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20 Mile Long Run – A Reminder in Pacing

Posted Aug 24 2014 10:36am

While last week’s 17 mile long run was the perfect confidence boost I needed, yesterday’s 20 miler was a bit humbling. It reminded me just how important pacing is when running a marathon.

Due to cool temperatures I slept in later than expected since I once again wasn’t trying to beat the heat and humidity. I woke up at 7:30 to finalize my route while eating my regular long run fuel of coffee, toast, peanut butter and banana. I also sipped Vega Pre-Workout energizer in Acai berry which tastes far better than the lemon lime.

I’ve found that giving my body an hour to digest the food really helps me feel more fueled and energized during the runs.

In order to make the distance a bit easier, I split it up into 3 parts:

Mile 1-6: Music

Mile 6-14: Listening to Chrissie Wellington’s audiobook

Mile 14-20: Running with Amy

This week’s route was similar to last weeks except I cut 2 miles off of the countryside route so that I could be back in Geneva by mile 14 to meet up with Amy, a new friend who just moved to Geneva last week.


The first six miles flew by as I listened to music. I didn’t have to check my map many times since I knew this portion of the route. I took a salted caramel Gu at mile 6, checked my route on MapMyRun and switched over to Audible to listen to my audiobook. IMG_1604 IMG_1602 IMG_1603 The scenery between mile 6 and 10 felt as if I was running through a painting. I couldn’t stop smiling as I ran through vineyards, cornfields and small rustic homes and villages. IMG_1610 IMG_1499[1] IMG_1613

By mile 13 I was ready for another fuel break and used this one to check in with my pace. I’d felt so strong at the beginning that I decided to ignore my Garmin and run by feel versus continuously checking my pace. This used to be a method Gia used with me when I would let my mind takeover during training runs. I quickly realized that my average pace was around a 9:40. I decided to scale things back as much as possible for the next mile, before meeting Amy. I figured that running with her would be a great way to slow the pace since I assumed we’d be talking. As I ran down the hill my Garmin beeped low battery, reminding me that I better charge this bad boy all night before the marathon versus forgetting and only charging an hour before the run. Luckily I’d also been using MapMyRun so I swapped to using that for pace and distance versus the Garmin.

IMG_1615 IMG_1617 The final miles with Amy were beyond a struggle. It sounds stupid but talking while running was quite hard at this point. By mile 16 my legs were screaming at me for the stupid fast early miles. We pushed on, winding through Geneva but each mile became tougher both physically and mentally. I should have requested that we stop talking and put on our headphones, but felt the need to chat since she’d been so kind to come meet me for the last few miles. Mile 17 through 20 were a walk run mix, averaging 8-9 minutes of running and 1-2 minutes of walking. Even with this ratio we were still able to keep a 10:20-10:30 pace. 


20 miles in 3:18:07 aka 9:55 pace. Done and done!

Mile 11Mile 12Mile 13Mile 14Mile 15Mile 16Mile 17Mile 18Mile 19Mile 20
Mile 1 9:34 9:35
Mile 2 9:25 9:40
Mile 3 9:40 9:41
Mile 4 9:41 9:55
Mile 5 9:49 10:06
Mile 6 9:49 10:20
Mile 7 9:30 10:34
Mile 8  9:40 10:36
Mile 9 9:41 10:21
Mile 10  9:32 10:01


We ended our 20 miles by meeting Bo at the farmer’s market and brunch at Le Pain Quotidien. IMG_1620 IMG_1623 IMG_1625

This week’s long run lesson: Remember to respect the pace. For my next long run I’m going to keep a focus on my pace for the first half and then try running the second half by feel.


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