Training: First 20 Miler in 18+ Months

As I mentioned in my training log last week, I am still entertaining the idea of a marathon.  So last week set out with personal friend Angela, we ran 20 miles.  It wasn’t pretty, fast or even that fun (minus running with her) but we did get it done.  More on that later…

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 20 miles with Angela
Wednesday: Rest ART/PT
Thursday: Easy 30 minutes
Friday: 6 miles with Montana Core/ART/PT
Saturday: Easy 30 minutes
Sunday: 30 minute tempo run  Core


I was lucky to find someone to be able to run the entire twenty miles with because honestly, I’m not sure I would have been able to run the mileage by myself.  I never felt awful during the run but it didn’t feel good either.  Not feeling amazing is to be expected considering I haven’t run that far since the Phoenix Marathon.

I finished the 20 miles, and it honestly took me all week to recover even with extra rest and ART sessions.  I still don’t feel perfect, but I do feel a lot better.  Have I made up my mind about the marathon?  Not really…I wish I could say running 20 miles motivated me to run a marathon, but it didn’t.  I don’t feel like I could confidently finish 26.2 miles right now.

Angela and I

The majority of the week was spent recovering, shakeout runs and easy runs.  I was able to run with a friend too.  I took the weekend off from racing as well.  I did a tempo run on Sunday, but it was pouring rain and windy.  I was running about a 7-minute pace, but the effort felt much faster.  As I’ve learned this year, you can’t choose the weather on race day…and you can’t on workout days either.

In summary, except a 20 miler, it was a down, boring and easy week.  I guess when a single run makes up most of your running, it’s not as boring.

But after your longest run in 18 months, you shouldn’t be running too much.  I’m running the Runner’s World Festival next weekend (the 5k and 13.1 miles).  (If you are local and want to run, I have a 10% discount code of FueledbyLOLZblog). So before then I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

So before the race weekend, I’ll continue to rest and see where running goes.

Questions for you:

Do you recover well from long runs?

Is anyone else doing Runners World?

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  1. Sometimes my husband runs with me and it’s great – having a friend along for your 20 miler must have been a lifesaver. Good job on such a long one! Running long runs is a lot easier when I build up to them – very slowly!

  2. Congrats on the 20 miler! When I build to 20, the first one takes the longest to recover from but then my body seems to adjust. I’m doing the opposite of you- looking forward to shorter distances and racing 5ks more often. Good luck at RW!! I’m not going this year but I know you’ll be amazing!

  3. 20 miles is always a huge accomplishment so great job! It usually takes me a while to recover from any runs over 13 miles, so for a 20 miler I would be out for a while. Good luck at the race!

  4. I am supposed to run the Richmond Marathon in November, but with the ultra hot weather up until just recently, I really had a hard time getting in the longer runs. I need a 20-miler very soon. My recovery takes a little while on the long run days. Usually my hamstrings are tight. Keep up the good work!

  5. Great job on your 20 miler! I always had friends break up the distance with me…one would run 8 milers then another the final 12. It’ s the only way to survive that kind of distance. Keep up the great work 🙂

  6. I am probably done with marathons, although I won’t say never. The toughest part of the long training runs was definitely mental. That’s a long time to occupy your mind so it was great that you had a friend to run with you! That’s a big motivator. I use audiobooks and podcasts and try to pick scenic routes. Recovery was protein after the run followed by a rest day. Never pushed too hard, just tried to get the distance done. Hope you have a great time at RW!

  7. I haven’t run a 20 miler in years, so I don’t know how I’d recover. Honestly, I can’t say I really ran one then, since I started walking at mile 18 of my marathon and the last 8.2 were basically a death march. My last long run was 14 on Thursday, and I would say I recovered well but I didn’t run for 2 days due to the hurricane, not by choice, so really know way to know. I have a 16 this Sunday so hopefully I recover well since I have a 10K race 6 days later.

    Looks like you had a good week… most plans seem to build people to the longer runs, so I would say your 16-18 milers and how you recovered from those might have a better picture? Seems like that first 20 of marathon training gets a lot of people. Don’t blame you to take the week off racing with that 20 miler but the tempo run was probably a great workout in place of racing… still a very solid week.

  8. Like any race, I have good long runs and not so good ones. Often, my recovery is tied to whether I was able to glide along versus feeling like I was dragging a cinder block behind me. One of these days, I would love to do Runner’s World. Will you run it with me if I ever make it???!?

  9. You may not have felt spectacular on that 20 mile, but excellent news, since it’s obvious now that you are definitely over the injury. 🙂

  10. It’s definitely always better to run that distance with a friend! And, as you know, some runs just don’t feel good from start to finish, no matter if they are 5 miles or 25 miles. I’m sure you can handle pretty much any distance you set your mind too 🙂 Good luck at the RW weekend!! I’ll be anxiously following along …

  11. 20 miles now is no joke. Period. Good for you for tackling it, and for proceeding cautiously about signing up for 26.2. Looking forward to hearing about RW races!

      1. You bet! Trail race 5k in November; 5 miler on Thanksgiving in Andover, MA; and a Half marathon in early December in Gloucester MA (or as they say around here… Glous-tah!) how about you?

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