingly I still have lots of energy.  Must be the honey.  Or having company with my hubby on bike 😉  We did it.  17 down.

  9. Mentally prep…another long run is a week away.