Hitting the proverbial wall when running is never a fun thing. Quite the opposite of that, in fact.
I'm not entirely sure why, but lately I've been running headlong into a wall right around the 4 or 5 mile mark of most of my long runs. Needless to say, it's been a frustrating process trying to figure out how to get around this. I've had this happen on longer runs where around mile 10 I'd start feeling like I'm slowing down, but the past three or four times that I've gone out for anything above 6 miles, I end up feeling like there's just no gas in the tank a little over halfway through.
At first, I've tried adjusting what I eat before running, how much water I drink, how much I run in days leading up to my longer runs, and the time of day that I run, but nothing has seemed to help. I even tried bringing along some water and fuel on the run and it didn't help a thing.
My complaining aside, this brings up two pieces of advice that I picked up the hard way recently:
1) This is painfully obvious in retrospect, but when the temperature is 80 plus degrees and the humidity feels like you're running around a swamp, you have to drink more water.
I know this, you know this, second graders know this, but it can be easy to forget how much differently your body reacts to 90 degree weather as opposed to 50 degree weather.
2) Don't rush yourself. After my half marathon in April, I think I pushed my body to get back out doing hard runs too quickly and it's starting to catch up to me now. Thinking back, I don't think I waited a full week before trying to crank out reasonably high mileage runs. This comes back to listening to your body, which I've harped on in a previous post.
It could be that none of the things I've listed off are what I'm having problems with, but I'm running out of ideas so I've decided to take a very light week, just hitting some two and three milers to keep my legs stretched out so that I can try and get myself ready for The Bear on July 9th. Fortunately, I have some time to recalibrate a bit. It's also very nice that the race is in the mountains in the evening so I won't have to deal with the 80-90 degree heat and humidity that makes me feel like I might drown.