What I learnt from running 16 miles

I did it, I ran to parkrun, ran parkrun, and then ran home again.

Can I make it clear right now that I run/walk. I follow the Jeff Galloway run walk run strategy (otherwise known as jeffing). While some unpleasant people may say “well that’s not running then is it”, I would challenge them to come along for a run with me and see for themselves how much I actually run. Plus doing 16 miles at an average pace of 13.31 per mile is definitely not a walk in the park.

Anyway… rant over… that’s right, I did 16 miles!

After running to parkrun last week I knew I wanted to run there and then run back again one day and this week seemed as good as time as ever. I really enjoyed myself and it taught me a lot about running long distance and being self sufficient for a whole run, so I thought I’d chat about a few things here.

What I wore

(Links are not affiliated)

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Trespass sports top with bamboo

Kalenji trail running shorts

Runderwear hot pants

Nike sports bra

Garmin Vivoactive 3

Saucony Ride ISO

For part of the run:

OMM halo jacket

Socks: Started off in compression socks then changed to Danish Endurance socks.

Hygge band

What I took in my bag

Bag: Salomon Adv Skin 12l (old style)

Long sleeve top

Long sleeve leggings

2 spare pairs of socks

Plasters

Cash & debit card

Lipsil

Tissues

2 x 500ml soft flasks

1 x TREK chocolate flapjack

2 x SIS gels

Headphones

Parkrun barcode

Fuelling

500ml Tailwind Rasberry Buzz

500ml water

1 x SIS gel at about 7 miles

Trek chocolate flapjack at about 10 miles

I walked the first mile across the fields as they were really muddy and slippy (as you’ll see from the video below), plus it’s quite tough going on my legs and I’ve found starting a run over the fields really saps my energy.

Once I was on firmer ground we were off, running for 60 seconds and walking for 30 seconds (60:30).

I started off in my compression socks as I prefer them across the fields to keep the wet grass and mud off my ankles and legs (also they potentially protect me from ticks). However after 3 miles I could feel my feet starting to tingle and I didn’t feel like I needed the compression, so I stopped to change in to my ankle socks.

It had been chucking it down since I set off but I was getting too warm in my jacket so took it off and just let myself get wet. I put my hygge buff on to keep my wet fringe out of my face.

I feel like this pit stop to change socks was a good practise for ultra marathons!

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I roughly knew where I needed to be at what time in order to make it to parkrun on time. I wanted to get to parkrun for about 8.45, 8.50am so that I had plenty of time but wasn’t waiting around for too long. I know some people would prefer to get there for 8.57am but cutting it that short gives me the heebie jeebies.

Although I thought I’d got plenty of time, with the first mile being a walk I did push a little too hard for the next couple of miles.
Lesson learnt: keep it steady!! Allow more time if needed.

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As I reached parkrun with just the right amount of time I walked for about 5 minutes and ate one of my SIS gels. I ate it slowly, sipping on water as a went. As I arrived at the start line I only had about 10 minutes to wait until we started parkrun, but I was conscious that I was standing still and tried to keep moving.

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I made sure to keep my run walk ratio during parkrun and not get carried up in the crowd. Now that I’d reached parkrun on time it was easier to keep the pace slow as there was no deadline. Although I was still running alone it was nice to do those 3 miles surrounded by other people.
Lesson learnt: Sandwiching parkrun or a race in to your long run can make that long run a little more interesting and the mileage less daunting.

After I finished parkrun I walked for a little bit while eating a Trek chocolate flapjack. I wanted to try eating the flapjack for my 3 Peaks training but knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it while running. The time pressure was off so I didn’t mind the mile walk, plus I was taking a slight detour to pop in to McDonalds to use the loo.
Lesson learnt: I can’t eat flapjack while running. Lesson learnt: plan your toilet stops (or at least know where you could go to the loo if needed).

I’d now ticked down 2 parts of the run, getting to parkrun and parkrun itself, so it was time to get home.
Lesson learnt: Breaking the long run down in to chunks makes it feel more do-able.

As I headed home I realised the roads were much busier. Part of my route involves roads without pavement and I was even more mindful of keeping safe now there were more cars; I didn’t use headphones and walked towards oncoming traffic except for very blind, tight bends where I thought it would be safer to be on the other side. I also hopped up on to the grass verge when large lorries or tractors were coming.
Lesson learnt: Be safe on the roads.

The weather had also changed a lot since I set off, it was now dry and sunny and I was wishing I had brought my sunglasses.
Lesson learnt: Prepare for weather changes.

As I passed the half marathon point I reached new territory, this was furthest I’d ran. My legs were feeling tired but without pain or niggles, so although I could have walked more if I had wanted to I kept my legs moving. At 12 miles with a few hills to come I dropped my ratio down to 50:30.

Soon enough I was off the roads, and then I reached the farm boundary. Ash had agreed to come and pick me up at the next field to save me trudging across the worst of the mud. I ran across the final field and as if by magic my watched ticked over to 16 miles just as I reached our meeting point. I felt amazing!!

It wasn’t even 12 noon and I’d ran 16 miles! What did you do before lunch time on Saturday?!

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Other things learnt:

My little toe would benefit from some taping over long distance as it does rub slightly, although didn’t bother me too much.

Put some tape in your bag.

Having a change of socks is vital.

I prefer 500ml of tailwind in one bottle and 500ml of water in the other – I feel that I fuelled enough and I find tailwind can taste a little sticky at times so the water is nice and refreshing, plus better for washing down gels and food.

I didn’t need the long sleeve top or leggings so potentially wouldn’t take so many clothes for a straight forward road 16 miler again.

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If you have any questions feel free to comment below.

What have you learn from your long runs recently?

You can watch the video of my run here;

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