The day after yesterday’s long run

Well that’s today isn’t it. I know that because when I tried to sit up in bed this morning my glutes didn’t work. Desperation for my morning cuppa made me struggle into the sitting position; I’m not a woman to be beaten by a few tired muscles!

So, where do I start? Well since blogging last I’ve done my two short faster paced runs, one in Stranraer two days after my 5k race and one on the treadmill. The Stranraer run was difficult enough. I hadn’t realised how hard I’d run on the previous Sunday and running on grass just seemed to have zapped my strength. I felt as if I was running through glue. I remember finishing and actually thinking thank God that’s over, which I hardly ever think! Anyway it was an OK run of 2.82 miles managing 10:39 pace. I suppose I should put that down to sheer tiredness. Garmin data here

I’ve been really good doing my Daily Ab Workout on the days in between running and it’s tough, so I know I’m working hard! I’m only following workout 1 for 5 minutes at the moment. The second it starts to feel easy I’ll crank it up.

Thursday was my 10th wedding anniversary and we had a table booked at a local restaurant at which I know I can get superb food (with all my strange dietary requests). Before that I needed to get my 30 minute run in so I decided to just hop on the treadmill. Again I struggled at the start, but gradually worked through the tightness I was still feeling. My right hamstring feels tight, but my chiropractor said it was fine at my last visit so I wonder if it is my glutes that are the tight ones? I did 5k in 30:32. Meh.

I must admit that I skipped the easy walk planned for Friday, but as I park my car a good distance from my work I guessed that would make up for that!

On Sunday I was due to cover between 9.5 and 10 miles, depending on what you read. I was running with Jeff’s app in my ear, dictating my pace and distance. As we set off it flicked up that I was going to do 9.8 miles, two laps of the Twathats route (which, I’ve discovered, is pronounced Twaites!) My husband had decided to follow me on his bike, which meant I’d have company of the quietest kind. Usually my husband is a very chatty bloke, but he stays very quiet when I’m running, so much so that I find I’m initiating the conversation!

It was a hard run. Not because it was long, but because the God of Wind had decided to toy with me. We knew that it was windy but, as our house sits in a low and fairly sheltered spot, we had no idea just how windy it was. I ran the first mile within my target pace, which was great because it was all uphill. The second mile is mostly downhill, so that came slightly faster and then we turned south.


Gusting up to 30 mph the wind hit us full on. Unfortunately most of the second half of the loop I’d chosen is south facing. That’s a grand total of 5 miles of running into an invisible wall, at least that’s how it felt! Unsurprisingly my pace slowed. Mile 4 11:26, mile 5 11:26.

And then effect of running into the wind carried on as I turned north. I ran up the long hill out of Ruthwell Station a full minute slower than I’d run it first time round. Now I know that I was fresher on the first go round, but a minute is a big difference! I did speed up a little bit on the downhill, but still.

I finished the 9.98 miles in 1:54:03, giving me overall pace of 11.26. I did keep trying to pick the pace up, but with the wind blowing fiercely, I just couldn’t do it. By the end I was knackered. There is no other word for it!

I am proud of the fact that I ran up every hill on the course without slowing down. I even out ran two cyclists going up Potato Hill on the first circuit. I did feel strong, despite the weather conditions.

After coming home I took a hot bath. My stomach was grumbling loudly throughout so I knew that it was time to eat! I was starting to feel weak. It’s true what they say about eating within 90 minutes of a run. I started cooking dinner a full hour after the run. By the time I was almost ready to dish up I was having to take breaks and lie down as the colour drained from my face and I felt as if I was going to be sick. This must be The Wall, the place at which you have nothing left to give, nothing left to function normally, no energy left to even stand. I’ve never felt like this before. I managed to serve dinner and almost went to lie down before having mine, but my husband convinced me to sit down and try to eat. I really didn’t want it, but I started to force down forkfuls of onion mash, courgettes and green beans, I couldn’t face the Mozzarella burger yet! I started to feel better almost immediately and ate the rest ravenously, going on to have cheese and biscuits shortly after.

The Wall, scary prospect!

This led me to wonder how well I was fuelling up before the run. Prior to running I’d had two eggs, a field mushroom and a single slice of toast for breakfast and then a spinach and avocado salad for lunch with some Quorn pepperoni slices. This is fairly common for me. I used up 1000 + calories doing the run and obviously the above doesn’t come close to being 1000 calories. I realise that I had some energy in reserve from the night before, but still – had I under fuelled?

I’m going to start keeping a log of my intake and expenditure – just to make sure that I don’t hit The Wall on a run. It was scary enough hitting it at home, with my bed to flop onto, I don’t fancy crawling home from a few miles out!

Do you have any similar experiences of this phenomena?

