I did the first "big" LR of 16.4 on Sunday, Dec 18th. All the way through Thursday, I wasn't feeling particularly sharp on my runs. I was feeling sluggish and stiff. I was suprised by how long it was taking to bounce back. How was I going to get in any quality workouts between my weekly LRs?
On Friday, I stretched, for the first time in 4 days (Monday), and it did wonders to loosen me up and make my legs feel fresher. Before that, I kind of felt like I had been shuffling rather than running. I'll need to keep that in mind.
Since I was feeling better on Friday, I was excited about the next day's 18er all day. Instead of the dread that I'd sometimes feel, knowing how long and potentially difficult it would be, I looked forward to it, perhaps because the previous 16er had gone well, and I felt good even at the end.
I ended up having to do the LR on Saturday rather than Sunday, missing an extra day of recovery, because of travel plans the next day.
I went out alone this time, and I didn't worry about not having water on the course, since I went through 16 last week without big thirst at the end.
I focused on going at a VERY easy pace this time, since I figured out that the suggested paces of the SmartCoach plan assumed I was going to go for a 3:17 marathon, and I probably wouldn't be shooting that high on race day. I don't want to cash all of my investment on workouts instead of race day anyway.
The run was enjoyable. I took no detours, since I wanted to get good distance estimates of the standard out-and-back course so that I would know how far it was between each landmark, so that I could figure out what legs I could repeat to achieve my target distance. I ended up miscalculating somewhere and had to make up 2 missed miles by going back and forth on some shady patches of grass, but it's all good.
My legs did get a little tired of the same motions towards the end, so I did some butt kicks and shorter steps to shake things up for them and to reduce the same pounding feeling on my legs.
I had 1 100-Cal mini-Clif bar at mile 9.5, and I had absolutely no thirst at the end of the 18.4er, which was cool.
I wore a new Adidas singlet with a handy hole near the top for the earbud wire, which really helped to reduce bouncing of the long wire. It ws chilly, at 43-52-58 degrees that morning, so the shirt was good. It was sleeveless, so I was feeling the sun on my shoulders more than I would've liked towards the end. I may go for sleeves next time.
Unlike during last week's LR, I did use the iPod this time. I love listening to race recordings (the podcaster records while he's doing the race), since you hear all of the cheering and breathing and racers and stuff. It keeps you really pumped up during the run.
18.4 in 2:50:32, 9:16 ave. I think that's a good pace.