Friday, June 13, 2008


I ran my long run of 11 miles today. I felt like this was a make or break run; if I did well it meant the half marathon next month would go well, and if I did poorly, then maybe I shouldn't be thinking of running the half. So I did everything I could think of to give me an advantage. I had a good dinner, went to bed early, and got up an hour early in order to eat breakfast before I headed out the door. And the run was great! My pace was slower than I would like to see, hovering right at the 12 minute mile pace, but that's ok according to my McMillan calculations, it's just on the slow side of ok.

I tried something different for this run. I've been reading a lot lately about visualization and how it can help with long runs. So I approached this run exactly as I would if I were in a race. Whenever I thought I wanted to stop or take a walk break, I visualized myself running the half. I pictured myself on the course with other runners around me, thought about how the course felt under my feet (kind of crunchy-it's a lot of packed gravel), thought about how you can smell the strawberry fields, and how good the fog felt on my bare arms and legs. And I reminded myself that if I were in the race right now, I certainly wouldn't take a break at that point. It did seem to help, we'll see if it works next week for my 12 miler.

I've noticed the weirdest thing that happens on a lot of my long runs. Somewhere around mile 8 I seem to catch a second wind and it gets easier. I actually opened up my stride and speeded up a bit and it felt good. It doesn't last long, maybe a mile or so and I'm back to my customary slug pace. I'm thinking this might be the point that I gain a little ground during a race; maybe I can work on extending that distance a little each time it happens.


robison52 said...

My favorite visualization is crossing the finish line strongly with me all smiles and floating on air.

Good idea trying to extend that second wind longer, which will happen once your body has adapted to the longer mileage. Eventually 11 miles will seem like a breeze...remember when you first started running and how difficult your very first mile you can run a mile with no problems and with relative ease; running longer is a lot like that, you're going to be amazed at what you can and will accomplish, it just takes time for you to adapt

The Running Bob said...


Often I, too, begin to visualize the race on my long runs and find it helps. Although I haven't run the San Francisco Marathon, I study the race course map and try to relate the distance to where I'll be on race day. Another technique you may want to try when your body/mind tells you to quit is to pick an object (ie. tree, curve in the road, etc) and set a small goal to run it, immediately pick another object in the distance and make that the next goal. Funny, how one's running arsenal of motivation technique grows.

Very cool that you had a strong long run!

The Running Bob said...

If you don't mind, I'd like to add a link to your blog from my blog. If you don't want to be linked, just send me a quick note and I'll remove it.