Since I was training for the fitness competition for the last two months, I wasn’t able to get in as many long runs as I would have done otherwise. All in all, a 20-30k (12.4-18.6 miles) run when you’re low on carbs is next to impossible and I don’t recommend anyone do it.
When your glycogen levels are depleted and you are not feeding your body with enough new carbohydrates to restore those levels, you’re most likely already feeling fatigued and low on energy. The last thing you want to do is run 20+ km unless you are prepared for prematurely hitting the wall.
So, I did a lot of shorter runs, speed training and weight training instead and, as a result, improved my 5k and 8k times while at the same time waiting on the truly long runs (20km or more) until after the competition.
Also, because the distance to and from my work is 5k (~3.1 miles) one way, I often ran to and from work and then worked out in the gym after work. It was perfect because I still got some running in, didn’t have to be on the treadmill for too long and was able to focus on muscle building and strengthening workouts.
At first, I was a little bit concerned that I haven’t done a truly long run over the past 8 weeks, knowing full well that it would be about 6 weeks until my marathon after the competition. I do not recommend beginners to train for 6 weeks prior to running a marathon. The proper length of a marathon training program for a beginner is between 18-20 weeks (or more), which allows you to slowly build up your mileage and decrease the likelihood of injuries.
Knowing that the BMO Marathon is coming up on May 5th and I begin Run for Their Lives on May 20, I knew that I had to get a few long runs in. I wasn’t entirely sure how long my first long run since contest prep would be, but I knew that I would be satisfied with anything between 24 and 30km.
So, at just past noon on March 30th, I went out to my favorite place to do long runs-Elk and Beaver Lake. It’s a 10k loop, so all I had to do to run 30k was do 3 laps around. It’s also where I trained for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. It’s a beautiful place to run and what I really like is that the air there is clean and I don’t have to stop for traffic lights (since there aren’t any).
Above: This is what I looked like after my 30km run. I feel like I recovered in less than 3 minutes. All dressed up in Public Myth gear.
As I was parking at Elk and Beaver Lake, I thought to myself: “I will do 24km to see how I feel after that which will help me decide if I want to do 30k”. I was also a little bit concerned that I might have been getting sick, since I had a sore throat last week and the morning of the run.
The weather, however, was way too nice for me to sit inside on the computer or run on the treadmill. I reserve treadmill runs for distances under 12K and for speed work. I also knew that if I ran, then I will feel less tired for the rest of the day.
The first lap came and went. I ran it under 49 minutes and felt great. Then, I ran the second lap and it felt just as good as the first one. I kept my pace the same. So, after knowing that the 2nd lap felt good, I decided to do a 3rd one. There were some people who were sitting near the path where I was running and I was extremely flattered because each time I passed by, they would be counting my laps out loud. Other runners who have also seen me doing multiple laps would always say something encouraging to me each time we passed each other as we moved in opposite directions.
I was going just a little bit slower than I would want my marathon pace to be. Being out there for almost 2.5 hours allowed me to clear my head and think about a lot of stuff. I find running to be a major stress reliever too. My Garmin Forerunner 110 stated that I completed 30km in 2:26:25 running at a pace of 4:53 min/km (7:52/mile). I also burned almost 1800 calories, which is the equivalent of an entire day worth of food.
What I ate/drank before my long run: 1 glass of water, 1 banana, 2 pieces of toast and a cup of coffee. I waited about 1 hour after eating before beginning the long run.
I wore my Public Myth teaser leggings and racer back sports bra for the run. The clothing was super comfortable. The 30k run is a good test for both shoes and clothes in terms of how comfortable they will be for marathons and beyond.
This was one of those runs where absolutely nothing frustrated me. I felt like I was running on air and it felt amazing. I achieved that “runner’s high” and it stayed with me for the rest of the day. I’m hoping to cover between 34 and 38k on next week’s long run and then begin my taper for the BMO Marathon a week later.
My taper will not involve any drastic cuts in mileage since when I go to do “Run for Their Lives” I will be running more than 30km each day for sure, and even hoping to cover 40-50km per day.