I just began running my longest distances ever: distances over 14 miles. By the time I got to this point, I was ready for it. I have been training since November, and only in March did I cover a distance greater than 14 miles.
My first run was 16 miles. I felt good. Great, even. After 16 miles, I proceeded to do yard work the rest of the day and didn’t experience any soreness the next day. It filled me with confidence so that the next week, even though I was nervous about my longest run yet—18 miles—I knew I could cover the distance and I wasn’t worried.
One thing I discovered is the amount of fatigue I experience running distances over 18 miles is something I haven’t felt in a long time. The day I ran 18 miles, I was quite tired afterward. Again I employed my long-run strategy of a mini relay: I ran 4 alone, 8 with my running group, and then 6 with my husband. It made the miles easier in that I couldn’t quit and had fresh legs with me all along the way, but I was much more mentally and physically fatigued than I had planned for. That weekend I had planned to paint a bathroom and write blogs and I ended up counting that day as a loss. It was still hard just to do writing the next day. I hadn’t planned on that.
Depending on other factors like how much sleep I had been getting and how I felt on Monday, sometimes I also took Monday as a rest day and skipped a maintenance run. If I were younger I may not do this, but I feel like after 35 you have to be gentle with your body, and that means resting when you feel like you need rest more than a run.
Going forward, I knew to clear my schedule of everything for the weekends that I have to run 18 or more, even if I just have writing to do. I even change my meal planning to accommodate for this because cooking is even hard to manage! These runs are taxing in every way possible, so it’s just easier to work ahead and be able to rest after that kind of effort.