Let me share a recent thought. Bear with me - this may ramble!
I went on a long run with my club yesterday. It's nice each weekend that there are several groups of runners (each with a leader) offering runs at different paces and distances, usually with cut-offs built in for people to bail out when they've done the distance they want.
There are a lot of people training for marathons at the moment, so a lot of the runs are pretty long. The group I went out with were planning for a maximum of 16 miles, and I (and another runner) decided we'd do 11 or 12 miles, which is what I've routinely doing through January and February.
I found myself feeling the pace and struggling with tired legs at one point - not out of breath, just tired and heavy legged. The other 11/12 miler told me later she'd felt the same. Happily, it passed and I started to feel stronger again.
Then our leader admitted he'd got a bit muddled with his route (this was after 11 miles) and we were about 3 miles or so from the sports centre which is our base. Rather than bail out, walk or call for help, Emma (the other runner) and I agreed we'd keep gently running back. She was quite excited at the prospect of doing 14 miles!
We did - I saw us go through a half marathon in 2:30, and we got to 14 miles a little way from the centre. Emma told me to go ahead - she was going to call it a day and walk. Shortly later, I heard her calling me, and saw her jogging towards me. She said it hurt more to walk than to run!
We got back with a distance of 14.48 miles, a new PB for both of us, and our second fastest half marathon!! The other runners completed their 15/16 mile runs - not much more than Emma and me!
Our very own Nick (Wristy) is also training for the London Marathon. Yesterday he did a 15+ miler (good on you, Nick!) In the comments about his run, he described having a "major crash" after about 7 miles, which he got through and then felt better.
That got me thinking. I looked at his splits/cumulative time, and seven miles was after 90 minutes running. I looked at my run, and my difficult patch was - about 90 minutes in!
How long can the average runner run using the readily convertible glycogen stored around the liver and in muscles?
Now, for some time, I've been aware of the need to refuel on the hoof, and I'd been doing it - a Shotblok after the first half hour and every half hour thereafter. However, I wonder if the body starts to adapt its metabolism (aerobic to anaerobic?) once the glycogen's gone, so it's doing a bit of a mixture. What if, as new runners, or especially new to distance runners, our body isn't very good at it? Perhaps, with training (plenty of long runs) our body gets better at it. It's a hope. But I think simply stuffing in the fuel on long runs won't always avoid the "bonk"/wall/crashes. In time, with luck, it won't happen as much.
Anyway, that was my last long run for a while - it'll be a moderate medium long run next weekend as I taper - the North London half a week on Sunday, then the White Horse half two weeks later!
I hope all that wasn't too boring. I find myself fascinated by the science!
That run - connect.garmin.com/modern/a...