Long Runs Are Better With Friends

by - Monday, October 01, 2012

Sometimes running buddies are the only thing that get me through my long runs.

Knowing that I was meeting Megan and Jax five miles into my 20 mile run on Friday morning, motivated me to get out the door, despite the fact that my legs felt like bricks and the weather was crappy.

Friends on 20 mile run

When I started the run, it was so humid, you could actually see the moisture in the air. That, combine with my heavy legs, made for a slow 20 mile slog.

I ran the first 4.5 miles listening to my music and trying to keep my spirits up. I was feeling and moving so slowly. I kept telling myself to just get to Megan and Jax and things would get easier.

Megan and Jax were so happy and upbeat that they instantly brightened my mood. Sure my legs still felt like crap, but when you're running along with friends, it's easier to keep your legs moving a little faster, and conversation helps distract from the discomfort.

Sure enough, as I looked at Garmin, I saw my speed was picking up. The fact that we were running the next five miles downhill probably helped that too.


Jax split off after 11 miles, and Megan and I pushed on to knock out the next five miles back uphill. That's the bad thing about out and backs. The downhills are great, but then you have to turn around and run back up them.

Running five miles uphill is not fun. At all. Especially because at the point the sun had come out, and it was getting hot.

Water fountain

We made a pit stop to fill up our water bottles somewhere around mile 12, and by the time we got to mile 16, I had nearly drained the whole thing.

By mile 17, everything hurt. My hips were tight, my quads were miserable and I was seriously questioning how I was going to finish this run. I just wanted to walk. Megan suggested we stop for a quick stretch break, which helped a bunch.

At that point, I was so, so sick of running and I just wanted to get home, so I put my head down and powered through the rest of the miles. It wasn't pretty, but I got it done.

Damn humidity. A full seven minutes slower than last week. #fitfluential

Slower than last week, but I don't even care.

I was a hot and sweaty mess by the time I finished.

Hot and sweaty after 20 miles

I think you could literally wring the sweat out of my shirt. I've never been so happy to get in an ice bath to cool down.

Even though it wasn't the best run ever, I'm glad that I now have two 20 milers under my belt as part of this training cycle. Usually, I only do one 20 miler per marathon training cycle, but this time I wanted to step it up just a bit, so I have two 20 milers and a 22 on my schedule. I have a cutback week this week and then 22 next week and then it's taper time.

I'm so ready for the race to be here!

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  1. That gentle downhill on the capital crescent is the best - at the END of a run...

  2. Nice work, Jess. BTW you are so adorable that you don't look like a mess AT ALL in your post run pic!!!

  3. Good job on the run. I agree that running with people makes the run so much easier and enjoyable. You kind of forget what you're doing and get lost in the conversations. It's like you feed off of each other's energy. I've done some 16 milers on my own...even one on a treadmill...and it's definitely much easier, and much more enjoyable when running with people. Keep up the good work!

  4. Nicely run. It's good to have good friends to keep you going. Cheers!

  5. Friends definitely make long runs easier!

    Umm...am I noticing an engagement ring? Did I miss a big announcement?

  6. Great! You can't get in too many 20's before the big day. conditioning rocks. I did my long run on sunday with friends as well, it was completely different from being on my own. Very cool.

  7. Haha nope definitely not an engagement ring. That's the ring I always wear on my right hand. Self pics in the mirror make everything look backwards!

    I promise I would post if I had something of that magnitude to share!

  8. Google "22 mile run."

    Not recommended for most age groupers. Just do another 20.

  9. [...] found the shirts courtesy of Under Armour. We ordered them a while back, and then I took mine out on one of my 20 milers to make sure it would be comfortable over the long haul. Turns out it [...]

  10. Mean Coach2:12 PM

    Listen, a 4:45 marathon is definitely decent (of course, you know that via the Boston Marathon rule, you are allowed to drop the seconds, so YES, you did a 4:45 marathon. Great work!

    Do you want to improve? You faded big time at the end, in the last 10K. Before that, you were spot on with an excellent steady pace.

    The answer is not longer runs. Four 20 milers is sufficient for your level. The answer is to build up to more mid-week medium runs (e.g. 10-15 range). What this will do is leave you fresher, longer. In other words, you will substantially push back the point where the marathon becomes difficult.

    Also, if you want to improve, you need more consistency in your training. It's a choice in life's priorities, but realize that it is a choice you are making. And two runs (13 and 9) do not a 22 mile run make. Not even close. Not a good idea on many levels. You are not getting the training effect of a long run and 22 miles in a single day is not recommended for an age grouper anyway.

    But the bottom line is that a 4:45 marathon is definitely decent. You have potential if you want to develop it.