When 20 miles turned into 16.

My mind has been in a million different directions about pulling the trigger on a marathon in September. I’m not totally properly trained to PR for it, but thought if I hit this 20 miler I had today how I wanted, that it would be possible. Not your typical 12-18 week training session for a marathon, but coming of my July 70.3, the endurance is fine, just needed to get the run time in. I know it’s a bit of a rush, but timing wise it’s really the only weekend I have free this fall to do a marathon. 

The 20 miles were going great. I felt strong, confident and was not worried about keeping pace. My plan was to w/u 1 mile, then run 3 X 5 miles at MP or slightly faster, with a 1 mile recovery mile between sets and 2 miles c/d. 

I did go out the first set a little fast, but I felt like a million bucks. I felt like a runner who is much tougher than I actually see myself. Then I got to mile 13. That is way to early to bonk on a 20 miler. But it happened. I know it looks like I went out way to hard on my first set and maybe I did a bit, but I really believe on the right day, I would have been able to own the last set of 5 at that pace or faster. I my head, on my second set, I was honestly trying to conserve a bit so that I could dominate the last set. whomp, whomp.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 7:47 (warm up)

Mile 2- 6:57 
Mile 3- 7:02 
Mile 4- 7:03 
Mile 5- 7:02 
Mile 6- 6:59 

Mile 7- 7:36 (Recovery Mile) 

Mile 8- 7:00 
Mile 9- 7:03 
Mile 10- 7:05 
Mile 11- 7:07 
Mile 12- 7:18 

Mile 13- 7:48 (recovery mile) 

Here, I decided, I’d take an extra recovery mile and regroup. The nice things about hitting 86th street heading south on the monon is you are shaded and there starts to be a very slight downhill. You wouldn’t necessarily know it but your pace will prove it to you every time. Unless you have the run I had today…. So I thought I could maybe hold it together, but this is what happened next:

Mile 14-7:37 
Mile 15- 7:58 
Mile 16- 8:33


When I hit 16, I stopped for a minute to regroup evaluate what was going on. I NEVER stop to do that. I just slow down if I need to. I hate stopping. But right then, I needed to and I made the decision to call it day. I felt incredibly dehydrated. I’ve had an annoying cold since Wednesday. It felt at it’s worst yesterday and I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. But, when I took gel and had some water around mile 13 I felt heavy in the head and a little dizzy. The cold was like “hey remember me, I’m still invading your body haha, try running 7 more miles, I dare you.” So I tried. 

Back at mile 13 when I started feeling iffy, I really thought I could muster up around a 7:15 pace for five more miles. I thought perhaps I’d break the set of five into a couple smaller sets to wrap my mind and body around it. But it just wasn’t happening. 

I asked a nice lady walking her dog if I could use her phone to call Glenn and he and Marshall came and got me. Glenn never gives me a pity party. Like ever. So, that’s fine, but I felt like crying and just wanted to curl up and sulk because I felt so terrible. I just wanted to be a baby ok. Well the only baby in the car was in the back seat and he was crying and Glenn was just like “get over it.” Tough love at it’s finest. 

I don’t know what the conclusion of this run will be. I’m tapering now for the Indy Women’s half in two weeks and the marathon I was thinking about running is two weeks after that. There really won’t be time to get a solid 20 before. Yes, I could get to 20 the day I run that half- but I plan on running that race so hard that the thought of running cool down miles would make me throw up. 

The race I’ve really trained to PR at is the half. I can’t help but think it weather is good I could pull off a nice little PR in the marathon two weeks after that. The conditions just straight up sucked at Shamrock in March. I’ve sad it a million times, but I’ve never in my life ran in a headwind like that and without it, at this marathon, I think I’d have a fair shot at 3:10. What sucks is I was using this 20 miler as my real gauge to see what my body would tell me. 

So there’s that. I think I’ll reevaluate again after the half in two weeks. 

What I know is- I really hate quitting. I’m really not a big fan of the phrase “listen to your body” because if we did that all the time, we’d quit a lot more. We wouldn’t push nearly as hard as we are capable. I’m not being a grouch by saying that- there are certainly times when you need to. Today was truly a day that I needed to listen to my body. I seriously would have shuffled in at 9 minute miles, feeling dizzy and terrible and what would be the point of that. I honestly can’t remember a time that I’ve ever just quit a long run early. I’ve slowed down and finished in a pace slower than I wanted, but I’ve never just stopped in the long run. I did that today- I walked of shamed it from 75th to Broad Ripple Ave. where Glenn and Marshall came and got me. That’s ok, but yeah I’m a little bummed. 

