First 20 miler (Read 1289 times)


    I was scheduled to run a half marathon today but a last minute trip to the ER for my daughter meant I wasn't racing. She is fine now.   I found myself sitting at home fully rested and hydrated so I attempted my first 20 mile run. I know, my weekly milage and distances don't really support a run of that distance but darn it, I was going to do it anyway.


    It was 68 and sunny when I started so the early miles were no problem. I targeted a slow pace for this run and it was a little difficult to go that slow since I was mentally ready to race a half. I had no issues whatsoever through 16 miles. Then I ran up two of the four hills on my loop and things began to deteriorate. By mile 18 it was 82 degrees and I was forced to take walk breaks. Muscles I didn't know existed started to spasm. It wasn't painful at first but it was weird. By mile 19 I found out what people talk about when they say their legs lock up. My legs just didn't want to run. I fought through it and my legs responded with a weird all-over pain. I'm pretty sure this is where your brain is just trying to get you to stop. I didn't stop but the last half mile must have looked like an ugly shuffle/stagger to those watching.


    I didn't eat anything on this run and I drank 20 ounces of water and 50 ounces of Gatorade. I probably would have done better with at least 20 more ounces of fluids My loop took me to my house so I actually went in to fetch my cold drinks so it probably added a couple of minutes to my time. No potty breaks necessary through 20 was nice.


    As I sit in the air conditioning watching college football, I feel pretty good. We'll see how good I feel tomorrow.


    Was the 20 miler a good idea? Probably not. Big accomplishment for me? Absolutely!

    2013 -Sub 2:00 for 1/2 marathon

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      Sounds like a dry run for a marathon experience Smile


      Congratulations on a nice accomplishment.

      It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

      Queen of 3rd Place

        Damn, that was crazy stupid, but you'll recover. Might take a couple weeks to fully recover, so keep that in mind. However, your first 20-miler is a huge confidence-booster.

        Ex runner


          The day after the 20 mile run found me feeling suprisingly good. The only real pain I had is a pain at the base of my fourth toe.


          Today, two days after, I feel really good The toe pain is almost completely gone. Last night it was tough to sleep because my legs were a bit twitchy and spastic but without pain.


          Today will probably include some stretching, foam rolling, and a bike ride. Back to running tomorrow.


          My confidence  is much improved after the 20 mile run but my experience suggests that maybe I wasn't respecting the distance as much as I should have. I thought being trained for 13.1 would lead to a difficult but not impossible 20. To that degree I was right. I just had no idea how difficult it would prove to be.

          2013 -Sub 2:00 for 1/2 marathon


            The week after my 20 mile run I slogged through 12.5 miles of dead legs and was feeling pretty fatigued. Since I am done racing for the year I took 10 days off and let all those little aches and pains subside. I stretched and foam rolled during those 10 days but didn't cross train at all. I bought a new pair of shoes.


            I started back last week and felt really good. I noticed that my legs feel really strong and on a couple of my runs I pushed the pace. I ran by feel and only glanced at the time at the end of mile 1. I am very pleased with my times on two of my runs. My question is this: Did the 10 days of rest rejuvenate me or did the 20 miler really provide the benefit of reduced perceived effort? A combination of both?


            I'm not sure what this week holds for training because I threw my back out yesterday (bulged disc at T5 in 1991 still rears its ugly head). Hopefully I can stabilize the back today and run at any speed.

            2013 -Sub 2:00 for 1/2 marathon

              Completing a 20 mile run on less than 100 miles per month base is an impressive achievement.  Get  two or three 200 mile months of base, and your 20 milers will be more tedious than painful.


              My own first 20 miler turned out to be 21.5 miles on a base of about 120 miles per month.  The last 6 or 7 miles was a death march, but it did give me the confidence that I would be able to run a marathon "someday".


              It's a good idea to weigh yourself before and after long runs on warm days.  Learn your sweat rate and how much weight you can lose before performance drops too much, then you will know how much you need to drink on your run. 


                I believe my fluid intake was inadequate. I lost 4+ lbs even with the fluids I took in. I wonder if those last miles would have been more bearable with adequate fluids. We'll see next spring when I train to toe the line for my first full marathon.


                I believe March 2011was my peak mileage month and I logged around 140 miles.

                2013 -Sub 2:00 for 1/2 marathon