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March 26, 2023 Marathon Training

My friend’s goal for the day was to complete 24 miles along the Providence Marathon route as a confidence building training run. Although a shorter run was on my training plan, I decided to keep him company. It helps to have company on long runs, if you can keep pace with each other.

We checked the weather and it seemed like it would be a great day. It was predicted to range from 40 when we started to about 48 when we planned to finish. It was partly cloudy and very bright. However, dressing for long runs in the cold is challenging. Managing the cold and sweating from the run over a very long distance is hard. I was dressed perfectly. However, it felt like a mix of too warm and too cold, since the wind gusts up to about 29 mph and no wind further inland made it inconsistent. My gloves were soaked from sweating and not enough help keeping me warm. I took them on and off many times trying to figure out which was better. A couple of fingers remained numb even from being cold most of the drive home. March and April are always a challenge.

The route was a little difficult to navigate. I took about four tries to plan it in Garmin Connect. It weaved on different streets and over the Henderson Bridge. Some construction made the route not as pleasant as it could have been. Most of the route was a very scenic mix of bike path, ocean views, city streets and neighborhood areas.

I had not appreciated that the hill near University Orthopedics would be a long as it was. I tried to run the whole thing but had to do some run-walk. My friend ran a little extra down a side street while I caught up.

For nutrition, I brought a Nuun tablet with my largest Camelback in my running vest. I had SIS gels, Huma Chia gels, Clif Shot Blocks, Figs and dates. I seemed to do alright with that combination taken in about every half-hour. It’s possible that I could have hydrated more, since the was a significant portion of my water remaining at the end.

We both felt good for the first 10 miles. Then, I started getting tight and restrictively tight in the back and neck. So, I slowed and said “just go” and “don’t wait”. This was his run and I did not want to hold him back. I know from our previous runs that he does not like to lose momentum. He certainly does not like the run-walk method which has worked for me. I did the best I could to get 20 miles and I figured 22 may be my max, if I shortened the route to the parking lot. I would run to a tree, a pole, an end of fence, then walk. I hoped that I would gain some momentum and improve the remainder of the run.

I crested a hill on the East Bay Bike Path at mile 20 which was at the public parking lot on Veterans Memorial Drive and saw a runner with an orange fleece, black camelback, orange knit hat, black gloves and blue shoes. It was my friend. I noticed that he was injured or sore by his walk. (There went my hopes of him picking me up after he finished 24 miles!)

He was struggling too. A bit of leg and hip pain. We agreed to stop our GPS watches at mile 20.6 and took a mile long walk back to the parking lot. We bypassed the remaining 3 miles. Wanting to take as few as steps as possible, we skipped the longer switch back for the bikes on the path up to the bridge and took the shortest route up a grassy hill to the top and gingerly walked the stairs down. Both the ups and the downs hurt at that point. He and I were happy to arrive back at our cars.

Glad we still finished together. However, I am disappointed about the circumstances of not finishing what we planned. That always bothers me. The run brought up questions for both of us. Can he recover? Will his body let him do a marathon in six weeks? Should I have loosened up more the day before? Did I get something else wrong with my training, nutrition or recovery? I sat working for hours instead of doing an easy run or bike or yoga the day before. That’s why it is training. It’s a challenge to figure out the right combination sometimes.

For recovery, I brought a towel for drying off. I packed dry clothes to change into. So, I dried of and changed my shirt for the drive home. The drive home was long and I got off the wrong exit in Providence where the off ramps are close together. I had a coffee in a Yeti for the drive and warmed up the car. I also craved plain cold water. I brought a smoothie too so that I could start getting protein into me sooner than later. Once home, a hot shower was enough to recover. I did not need sleep after which I sometimes do.

The Newport Half Marathon was three weeks away from this run and the Providence Marathon was four weeks away. This run should be a good build towards each of those events.

Looking forward to continuing to train and problem solve where things did not go as well as planned.

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