Since signing up for a half marathon, my focus has shifted slightly in my training. I'm still running good quality speed workouts, but my long runs are much more important now. I normally consider a long run to be anything over 16km, and I've built up to 25km in the past. In this training 'block' I've done a couple long runs of note so far. With 4 weeks to go I think there will be a few more on the horizon!
Long run number 1: Hobart, 23km.
I went on a trip to Hobart for a conference, and because I was traveling by myself it was the perfect opportunity to turn the trip into a bit of a running holiday.
When I headed out for my long run, I didn't really have a plan. I knew that if I headed north from the city I would find a cycling path, so that seemed like the perfect place to start! After a couple kilometers I reached the Tasman Bridge, and decided to head over to the eastern shore. When I got to the top of the bridge, I was cursing my decision – it was freezing cold, and windy, with absolutely no shelter!
The rest of the run was pretty magical. I followed a pathway along the shoreline, that wound in and out of little coves. The sun had started to rise, and the first thing it hit was Mt Wellington. Looking over the water towards the city, with sailing boats in the water and the mountain in the background was such a beautiful sight. (I think this paragraph is in need of superlative jar…). There were a lot of people out running, or walking.
Once I reached Bellerive Oval I turned back, and followed the same path. Of course, I needed to get back over the bridge towards town! It was just as unpleasant on the way back. This run ended being a bit longer than I'd planned, so by the time I got back to the hotel I had time for a rushed shower and a bite to eat, before heading to the conference. It was very satisfying to get a 'proper' long run finished. Sitting in lectures all day isn't the best recovery method – every time I stood up for a break my legs were cursing me for sitting cramped up for hours on end. But the run was worth it!
Long run number 2: Charters Towers, 24km.
I was away again, this time working in a small country town in North Queensland. I wasn't quite at the top of Australia, but I was getting close! Where Tasmania was cold, NQ is hot and humid.
I ran out-and-back along one of the quieter highways. There were a few cars, and road trains out, but there was not another soul walking/running/riding. I'm sure the people in the cars thought that I was nuts for being out there!
I love country runs like this, because it's so peaceful. I'm definitely a spoilt city girl though – I'm so used to having water fountains available on long runs, so I didn't think to bring a handheld with me on my trip. I had a peanut butter Gu with me, so when I decided I wanted it I had no choice but to take it straight up with no water. At least I've discovered that my belly copes fine with this – I had no cramping, or other GI distress.
I started to feel dehydrated at 19km, but I had no choice but to keep running. It was hot, but I think going to Bikram has taught me to cope with this much better.
This was my first long run with my new watch, so I kept distance as my main screen. Looking at the graph afterwards is pretty cool.
Being stuck in a small town with nothing to do is actually quite good for long run recovery. I spent the day drinking (mainly the unfun kind of drinking), and relaxing. I even went for a short swim in the afternoon.
I take longer to recover from long runs than I do from speed work. I get killer DOMS from running fast, but it goes away after 1-2 days and generally feels better after an easy run. Long runs make my legs feel like lead, and it takes them quite a few days to get over it. This was more obvious on long run 2, so the heat and dehydration probably played a part.
But, it's all making me stronger, right?