As in, two long runs in a row. That's what I did this weekend. A 15 on Saturday, and a 22 on Sunday. I know it sounds crazy.
But it's purposeful. The whole idea is to get you used to running on tired legs. So you do a longish run on Saturday, and follow it with a really long run 24 hours later. In effect, your legs are pretty fatigued for your long run. Thus your body (and you) becomes acclimated to running through fatigue. It's not the most pleasant way to train, but it does reap major results come taper time.
I have done a lot of these back-to-back long runs on weekends, but I've never done as many as 15 one day followed by 22 the next. I think I've done a 13/22, but nothing quite this big. But, like I said, I've done it and never actually felt THAT tired during the second long run.
That was not the case today. There's one special variable this weekend, though. I did both long runs on the hellish hills of Buddha. Usually, if I have a big weekend like this, I try to do the shorter run on something a bit more flat. But this weekend I didn't. And my quads were as tired as they've been in a very long time.
This run was special because Tim and I got to run together. We rarely get to do long runs together, and it has been since before Eugene that we've run out in this area with one another (I'll never forget our last run out there--we had to traverse a river that had formed in the middle of the road due to flooding). My mom agreed to come babysit this morning at 6 a.m. so we could go together (thanks, mom!).
The first mile or so I thought I felt pretty good. A bit tight, but fine. Until we got to the I Street hill. Now, this thing is always going to be a pain in the ass. But today it was just off the charts bad. I had told Tim to go ahead of me on the hills, and he did. But I always try to secretly stay with him. I did manage to catch him by the top of the hill, but I could tell that it was going to be a long day out in Buddha.
I had stashed water, gatorade, and gels so that we didn't have to carry anything. I was really enjoying running with my husband, but I was also very aware of my legs. If the purpose of the double long run was to make my legs tired....mission accomplished.
Although they were really fatigued, my legs didn't hurt anywhere. Around the half way point, I actually got a surge of energy and announced that I wanted to go 22 miles--one mile further than the 21 we'd planned. Tim mentioned that he thought I had an illness. A sickness that causes me to always want to run longer than what I'm supposed to. It's true, but I usually don't let myself indulge. Today, even with tired legs, I wanted to.
When we hit Slaughterhouse (2 miles from home), I was questioning my decision to add a mile. My legs were just shot. But I was determined. I had taken in a ton of water and Gatorade, but I'm afraid I didn't take in enough gels. I took in two, but I should have had three. With only two miles to go, though, I wasn't going to waste the gel.
If we had run straight home, it would have been around 21.2 miles. So we added on a bit. The last half mile of this run was exceedingly difficult for me. But you need to put yourself through this in training. The race (if you're racing) is going to be uncomfortable at best, and utterly painful at worst. Best to get yourself used to it.
When we were about a quarter mile from home, I was suddenly very, very cold and very, very nauseated. It was not cold out. Quite the contrary. I must have been very dehydrated in spite of my efforts to keep that from happening. Luckily, we were close to home. I stopped the second my watch hit 22 and walked the last 100 meters to my house. Gatorade and water fixed me up.
So, if you're going to train on tired legs--your legs are going to feel tired. But they should (allegedly) feel good on race day. Makes it all worth it.