The 20 Mile Training Run
The St. George Marathon is coming up on October 5th. That is 27 days from now. Being that it is less than one month away the reality of the race is starting to come into focus. It has been an interesting year. Coming off the high of last year’s marathon you would think there was nothing to worry about with training for a new marathon. However, 26.2 miles (42 Km) is a really long way to go and anyone who has run any sort of distance will tell you that just like stocks, past success doesn’t necessary guarentee future success. It takes a lot of planning and work, mostly running. How to Train There are several ways to train for a marathon. In training for this marathon I experimented with many different running plans and eventually developed what I call the escalator method. A custom training method (ie. I don’t think any trainer would sanction what I am doing), the escalator method has me doing constant runs on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays with a long run on Saturday. I call it the escalator method because on my long run days I slowly ramp up the length of my runs. For example two weeks ago I ran 18 miles, last week I ran 12 miles, and this week I ran 20 miles. If you were to graph my long distance runs for my training it would look like a escalator, bumpy but always going up. Running 20 Miles (32 Km) The culmination of my running plan is the 20 mile runs. Unlike other race distances it is really inconvienant to to practice the entire distance. I have heard of people doing “practice marathons” but no professional runner I know does it, and if the professionals don’t do it, I am certaintly not going to do it either! The idea behind the 20 mile practice run is if you can run 20 miles all you have left is 6.2 miles. 6.2 miles is 10 Km which is a standard race measurement. I have run countless 10 Km races now, so getting to that point there is a pyschological factor that kicks in your head that says “oh, you know you can keep going on if you really need to”. Or at least that is what I hope will happen on race day. Running 20 miles is really hard. There is just no getting around that fact. It has been several hours since I did my morning run and I am still in plenty of pain. I started my run at 6 AM because I knew it was going to be hot. Even so the sun was incredibly hot. By the time I got home it was 96 degrees (35.5 C). Humidity was at 44%. Basically, I felt like I was in Miami, Florida not Riverside, California, but I did my best to endure on. Overall, speed was slow but I finished. My 14:34 average pace was not at all what I would have liked but just finishing is good for me (if your interested in seeing a few more details please go HERE). Ideally, I would like to run my marathon at a 11:30 pace and finish in under 5 hrs. but in the end it is really just about finishing. If I can do that I will be happy.
Oct 5 has always been a sad day for me since 1964, the day my dad was killed. I look forward to it being a happier day this year.