Fall Racing and Tackling Our 18-Miler

Hey, guys! I know I’m overdue with a New York City Marathon training recap (what else is new?) but I wanted to drop in because I felt it was time to announce a few of our plans for this season’s racing schedule!

Because now that it’s FINALLY fall, I’m starting to get pumped about running (and racing!) again. This is my most favorite time of year and I can’t even STAND my excitement! :-D

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A 70-degree run…YES!!!

In October, we’ll be running the Halloween Half Marathon, which is a new race and pretty much just another excuse for us to dress up like idiots. And I still have some big news in terms of our November racing plans, but before I get into that, I have an inquiry for you all!

So, this weekend, Todd and I will be running the Ocean City Half Marathon. It’s not too far from where we live, and as excited as I am for fall, I’m jonesing for one last beach weekend. :)

Photo credit: OCNJ.us

But the other reason is that this weekend’s training schedule calls for our big 18-miler…and I thought it could be kind of interesting to try tackling a long run as part of an actual race. The current plan is to run 5 miles before the race, and then complete the half marathon for a grand total of 18.1 miles. :)

Now, this is something we’ve never done before. For starters, we’re the type of runners who are always scrambling around the morning of a race, and typically arrive to the starting line just as the gun is going off…so getting up ridiculously early to log a couple of miles before a race has always seemed pretty much out of the question. And I DEFINITELY don’t want to continue running after the race is over because completing a half marathon = excuse to stuff my face with bagels or pretzels or chocolate milk or whatever delectable goodies happen to be awaiting me at the finish line. So, needless to say, I don’t think it’s a good idea to run 5 miles with post-race food sloshing around in my belly.

This was actually my cockamamie idea, and Todd told me I was batcrap crazy at first…but I think he’s warming up to the idea. I want to try this because I think it would really boost my confidence to see how I perform on a long run in a race-like environment. I’m obviously not planning to bust it or try to set any PRs or anything like that, but I think if I can prove to myself that I can keep a fairly solid pace for this race even after running 5 miles beforehand, then that will give me to confidence to tackle our final 20-mile long run and KNOW that my hard work this summer has paid off.

These guys will apparently be waiting for us at the finish line, haha
(Photo credit: Ocean City Half Marathon)

The race takes place on the boardwalk, and it’s a quiet little shore town, so I feel pretty comfortable about running on the boardwalk early in the morning before joining the other runners…even though it’s technically a new environment for us and I’m unfamiliar with the town. We’re staying in a hotel that’s practically right next to the starting line, so we don’t have to worry about parking or transportation on race morning. Since the race starts at 8:30, I figure it’s totally doable to head out for 5 miles around 7:15, fuel up with some Clif Bloks, maybe take a quick potty break, and then line up with our fellow runners to tackle the last 13.1.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it’s something I think I need to do for myself. Plus, I’m hoping that the spectator support and water stations and bathroom facilities and the excitement of the race atmosphere will make tackling this 18-miler a little bit more manageable (and even fun!) than running around the park countless times only to collapse on the living room floor afterwards. I know that I will push myself harder during an actual race, and probably not take as many walk breaks…and I think it could be excellent practice for us and a way to gauge where we are after all those grueling, HOT summer runs.

Oh, and let’s not forget that we’ll get a shiny new medal for our efforts! :-D

They still won’t reveal the actual medal…damn them, lol
(Photo credit: ocnj.us)

Bottom line? I crashed and burned during last year’s New York City Marathon. I want redemption. And I want to do everything I possibly can to avoid the meltdowns and panic attacks that are so often my downfall when running a marathon.

I think tackling one of our final long runs in an environment that more closely simulates race-day conditions will be good for me, mentally speaking…and will hopefully prove that I am READY for my next marathon! :-D

My question to you all is — who has added extra miles to a race for the sake of completing a long run, and do you have any tips/words of wisdom for us?!

Would you ever log miles before or after a race for the sake of completing a scheduled long run?

Be honest…have I completely lost my damn mind? ;)



  1. this is a great idea! I just signed up for my final long run before NYCM to be an actual marathon! I feel like my issue is the logistics of running-when do I stop for a potty break, what fueling do I need, etc and I am hoping by doing a long run in that environment, it will help me out!

    • Okay, see, now, I thought I was crazy…. ;)

      That’s AWESOME! I’m totally with you, and it can definitely be great practice!

  2. I think this is a smart way to get in all of your miles! I would totally would have done this if I could. I know Jenny at runjenniferrun.com frequently does this type of thing in marathon training and it works out well for her. Last weekend I had 20ish miles on my schedule and did 18 in the morning and then went and ran a 5K (didn’t race it but it was nice to spend a few miles with some other people).

    • Awesome! I’ll go backstalk her a bit to see if I can steal any tips, haha. ;)

      I figure it’s worth a try, and if it makes the 18 miles go by just a little bit faster, then it’s all good. :-D

  3. Wow, five miles before your half?!? I’m like you, always scrambling to get to a race on time. Good luck with both the miles before the race as well as the race itself.

  4. When I went to the Runner’s world festival a few years back, a group of girls that I was there with were in the midst of marathon training and they all went out to do a few miles before the race. At the time I thought that was just crazy! But now I hear of more and more people doing that type of thing. I guess you can say they are very dedicated to their training plan! I’m proud of you for being so dedicated! Good luck!

    • Haha, yeah, you could say that! For me, I’m just SO desperate to get through the last two LOOOOONG runs without incident, and I think finishing the 18-miler in the midst of a race might just do the trick! I totally need the boost of confidence, and I’m hoping the race atmosphere makes it a little more fun! :)

  5. Katherine Kovac says:

    As long as you’re not looking to PR, it’s a great idea! I’ve often signed up for 10ks or 15ks in preparation for a half, and I even know of a few local races that are out and back type courses and allow you to go back out and be supported if you need mileage afterwards. Living in a city (Chicago), I also sometimes like to run to a race start if it’s not far away and run back home afterwards.

    • Thank you! I definitely was NOT looking to PR, believe me…just to make the miles go by a bit more enjoyably. :-D I never thought to run to a race, such a great idea (if it’s close enough to do so, of course)!

  6. I was actually supposed to do this after that CRAZY windy channukah chalf we did, but yeah…that was NOT happening after that! I think I may have gotten on the elliptical for 30 minutes (after I thawed out!) to simulate the 3 miles I was supposed to do, but I’ve decided that race + extra miles for long run really isn’t for me.

  7. I crashed and burned at last year’s NYC Marathon, too! I was injured and toed the start line not having run in a month. I was incredibly disappointed. Wishing you the best for this year!

    Have a fabulous race this weekend!

  8. Your strategy is a good one! Ideally I like getting the miles done ahead of the half so I can enjoy myself after (I mean…all the goodies). BIH wasn’t ideal when I missed the earlier portion. I think last year I ran 5-6 miles before my Wineglass Half and at that time I ended up having my 3rd best half time. I guess warming up helped ;)

    • LOL, exactly. That’s AWESOME that you were able to finish so strong after 5-6 miles beforehand; it definitely wasn’t easy running a half after a 5-mile “warm-up” this weekend, lol.

  9. Hope you had a great race and warm-up run! I’ve done this a few times with extra miles before and/or after a race. I don’t think it’s crazy at all! I’ve run to the start or run back to my hotel from the finish. Once, I did both to get my mileage for the day. When you’re marathon training, you gotta do what you gotta do! Hope your training is going well!

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] 5 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, 1 Taekwondo class, and our 18-mile long run, which we tackled as part of the Ocean City Half Marathon. A full recap can be found here! [...]

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