Monday, August 26, 2013

20 Mile Run

The 20 mile run is the staple of nearly all marathon training programs.  I can't speak for all marathon runners, but the first time I climbed this running peak, I felt like I could survive a marathon.  There is something about 20 miles, running for 20 miles, covering 20 miles and surviving 20 miles that make this run special.  Even today after completing 10 marathons, 7 ultra marathon events (over 26.2 miles) and logging over 11,500k miles...the 20 miler still intimidates me.

So why does this distance still get to me?

Starting nearly every 20 miler, I feel confident, heck I've banged out longer runs, I've trained hard, I'm sure I can do this, I even look forward to my 20 mile runs.  Though out my marathon career I've run countless training runs at this distance.  Walking out my front door, taking that first step, I always feel invincible going into the run.  My goal is to roll into the first mile at a slower pace, control my heart rate and get this journey underway.

Rounding out miles 9, 10 and 11, Some consider this the middle of the run, but in fact if you have properly trained this is where the real fun begins.  On most 20s I feel good at this point, confident and empowered.  And on a few runs I've even made a deal to add a few extra miles.  Surpassing midway I start to feel like a real runner, a real distance runner...maybe even an elite type of runner capable of covering distances most people and a large percentage of runners never consider.

THE 75%:
Mile 14, 15 and is at this point that I always feel like I have covered a good bit of ground, but then it hits me...I still have a long way to go.  No matter the distances I've run in prior events, 5 miles is still a good distance. This remaining portion of the run is a distance to respect.  Alot can happen over 5 miles.  And then it hits me....can I finish this one?  Not sure why I get this feeling...but even with the confidence of all my training, all the miles and all the races over 20 that I have run, that little bird still sings in my ear.  "Dude, you have a long way to go..."

And I'm thankful that over the years, over the miles this little voice has gotten easier to subdue.  I hear it, but I'm able to assign no value to it.  Nowadays I use this voice to motivate me forward, "Sure that would have de-railed you years ago....but today YOU own that bird." 

No matter how many times I hear my GPS tell me "Run Distance: 20 Miles" it always sounds good.  Taking that last step after covering 20 miles is so rewarding, so empowering and so uplifting.  A successful 20 mile run is validating that once again I'm marathon ready.

AND the ever popular "I've completed my 20 mile run" Tweet/FB Status update is my favorite update to post online. 

How do you feel about your 20 mile runs?

1 comment:

  1. 20 milers are such a love hate thing for me. They are confidence boosting during training, but at the same time they might leave you questioning yourself. Yesterday was my first 20 of this cycle. I've done them many times before but the first one of a cycle always feels the hardest for me, mentally and physically. But I got through it and am actually looking forward to the next one!