It’s no question that those long marathon training runs have proven to be difficult for me over the past 6 weeks. Part of it’s weather, but a large part is physiology.
After bonking my long run early Christmas morning, I decided to do a little research. My theory was that dehydration played a major role in my poor long runs and a little research confirmed it. Dehydration during winter running can significantly reduce performance, and cause some serious side effects like migraine-like headaches and lethargy.
Even though I trudged through 9 miles on Christmas, my plan was to give my long run another shot on Sunday. My training plan called for 14-18 miles, and after taking time to hydrate early in the morning, I hopped on the treadmill. Clicking off miles at a steady pace, I logged 14 miles for the day. While I didn’t hit the higher end of the range, it was a confidence booster – a rebound from the Christmas run – since I logged the run while still recovering from the day before.
All this prompted me to skip my easy run today and give my body an extra day of recovery. It may mean fewer miles during the week, but I have my toughest challenge of marathon training looming ahead this weekend: a 20-24 mile effort.
In my down time Sunday, I began reading Daniels’ Running Formula, a classic training book. For a couple years, I shyed away from the book by Coach Jack Daniels, because I didn’t want to get bogged down in the scientific language. Quite honestly, I struggle to comprehend all those scientific training terms, but there is so much other terrific information in the book that I had a hard time putting it down. It is a must-have book for serious or competitive runners who want to put together their own training program. It also goes into some detail about cumulative training and maintaining fitness, an area I’ve yet to see explained in other books I’ve read. In short, it’s exactly what I need at this stage in my running, particularly as I look to figure out what races to do after my February marathon.