2 thoughts on “The day after yesterday’s long run

  1. Hmmm . . . sounds like a really good run considering the conditions!

    Do you take any nutrition _on_ the run? A run of 2 hours would seem to me to require some sort of carbohydrate replacement. If you were an elite running a Half Marathon in 1:00:00 – to 1:15:00 – well maybe you wouldn’t need it. But 2 hours out in a headwind is a lot of energy expenditure.

    While I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it, I’ve been using Clif Shot Blocks – a couple every 4 miles so that my first hit of additional carbs is about 40-45 minutes in and about every 4 miles thereafter. That’s my plan for now and I’ll report in after my 12.5 miler. See:

    “Eating during exercise. Most exercisers don’t need to worry about eating or drinking during a run until the length exceeds 90 minutes. At this point, there are several options. In this case, most runners wait until the 30-40 minute mark in the workout before starting to take the blood sugar booster. Diabetics may need to eat sooner and more often—but this is an individual issue.”

    Galloway, Jeff (2011-08-26). Half Marathon (Kindle Locations 1751-1754). Cardinal Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.

    Also – I think many folks have discussed the recovery/glycogen storage benefits of getting about 200 kcals of 80/20 drink or snack in preferably the first 20 minutes after a run. Are you doing a recovery drink or snack?

    Perhaps you are (in which case, ignore all of the above), but I think those two things would be helpful.

    FWIW – I ran a 7 miler a week ago Saturday following the previous week’s 8.1 miler – I only had nutrition for the 4 mile mark and then didn’t have a recovery drink as I was out of town (bad planning on my part). The 7 miler was in the afternoon with mildly humid coastal conditions and about 80F temp in the afternoon following a light lunch. I usually run in the morning in a temperate climate and do not take breakfast before running. While I felt ok on this particular run, I crashed somewhat like you did later on because (I believe) I didn’t refuel fast enough (waited>hour to get some carbs in) and even a couple hundred simple carbs a few minutes after would have made all the difference.

    Anyway – I think Galloway and the Furman Inst. folks as well as others all suggest this sort of thing. So maybe it’s not the pre-run fuel but the during/after?

    “Q. Does the runner need to ingest calories during the race?

    A. Running a marathon or half-marathon may deplete your glycogen stores, resulting in your hitting the wall. To prevent it, you need to consume carbohydrates during the race, not only to replace glycogen stores in the muscle but also to maintain the level of blood glucose needed by the active muscles. The goal can be met with 6 to 8 ounces of sports drink every 30 to 35 minutes and on warmer days every 20 to 30 minutes. Some runners like to use energy gels during marathons. Consuming an energy gel with water every hour can also help maintain adequate blood glucose levels. Even though you may have 90 or more minutes of stored carbohydrates, you need to begin taking sports drink early in the race in order to spare your stores of glycogen.

    Q. What should the runner consume after a workout or race?

    A. Sports drinks are a good option. The body is a carbohydrate sponge immediately after intense and exhausting exercise. Glycogen resynthesis from carbohydrates consumed after exercise takes place most rapidly during the first 30 minutes. Foods with a high glycemic index may speed up the replenishment of glycogen in skeletal muscle due to the rapid rise in glucose and insulin. During the first 2 hours following exercise, try to take in solid foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as bagels, bananas, pudding, etc. Research indicates that the maximum human carbohydrate synthesis is 225 grams (900 calories) of glucose following exercise. This amount of carbohydrate should be consumed in small portions over the 2-hour window. If you consume too much carbohydrate, the excess is stored as fat.”

    Pierce, Bill (2012-04-10). Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, Revised Edition: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program (Kindle Locations 3407-3423). Rodale. Kindle Edition.

    1. Eric, thank you for all of this!

      Yes, I did take a sports drink with me, sipping it regularly as I went round and I also took a Dextrose between miles 5 and 6. I prefer them to gels. Maybe I needed more than one.

      I’ve always gone by the rule of taking just water up to a 60 minute run, a sports drink for up to a 90 minute run and throw everything at a run over that!

      The run itself was fine; it was just afterwards. When I finished I said to my hubbie “three more miles and that’s my distance.” He asked if I could have carried on and I said yes. For all I was worn out by the wind, I didn’t feel totally drained. It’s not as if I haven’t gone beyond half distance before!

      I don’t usually have a recovery drink or meal though; I just make sure that I eat fairly quickly afterwards and I think this was my downfall. I had to cook dinner, which took probably too much time. I did have a banana when I started to feel bad, but by then it was probably too late! I’m looking at having a shake in the fridge ready for my return. At least then I have something substantial straight away.

      My next run steps back again so I’ve a week or so to get myself organised. Good luck on your long run!

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