It's never easy doing a long run the day after a hard tempo run or a race, and today was no exception. After a hard-run 8K, a total of 8 miles run yesterday including warm-up and cool-down, I knew today's 17-mile run would be a grind. As usual, the DART group took off quickly, and as usual, I stayed with them even though I knew it would make it harder for me later.
After running the first 8 miles at around an 8-minute pace, it was time to slow down. Fortunately, Chad was sympathetic. He had run a 5K yesterday and a 100-miler last weekend, so he was ready to do some easy miles. We let the rest of the group run ahead and slowed to an 8:30 pace for the next 4 miles. We arrived back in town, chatted with the rest of the gang, then headed out on our own for five more miles. These we did at closer to a 9-minute pace.
We were really starting to drag on the last mile when Chad had a suggestion: "Let's pick it up for the next block. Just one block, and then we can slow it down again." I groaned, but one block seemed doable, so I took him up on the offer. Amazingly, after a block at about a 7:30 pace I really did feel better, and we were able to maintain a slightly faster for the last mile, which we completed in 8:49 (compared to 9:10 for Mile 16). At this point, we were still about a half-mile out of town, but we had done our 17, so we walked it in from there. I'm going to have to remember that strategy if I'm ever dragging in the race.
It wasn't an ideal run, but not bad given the circumstances. My average pace for the day was 8:24. Yes, I slowed at the end, but the fast start gave me a chance to chat with running buddies instead of running the whole 17 miles alone.
This week I'm going to begin my taper for the Big Sur Marathon. The last couple weeks I've run longer than 60 miles; this week I'll do 53. Then next week I'll do 42, and finally 28 the week leading up to the marathon. My longest midweek run for the upcoming week is just 10 miles, and for the following week it will be 8.
Details of today's run are below: