With Delirium 24 hour coming up, I need to be prepared for the hardest part of the race- the end! I have enough fitness to be confident of keeping a decent pace for the first half of a 24 hour, but once the pain and fatigue set in it's a whole new beast. Running Epic 24 hour was great practice, but outside of an occasional race it's just not practical to actually run all night for training (well, I'm sure some people do, but it's not practical for me). So how can I practice "running tired"?
What I decided to do was a long, slow run following a night shift. Friday I woke up at 7:30 am, had a normal day of cleaning and errands, then headed to work just after 6 pm. After getting home around 3:15 am, I changed clothes and headed out for my run! Although it was a pretty easy shift at work, I was still up and about for around 20 hours before I began running at 3:45 am. Obviously it's not the same as running for all that time, but I think it's a decent simulation of fatigue. I planned on 4-6 hours, depending on how I was feeling, at a very slow pace.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get together any friends to join me, but I just figured it would make the run more of a psychological challenge as well! I started out only running around Forsyth Park and down to Bay Street, as these seemed the most well-lit and safest areas in the dark. I made a point of running on the sidewalks, which in Savannah are extremely uneven- good stabilization practice! While in the downtown area I definitely saw some people who were just ending their night out, which was kind of surreal.
I ran a steady slow pace for the first 2:15 or so (about 5.5 mph), but I was feeling mentally fatigued and considered stopping at 4 hours. But at 6 am I passed a group of women just starting their run. I asked if they'd mind if I joined them, and luckily they were very welcoming! They were doing 6 miles using a 2:1 run/walk, which sounded perfect to me. We ran down to Daffin Park and back up to Broughton Street. Having a little over an hour of company and conversation really turned my attitude around. Now I felt determined to do the full 6 hours!
After a quick bathroom break (the only time I paused my Garmin), I was off for the last 2 1/2 hours. I was feeling a bit of soreness in my I.T. band, and my feet were starting to feel sore from pounding the pavement, so I decided to keep doing run/walk intervals. I upped the pace a little though, doing a 8:2 run/walk interval. I called my husband, who agreed to come join me for my last hour of running, which was a great help! By that last hour my feet were very sore and I changed to a 4:1 interval, but still maintained 5+ mph. In the end I did 31.19 miles in 6 hours, which I was quite happy with! I was exhausted afterwards, but after some icing and a good night's sleep I woke up today feeling fine.