On my long run last week I had forgotten to take the walk break on the first couple of half-miles and had been doing it just once per mile. This week I forgot about it entirely for the first few miles and spontaneously decided to abandon the Gallowalking. It sounds good theoretically, but I did my first three marathons without it, and I haven’t been noticing any benefits. Galloway talks about people beating their best marathon times by a lot when they implement his method. BUT – how was their pace before? If you’re going out too fast and walking the last three or four miles, run/walk could definitely improve your time. If you’re pacing yourself well, as I do, it’s not as clear how it would help, unless you make a point of running faster during the run segments – and that would make it harder to know what’s left “in the tank” for me. The approach I use, where I pretend that the first 20 miles of the marathon is the last training run and the 6.2 is the actual race, has worked really well. Here’s someone reporting on exactly that – he concludes “Galloway’s method helps runners, even some good ones who run in the 3:00 range, to run faster marathons…..even, ostensibly, by large amounts…..simply because they haven’t learned or aren’t disciplined enough to run good marathons without them.”
Going back to walking only while drinking, combined with my photo and map-checking stops, seems just as good as extended walk breaks, and the 10 miles went by easily without much fatigue. I was super-thrilled for my pace to naturally match the 13:44 I need to finish in 6 hours! It was a rainy morning, so that helped. I’m glad I’ve been getting up at 4:30 on Sundays; I don’t actually get out the door until well after 5, but so far that’s still gotten me home, with bagels, early enough to feel like the day isn’t gone.
31.79% of Easthampton! (Still in 5th place.) I got in some long roads, the entire eastern corner (a narrow little “handle,” so easy to complete), some nice residential streets, and all of the Harvest Valley Condominiums. It’s a tremendously boring development with so many almost-identical houses, but the gardens were nice, the main street is “Lazy ‘D’ Drive” (love a lazy letter!), the views of Mount Tom would be awesome on a clear day, and it led me to identify a trait of newly developed neighborhoods that I’d been sort of aware of without thinking about: offset cul-de-sacs branching off a main road are really easy for things like plowing, deliveries, and running every street. You just go straight, left, straight, right etc. until you’re done; no possibility of getting in a loop or skipping a street.
I’m trying the 90 free days of Fitbit Premium so I get access to some data I didn’t have before (sleeping heart rate etc.), but nothing seems particularly interesting. Mostly they market the workouts etc., which I might explore. The main new number, though, is a proper timed mile on the Smith College track, now that I’ve researched the markings (this was the most helpful site): 10:18. On the one hand, that’s faster than my approximately timed miles earlier this year. On the other, it’s significantly slower than my fastest 5K (Westfield in 2018, so not that long ago: 9:37!). And although I told myself I’d start at 60% effort and move up, either my “dial” is broken or I don’t have the same stamina I used to, because I was only able to pick up the pace at the last half-lap. Oh well!
I vaulted into 5th place at CityStrides for Easthampton – 24.86% of streets. It will take me a long time to move up one more notch, as the current 4th place runner is at 54.34%. Some minor fun things – see below – and I found the new-ish Easthampton fish ladder, which I’ll return to some spring when it’s open for visitors.
My guideline for when to start planning hydration on a run used to be eight miles/90 minutes, but now that I’m slower I’ve moved it down to seven. For my first marathon I used Gatorade, for the second water and gels, and finally water plus dates for the New York Marathon, which worked best of all. Huge advantage: not having to clean sports drink out of my CamelBak reservoir… But I’ve been doing so well with exercising in a fasting state that I’m exploring electrolytes without calories.
Now that I’ve been doing my “eating window” (start eating at noon or later, stop around 8 or 9) for years, my body is very well-adapted to it and, subjectively at least, my blood sugar levels feel rock-solid. I’ve followed a normal long run (5-6 miles) with several hours of biking and hiking before eating anything, and felt totally fine (way better than in the old days when I’d eat breakfast first, fuel after a long run, and still be wiped out for the rest of the day). Jeff Galloway’s Marathon! is full of “eat a PowerBar to raise your blood sugar” (literally, he recommends keeping levels high by eating every 30-60 minutes all day) but that wouldn’t be good for me. This article confirms that it can be good to train while fasting, but recommends fueling for the longest training runs. I have races scheduled starting in week 12, so probably I’ll add dates back in to the 16-mile long run in weeks 10 and 11 if I don’t experience any problems until then. I do worry about losing electrolytes through sweating, and I want to be mindful of my one hard-working kidney! My local running store carries SaltStick products so I got the caps (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D). I took one capsule an hour into my 7-mile run and felt fine. I’ll plan on one every hour of running, but I also stuck a gel in my pack just in case I end up bonking as the runs get longer.
This week took me to #10 in Easthampton on Citystrides (16.76%). I mostly covered the industrial area (found the Topatoco building) and some suburban streets – nothing spectacular but fun as always. I’m definitely at the upper edge of a pace that will let me finish Hartford in under 6 hours (13:44 max!), so it may be tougher to keep running marathons as I slow further with age. Comparing to week 3 of training in previous attempts, I’m around 2 minutes per mile slower than 2004, 1.5 minutes slower than 2015, and 1 minute slower than 2018. An extra reason to enjoy each one I get to do. I see the Walt Disney World Marathon is a 7-hour course… and here’s an old list of “Time Friendly Marathons,” so there must be others. Old Colony Marathon is listed, in Springfield – aha, it’s now in Westfield but it’s 14 laps, no thank you!
Exploring Easthampton is great – I’m so glad I picked this as my challenge. It’s fun moving up the CityStrides ranks quickly at the beginning. I went from 22nd place to 15th and doubled the percentage covered (12.14% of the streets) by knocking off a lot of short streets. The low-hanging fruit won’t last forever but it’s fun. I found a new conservation area to come back and explore (Pomeroy Meadow Conservation Area), vicariously enjoyed amazing gardens, saw tons of bunnies, and amused myself puzzling over why the years on the fence at Williston seem to be in random order (answer: it was originally tied to meeting a fundraising goal per class). The Williston gateway has a plaque for William Leonard Pitcher, class of 1891, “with the happy knack of making people feel better” (reminds me of Jonathan!) My favorite find was Wonky Owl Farm. I also spotted a bunch of mushrooms I’m pretty sure were king bolete (Boletus edulis), which I’ve always wanted to try, but they were on someone’s lawn (South Street near Glendale) so I’d need permission to pick them and I didn’t have a knife or bag anyway. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go back someday.
Avg pace/fastest split
Tue 6/29 (82°F/81%)
Gave blood later that day but it didn’t have much of an effect based on subsequent numbers, yay!