Just how long would a long run be if a long run was real long?

Long-distance running can be as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Usually when I want to cut a long run short, it’s mental. Today it was definitely physical.

I hate to cut any of my runs short. When I plan to run a certain distance, that’s it, if it’s part of my training plan, then I do it. However, if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that sometimes you have to know when to call it quits, like today.


Since I cut my long run short by 3 miles last week, I was determined to get in 18 miles today. Unfortunately, I was sick for most of the week and I only ran 12 miles so 18 seemed like it might be a stretch but I thought I could handle it.

I’ve also started running with the heart rate monitor on my long runs. I shoot for 75% of my max heart rate and then gradually increase to around 80-85% for the last 3 to 5 miles.

The first few miles felt fine. I struggled to keep my heart rate down so that I wouldn’t burn myself out but other than that, everything was good. I kept my pace around 11:00 minutes. At mile 5 I slowed down a bit and drank some water and then continued on.

All was okay until around mile 7 and I started to struggle. My legs were like dead weight. They just didn’t want to move. I kept going to mile 9.5 and I stopped at the marina for some water. I drank a ton of water and then splashed the cold water all over my face and I felt like I could continue on.

At mile 12 I came to a hill and I walked it. At the top of the hill is a water fountain so I stopped again and drank a ton of water. I felt like I was going to shut down but I pushed through and ran to the end of the park. It took quite a bit of effort but I managed to make it to mile 13. Finish time 2:23:18.

I know that part of the struggle was mental. I started thinking about my training and how much time I have left and how important my long runs are, and I get frustrated. I start to wonder if I’ve recovered enough or if I’m still a tad bit under the weather. I wonder if I’m pushing myself too hard…or hard enough.

mental noise

That’s when I start to worry that I won’t be ready to run 26.2 and even though my thoughts are probably irrational, they are still there.

I finished my run at 13 miles and then I started to immediately focus on what went wrong:

  1. I have been sick with a cold for almost a week so my body is not 100%.
  2. I haven’t been doing any strength training or weight workouts and I’m paying for it.
  3. It’s still quite hot out. Even though it was 73 and breezy this morning, it was in the 80’s by 9am.

After I got home I took the dogs for a walk and did a little yard work. My legs have been tired, but not too bad. I plan on getting in a few miles tomorrow and I’ll pick it back up again next week.

Tired legs baby

It still sucks that I didn’t get the long run in that I had planned but I think it may have hurt me more if I would have pushed it.

Did you get your long run in today? Have you ever cut a long run short?

12 thoughts on “Just how long would a long run be if a long run was real long?

  1. I cut my long run short yesterday, too. I really think it’s so important to listen to our bodies – both physically and mentally – pushing hard, but not overdoing it. And when cutting a long run short happens, don’t dwell on it or think it a failure, just move on and do better next week. 🙂

    Hope you’re back to 100% Dion

  2. I’ve cut long runs short because of lighting, because of stomach problems, because of heat, because it just wasn’t the day to add more mileage. Less frequently, I’ve tagged on extra miles just because it was going so well.

  3. Don’t beat yourself up! It is a mental physical game we play . I ran the thin mint sprint yesterday and pr’d at 24:50 ( 5k) I was happy for a moment but perturbed also because it was Saturday and I really need to get in a long run ( 14 or 15) instead of 3.1. So I just woke up and did 6 ( before church) and ill probably go out later and do more…. I hate that my mind is always thinking that way. Flower you need to get some more rest and be 100% before pushing it again. I can talk a good talk!!! Take care!

    • Thanks Cheryl. I wish I would have seen you yesterday, I did run to the marina and saw all the girl scouts. Congrats on the PR, that is awesome! And I know how you feel about the Saturday thing. I think that way every time I have a race. Usually, I do my long run on Thursday if the race is on a Saturday and I’ll do it on Friday if the race is on a Sunday, then I have a day of rest in between. Are you running the Pretty in Pink 15K? Let me know if you are, I’d love to see ya there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *