I just thought I'd share this, as I feel very foolish right now. As I've told everybody on any occasion I can, last Sunday (11th Oct) I ran the Oxford Half, one of the best things I've ever done. I diligently followed a 16 week training plan, and arrived in the starting pens about as well prepared as I could have been. One of the factors that really made a difference was the build up of distance in the month to six weeks before the race. Previously, I'd got to the position where 10k wasn't a difficult distance to complete, and on occasion, I'd stretched a run as far as 13 or 14km. Going that bit further was a challenge, and introduced the necessity to consider nutrition and fuelling in conjunction with the run. The first time I ran a little past 14k I experienced the bonk/wall - I just suddenly ran out of energy.
I managed to move on to ten mile runs, fine tuned my in-flight refuelling techniques, and managed to reasonably confortably do 16, 17, and an 18.5km run, at the end of which I knew I could have run on to the HM distance.
I tapered in the last week, and I was pleasantly surprised on race day to be able to set off at a faster pace than I expected to (the first 5k was a shade under 30 minutes, and 10k was 60:02) and apart from tiring a little in the second half, didn't have any problem completing the race strongly.
Then, apart from accepting the need for a bit of a rest, I ignored the "reverse taper" - I took 3 rest days, then went for a 7k run on the Thursday morning. Later that day I found that I was able to go for a first club run with the local running club (I'd planned this, but expected it would have to be the next week). That turned out to be another 7.5K run, including a hill. I rested Friday, then did Parkrun on Saturday. At this point I was feeling fine. Parkrun was my second fastest.
Then my cocky, bravado filled head got the better of me. I'd run a HM. I'd conquered 10 mile runs. Sundays were going to become a regular long run day. I know, I'll go for a ten miler!
I ate fairly lightly on Saturday. As a last minute afterthought on Sunday morning, I had a banana for breakfast. I'd planned to take on energy during the run so had my shotbloks with me.
Off I went. Nice. Running comfortably, watching the k's go by. 10k, ok, just 6 to go. Taking it easy, running at a moderate pace, 7-7:30/k. Then, at about 14k, *BONK*. This is hard work. I suddenly felt really tired. Stubbornly, though, I pressed on. I'd gone out on a 16k run, and I don't give up easily. I did run on, and did complete the run. I was tired, though, more than at the end of the HM.
I recovered a little over the next couple of hours, though it caught up with me again, and by the evening, I was just about out on my feet. Today (Monday) I still feel really tired.
It's easy to get carried away and think we've got this running lark cracked - we can run where, when and how we want, and it's just easy and fun.
I've learned a lesson, though. I need to think clearly and plan properly. I'm not superhuman, and while I'm loving my running and want to do it as much as I can, I must not overstretch. Recovery and rest is important, as is carefully eating properly for those longer runs.
Happy running, people, but do it sensibly!