How to really enjoy a bath - just run 21 miles before getting into it. A simple theory... the side effect is that you may have difficulty getting out, or walking downstairs afterwards.
This was my second completed 20 mile run (the previous one was 20.1 miles). I made a deliberate decision to try to not care about how long it took me - just to make sure I finished the distance. I know the rough rate I'd like to attempt the marathon at, but today the aim was just to give my legs experience of the distance.
I ran 5 miles of the hilly circuit, then 5 miles up the A6 and then back down, then 5 miles of the hilly circuit again. Once you've run 15 miles, just the mildest slopes feel pretty painful! Then I ran half a mile down the A6 and back again at a fraction quicker just to assure myself that I had completed the run and not just survived it!
The first 5 miles took me about 41 minutes, then the next 3 sections took about 42 each. My total time was 2:56:47 - an average of 8:25 per mile.
At about 12 miles I felt like I was struggling, but I came through it. What I found most difficult to cope with was boredom. The websites I read advise someone who's aiming for the kind of marathon time I am to run these long runs about a minute per mile slower - but I'm too impatient for that! For the same reason I find myself running up hills faster than seems wise - just so that I can get them over with!
Between about 7 and 14 miles just felt very boring; I felt tempted to stop just so that I could do something else instead of running! However I've noticed that gloomy thoughts normally coincide with inclines - once you're coming down the other side, things look a bit better. Hopefully on race day the adrenaline will mitigate this a bit and compensate for the extra 5 miles on the end!
Last time I ran 20 miles I thought at the end "I don't want to attempt that again until I've forgotten what it's like - I'm glad I didn't have to do another 6 today". Today I felt like I'd made progress since then; I ran at the same pace but felt like I had more in me when I finished. 6 and a bit weeks to go!
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