Stay tuned about that marathon, I like making last minute decisions sometimes. 

Have you ever quit a workout? Why? 

To you- when does the phrase “Listen to your body” really mean you need to stop? 


  1. Don’t beat yourself up too hard, gal – you were/are sick!! Don’t forget that you’re a super badass runner. It doesn’t always go as planned, but you still rocked the miles you did put in. 🙂 Feel better.

    1. Thanks Michelle! I appreciate it- I can’t help but wonder if I would have ran that first set in more like 7:10-7:15 if I would have lasted- I’m not sure I would have either way. It wasn’t a “this hurts, I feel like slowing down” it was like “holy crap, I’m sucking wind and I can’t run an 8 minute mile, let along consider jumping back into another set of 5 at MP!” I hope your 20 was awesome this weekend!!!

    2. Wait, I totally thought you were doing 20 this weekend- but now I’m looking at your facebook page and I think I’m wrong!

  2. I think you’re smart enough and in-shape enough to know when to stop. Clearly you’re not one that uses the phrase “listen to your body” to wimp out often. You’re still kinda my hero right now 🙂

    1. Hi Kassi! Thank so much! It’s so true- if I “listened” to my body, I’d be running a lot slower in my speed work! The body sometimes wants you to stop and the mind has so much more control than we give it credit for sometimes! Thanks for following along!

  3. I can understand this and really don’t beat yourself up too hard. We all have those days in our training cycle. I have been really not in the best place with my marathon training either so I understand this.

    Listening to your body for me means that you aren’t going to do anything dumb. If I’m feeling dehyrated or undernutritioned (can that even be a verb?) I’m not going to go for a long run where I could pass out…or run when I’m injured. Does it mean I’m going to work through cases of the lazies? Yes.

    1. Hi Hollie- thanks! 🙂 Undernutritioned can totally be a verb in our world. haha! Getting over the lazies, that’s tough sometimes… but almost always worth it..

  4. It happens….if you know, you know. YOu could obviously run a marathon either way. If you want to run a full, just do it. You know you CAN.

    1. I know I can run it either way, but I don’t want to run a miserable 5 minutes slower than PR kind of race you know? I could do it just for fun, but HMMMMMM.

  5. Hmm. I don’t think this particular 20 miler is a good indicator, because it wasn’t a long run – it was a race specific workout. 15 miles at MP as part of a long run is asking A LOT. Even 10 miles at MP is asking a lot. But all the same, if it were me, I would be really nervous about running a marathon without hitting 20 miles. But you know yourself best!

    1. You are so right- this is not a good indicator based on the circumstances, I wish I had time to squeeze one in. We’ll see what happens! I did this exact workout as one of my key runs for the Shamrock marathon back in March and it was a really great confidence booster for the race itself- 15 at MP is NO JOKE!

    2. Yeah, I totally filed that one away to use if / when I ever do another marathon! If I could hit all 15 at MP I’d go into that race expecting to WIN IT!

  6. That is a really tough workout for not having a lot of long runs already under your belt. Plus it looks like the MP pace was more like 3:03 or faster than 3:10… so I think those 2 reasons could be why by mile 16 your were gassed. I think anyone in your situation would be. That’s a pretty aggressive 20 mile workout. I give you a lot of credit for giving a hard go! Sounds like you have a half PR in a couple of weeks! Tough call on the marathon.

    1. Yeah- you are totally right about the MP- I am notorious for doing workouts at MP much faster than what my real goal is. I guess it’s because I “secretly” want to break 3:05… although I know it’s not realistic like the 3:10 is at this time with where my training is! Thanks for the support! 🙂

  7. Lindsey the runner should listen to Lindsey the coach. Seriously. Here’s what you would tell me: Not every run is going to be the fastest or the best; It’s okay not to run on a scheduled day if something else comes up (like a cold); Have fun with your running.

    All your wise words are working like a charm for me. Tomorrow will be a better day and a better run.

    1. Hey! Just sent you an email- you might not like it all (I’m encouraging the treadmill… ahhh!!) You are right Belle, I need to be flexible. Was going to do the run yesterday but took a rest day instead to kick the cold… it was still lingering worse than I thought today though… boo!!! Congrats on your mile PR and your nice steady 7.5 today… you are kicking butt.

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