The Long Run: Back at it

Well, I'm happy to say that winter term is finally over! I studied pretty hard for my finals, so it makes these next two weeks of no school that much sweeter. I'm looking forward to having my evenings free and getting out to see the sun a bit after work. 

I thought it would be fun to talk a little bit about getting back to the long run because it's been a while since I've needed to run long (early fall). Plus, school has put a cramp in my long run style. 

But because I signed up for two races in April, something has to be done about it. So long run, I will...

Wore green on my long run Sunday to celebrate St. Patty's Day early

For a few weeks in January, I was doing well with heading out for 6-8 miles on the Ridgeline before or after yoga. And then things got busy and I was only able to fit in shorter, flat miles in.

The first of my two April races is Peterson Ridge Rumble, a fairly mild, but trip hazard (read: plenty of rocks and roots) 20 mile race in Sisters, OR, which I also ran in 2011. It was the first "long" trail race and it didn't go so well: I overdressed, tripped and fell a few times and generally didn't love it. I'm determined to make 2014 much better.

So, as of three weeks ago, I began ramping up my weekend long runs. First, it was a hilly 10 mile "Boston simulator" road run, then last weekend I headed out for 12 miles of rainy, muddy trail and this weekend I set out for another 12ish miles, but this time a few more miles of hilly trail. 

The more blur, the better (#artsyfartsy)

During this run, I was testing out a new pair of trail shoes that I bought recently. It was a nice change to not run in bulky trail shoes. *Shoe review below

On Hiking
It should be noted that when I'm running the Ridgeline especially, but any hilly trail, there is hiking involved. While training for my first 50K, the best piece advice I got was about the hills: "Don't run up a hill that you would walk near the end of your race." What this means to me is don't kill yourself trying to run a hill when it's much more efficient to hike it. 

From experience, I've also learned that sure, I can run up a steep section of the course, but all it does is jack my heart rate up and make me have to walk a little bit later. So instead of wasting a lot of energy on a short hill, I hike it. 

When I reached the peak of Spencer's Butte on Sunday, I was greeted with sunshine as I fueled. 

Fuel Factor
The last few weeks I've had a Gu halfway through my run, but on this run I tried a honey stinger waffle that Santa put in my stocking. It was quite tasty, but a little crumbly. 

I liked that the calorie content was a little more than a Gu (160 vs 100), but it reminded me that I also like having real food like Larabars or Picky Bars for longer runs. 

How I Felt
Not gonna lie, getting back into long running isn't easy. My body tells me to stop, but my heart and head are willing, so I keep on trucking. 

After this run, I was pretty zapped. I drove home and made a green smoothie and chips, salsa and cheese slices. It's likely I hadn't eaten enough because I was hungry the whole afternoon and had little energy to study. I clearly have forgot how much these long runs take out of me. Naps + plenty of food and water are always required.

From here, I plan to continue bumping up my long runs and hopefully hitting ~18 miles for my longest run a few weeks prior to race day. I'm pulling together a group of local runners to join me on the McKenzie River Trail in a few weeks to head out for a long run, which I'm really looking forward to. I miss that trail and it can get boring running long solo week after week. 

My goal for Peterson Ridge is to run strong and enjoy myself. And then I'll turn my sites to the half marathon a few weeks after. Luckily, it has some rolling hills so I think I'll be set. 

Mini Shoe Review
I wanted to try something a little less bulky and ended up walking away from our local running store with a pair of Nike Zoom Terra Kigers, a minimal drop trail shoe that has a wider forefoot than most Nikes I've tried. So far, I like their traction and light weight and didn't seem to have any soreness related to the new kicks. I'm not a fan of their price tag, but they should last me quite a while.

What fitness or life goal are you working on right now? Did you do anything to celebrate St. Patty's Day? 


Caitlin Liz said…
Yay for getting back into long runs!! I started out the year with the best of intentions but an old knee pain came back and it's been over a month since I've been able to run with somewhat intense pain the next day. I was signed up for the Shamrock 15K and had to drop because a 3-miler a couple days before almost ended me. I ended up dropping into the 8K because I couldn't stand the idea of not racing, but now it looks like I'll have to focus on strengthening and finding some other form of cardio that doesn't hurt. Hopefully I'll be back in the long run game soon too! I miss it!!

Also, it's nice that you have time now that winter term's over to get some long runs in, but don't forget to take a few days to do absolutely nothing too :P
Amber said…
I was just chatting with my running partner this morning about how we have our 25 km trail race coming up REALLY fast (May 4) and we have got to start ramping up our long runs for it! Luckily with this nicer weather and spring coming along I am loving getting back out into the trails so I'm ok with that. I have a 21 km trail race this Sunday that I feel a little under trained for but I'm just planning on taking it slow and having fun!

Oh and I totally agree about hiking the hills. That is the best part of trail running :)
Hooray for having a break from school and studying for a bit! I hope the weather is extra nice during your time off from school.

I hope the race you are doing goes better this time and doesn't involve any trips or falls! That is good that you'll have a group to run with one weekend. Having company during long runs definitely helps make them more enjoyable.

My next goal that I am working towards is a 10k in April. I see my doctor on April 2nd and hopefully she clears me to train for a half so I can start to focus on that next.

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