Marathon Training Week 13 – Ultimate Long Run

PHEW. Three weeks left and the longest run I have left in my training plan is 11 miles. I am officially in taper land, people!! So, how was Week 13 of marathon training?

Marathon Training Update Week 13 - Ultimate Long Run

Following the half marathon race I ran as a long run last Sunday, I gave myself a couple of days off running. Instead, I did some weight training. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and jumped into the squat rack to do some heavy squats. It felt great, but it meant the next two runs I was really just trying to shake the soreness out of my muscles. I got a little nervous the stiffness and soreness would stick around, since this week was my ultimate long run: ultimate in that it is the last true really long run of my marathon training and ultimate because it was 21 freaking miles!!

The other issue that came up this week was that I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I was headachy, stuffed up, my throat felt sore. Of course, as soon as I started the long run, I felt fine and have ever since. I read somewhere once that if you stumbled across the group of people about to run the marathon while they were standing by for the start, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into the waiting room of a physical therapist’s office, with the wincing, moaning, groaning, and litany of real and imagined injuries and complaints. As soon as that gun goes off, though, the ailments disappear and the runners emerge. I was reminded of that when I started running the long run and realized I felt a hundred perfect fine. πŸ˜‰

Week 13 Long Run

LONG RUN: 21 miles. I had grand plans for this run. Originally I was thinking I’d do another Brooklyn to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge route, but after the debacle of trying to fight Financial District crowds the last time I did that, it was out of the question. Then, I thought I’d get the subway to Central Park to run the loops there, but the thought of having a half hour subway ride after a 21 mile run to get home was off-putting.

So guess what? I took that little 3-mile-and-change loop in Prospect Park and ran it. And ran it. And ran it. Luckily, since I have a GPS watch, I could take little detours and try a couple of different paths off the running track, but for the most part, it was loop city, population me.

I was all set to try this technique Cori from Olive to Run came up with: having one person or thing to think about for each mile, so you’re dedicating each mile to focusing on someone or something specific. It sounded like meditation to me, so I gave it a shot. It lasted about 2 miles. (Disclaimer: I am also not particularly good at meditation).

Yet, for whatever reason, this was probably my best long run yet. My pacing was much better. I’m finding it easier to take it deliberately slow for the first few miles, so I have the energy to stay on pace towards the end and run a negative split.

I’m still having a few issues leading up to the race. I am nervous about fueling. Despite all my trials during long runs, I still am not sure what I’m going to do for the race, and time is running out for experimenting. The last couple of runs I’ve been trying Pure bars, which are basically energy bars with about 4 or 5 ingredients that are all real food. But they are a little dense and hard to get through while running. My other issue is which shoes to wear. (Isn’t that every woman’s dilemma at some point in life??) I am also trying to work out how to pace myself for the race. The only thing I don’t like about the NYRR Virtual Trainer plan is that the race strategy is broken up into 5K sections instead of by miles, which I’m not used to.

In the end, though, I’m hoping these issues are just like those of any runner’s before the start – the kind that disappear as soon as the gun goes off and your legs start moving.


Do you obsess over the details, or are you calm before a big event?

Do you meditate?


  1. I obsess and then let things go because it is easier. I tried the Cori’s idea, too – there came a point where it didn’t work but it was nice for awhile.

    • I really wanted Cori’s idea to work for me! I think once I just make all my decisions I’ll stop obsessing. πŸ™‚

  2. Wow! You are so close to your goal. I also have a cold coming on this week. Yuck. It gets better then worse then back to better so I’m hoping to fight off anything major.

    I like the idea of focusing on one thing for each mile. I’m not sure that I could keep it up very long either. I do write a lot of good posts in my head while running.
    Carla recently posted…Vogue — Sexy GlamMy Profile

  3. Boo! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you πŸ™
    Cori @ olivetorun recently posted…The Truth Is… The Only Constant Is ChangeMy Profile

    • It’s all good, Cori! I think I just don’t have your focus!! I did write a post in my head while I ran, so I’m a happy bunny.

  4. I forgot to tell you I tried that -one person per mile- encouragement in My marathon in Paris….but it just lasted two miles, then I forgot! Ha!
    I was wondering too about the strategy…..break it in 3 (easy, then on pace and last 6mi as fast as I can)….or run evenly the whole course…? I’m kind of lost.

    • I read that only 15% of NYC marathon runners did a negative split. That’s still what I’m going for, though. I’m going to break it into 4 mile sections, I think, I just have to work out what pace to hit for each section to maintain the overall pace I want to keep. Bear in mind as well, you will probably run a little bit farther than 26.2 miles, so keep a few seconds per mile “up your sleeve” if you’re trying to get a particular time goal.