Wednesday, September 19, 2012

20 Mile Prep

Every marathoner does at least one twenty mile training run.

Some of us do multiples.

For most, this is your furthest and therefore, at least on paper, your most difficult run.

The 20 miler is the peak of your training. Once you finish this run, your taper officially begins.

We are told to treat the 20 miler as practice for the race. This is an opportunity to test your outfit, your pre-race breakfast and dinner the night before, hydrating, suspect chafing...and the list goes on.

What you realize as you prepare for your 20 miler is how intricate a process running has become.

Remember when you used to go out on a run in shoes you bought at Kohl's and soccer shorts? Ah, those carefree days. When you didn't worry about how far or fast you were going. Before you knew what Gu was. When you wore (gasp) cotton socks.

Those days are long gone.

Now, the night before a 20 miler, I'm running through my long run checklist:

• Outfit, socks, hat and shoes
• In-run nutrition
• In-run hydration
• Storage for nutrition and hydration
• Music (just in case)
• A contingency plan for if I get in to trouble (house key along with a phone, cash or CTA card)

The 20 miler I did this year was an organized training run that was a point to point along the Lakefront path. We started at Wilson, went north to about Bryn Mawr, then headed south to around 63rd Street. I completed this training run with a few of my close friends and about 2000 other people. There was a party at the finish complete with massages, food, beer and most importantly, my gear check bag with a pair of flip flops in it.

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