Sunday, July 8, 2012

When Something Seems Amiss, Adjust! Adjust! Adjust!

There are times when things just don't go according to plan during a run. And yesterday was one of those days for me.

Saturdays are my normal long run days because I generally have more time for them than I do on Sunday. It's an awful rush for me sometimes to get 13 or more miles in on a Sunday and then get ready to be at church by 10 a.m. ... and then stay awake during the worship service. So, Sundays are my recovery run days.

This weekend, my schedule was thrown off by my son's baseball tournament. Knowing his game was not scheduled to start until at least 10 p.m. Saturday, I KNEW my Sunday run was out the window. So, I decided to tack on a few extra miles to Saturday's run to make up for it.

At 6 a.m. yesterday, I met up with my local running group with the intent to get 10 miles in. I knew it was going to be a hot one, but little did I know how hot. It was already 72 at 5:30 a.m. with high humidity, giving me a clue right away this was going to be a 'fun' run.

My normal goal pace from my long runs are from 9:45 to 10:15 per mile, and that's what I had in mind as I got underway. And during the first mile, all felt fine as I ran it in 9:53.

But things started going awry during mile 2.

The heat and lack of sleep was beginning to get to me. (NOTE: Didn't get to bed until midnight during my son's baseball game and was up at 5:15 a.m. for this run. Didn't want to put off run any later due to the heat forecast for the day.) I started to feel a little lightheaded and my stomach was beginning to feel wonky. Feeling this, I knew I needed to make a decision quickly among my only 3 options:

  1. Turn back and call it a day, making my run on 3.5-4 miles.
  2. Stay on current course - which would prevent me from refilling my water bottle until at least mile 8 or so.
  3. Adjust my route and slow my pace.
If you're a DailyMile friend of mine, you know I chose option 3. The 10-mile route I started out on manders around town but takes me away from public restrooms and the cooler of drinks. With as much as I was sweating and how hot I was feeling, I knew my 22-ounce water bottle was not going to make it past mile 6.

With my stomach feeling off, I didn't want to be too far away from a restroom in the event I needed to make a mad dash for it. 

That in mind, I altered my course to where I was no more than a half mile away from one of three public restrooms. My route now consisted of big loops around a couple different neighborhoods. I also headed back to the starting point where our running group had a large cooler of water and Gatorade, making sure I got there at the 10K point of my run.

In addition, I lowered my expectations of a 10-minute mile average to hoping to range from 10:30-11 minutes per mile.

This planned worked for me. As I got farther along in my run, I started to feel better and better in spite of the gallons I was sweating out. (Seriously, I was drenched by mile 2 and I could've filled my water bottle if I had wrung the sweat out of my shirt. Gross thought I know, just had to share. You're welcome.) When I got back to the cooler, I had just finished drinking my 22-ounces of water. I immediately downed 12 ounces of Gatorade and then refilled my water bottle with Gatorade before heading out for my final four miles.

The more I drank as I ran, the better I felt. I found this a little strange because I thought I was well hydrated before I went out. I had drank plenty of water the night before in preparation, plus I had drank a cup of coffee to wake up and 16 ounces of water before the run. Personally, I think the combination of the heat and lack of sleep worked a number on me.

In the end, things turned out well for me. I got my 10 miles in, going 10.15 miles in 1:46:07 for a 10:28 pace. 

Not only was this a good physical test for me in pushing my body to the limit, but it was also a great mental test - one that I'm sure I'll draw upon during my marathon training. 

I would also like to add the decision I made during this run to adjust my route, slow my pace and continue toward the goal of 10 miles is not the right one every time. Some days, calling the run off is best. And that might've been the case yesterday, but I didn't want to since I knew I would not be running today and I didn't want to get too far behind in my marathon training this early into the plan. This time it worked for me. 

The important thing to remember is to keep your options open and be willing and ready to adjust if things start going amiss during your run. 

Happy running!


  1. best way to go jay nice run

    1. Thanks! Appreciate the support and encouragement!

  2. Great post and listening to your body signals, Jay!

  3. Good job at being smart! Adjusting the pace is how I would have gone too. Having experience in a lot of different weather conditions really helps with the mental part and race day decisions, you never know what race day will really be like! :)

    1. Karen, that's an excellent point. You don't know what it's going to be like on race day. Thanks for the comment and words of encouragement.

  4. Great post man! We all need to learn to adjust and try to make the right choices! and you still got a great run in! @runreadrant

  5. Good, healthy advice. I usually do not try to push myself over the limits of my body, but then, miscalculations happen. I am a (mid)night runner (but anyway running at about 30 cels at summertime, as I am in Taipei), and I still know all too well what you mean by sweating profusely... during 15km run (78min) I can lose 2kg of water, 3% of my weight.