Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Friday Night Long Runs: Simulating Race Day

As athletes, we always try to imitate race day during training. If you are running a hilly marathon, you will train on hills. If you are doing a hot, flat and windy Ironman (like I am), you train in those conditions. You practice the breakfast you eat, the shoes you wear, the nutrition you consume during the event. You have it all down to a science by the time race day comes.

When training for an Ironman you have long training weekends that fatigue your body to simulate race day. But what about the mental fatigue? What about the "I really don't feel like doing this" attitude?

I mentioned to Kate 2 weeks ago that I think it would beneficial to do a few of our long runs on Friday evenings. It is very likely that I will be starting the marathon portion of the Ironman during the late afternoon and crossing the finish line when the sun has already set. I think the mental fatigue of getting off your bike after 112 miles and having the thought of a whole marathon infront of you is pretty daunting. I wanted to try and simulate this fatigue without having to ride my bike for 7 hours.

Last Friday evening Kate and I set out for 14 miles at 530 pm. We were both exhausted from the work week and this is the first time either of us had done a long run that started in the late afternoon. IT SUCKED. It just felt...weird. Normally I am done my workouts by 9 am...not 8pm. We were both surprised at how slow we had to run (it was also as humid as a sauna outside) and how much we had to push each other through to the finish. We kept discussing how weird the run felt but we couldnt put our fingers on exactly why. I think it was just because we had never ran while already mentally drained. Our legs felt fine.

We both agreed that we are going to do more of our long runs on Friday evenings to get used to the feeling of starting a long run while tired and finishing in the dark.

I think I also need to start practicing using margaritas as recovery drinks since that is my plan in Cozumel. :)


  1. Brilliant plan on the recovery drinks. That really does need practice. I'm totally with you on the evening long run. Beth and I did a 16miler last February after work and it was nothing short of miserable, especially in the later miles as it got more dark and cold.

  2. I'll help you work on your recovery plan practice. But only because I am a good friend.

  3. That sounds really tough but a really smart training strategy. You should finish runs right at the bar.

  4. I actually used to do all my long runs on friday after work (in the fall/spring.) So if you need another friday night running buddy, I'm game.

    Plus doesn't that mean you can drink margaritas afterwards since you can sleep in on Sat instead of doing your long run? Brillant if you ask me.

  5. Recovery drink margaritas?!?! I'm IN!

    You're VERY smart - I think it's important to get as MUCH real life practice for this stuff as you possibly can. I think you'll really thank yourself on race day, bc you'll have the benefit of remembering these night time long runs.

  6. Actually, I totally think we should practice that recovery! Since we don't have to workout on Saturdays when we do Friday runs, we should get margaritas after our run on Fridays and then sleep in on Saturday. WOOHOO!!!

  7. Sounds like a good mental training plan! I don't like running that late in the day so I know it would take some getting used to. You should be well prepared by race day.

  8. You can use the lemon lime flavored Gu and make a marGuRita!

    Just remembered something about cozumel. One year the bugs were atrocious on the run course. Pack some bugspray in your T2 and run special needs bags.

  9. Good plan... running at night during an Ironman is kind of cool, but I love your plan to be ready for it.

    And Margaritas are total recovery drinks! DUH!