Blog Master G

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Ingredients for a 17-Mile Run

Sunday, September 7th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Some people think I’m crazy — and many of you have told me so — for running as much as I do. I know it’s a little nuts that I went from 0 to marathon with just 5 months of distance running.

And that I’m now following an intense training schedule — the Pfitz 55/18, an 18-week plan that peaks at 55 miles in a week — from an excellent book called Advanced Marathoning (follow that link and you’ll see that most of the book is available online, which I just discovered). As the title suggests, it’s not exactly a book for beginning runners or people who’ve only run one marathon and have been running less than a year (like me). But I like a good challenge.

I was pleasantly surprised when I recently re-read this Runner’s World Ultimate Marathon Training Plan and realized that, based on the runner type descriptions, I’ve gone from beginner to advanced marathoner in the course of about 8 months — a journey that apparently takes some people “three or four years:”

Advanced You’re a running veteran, someone who’s been at it for at least three or four years and logs 35 to 40 miles a week. You’ve regularly, if cyclically, included serious interval training in your regimen. You’ve raced them all from 5-K to the full marathon and now want to score that most prized runner’s achievement: the PR, the absolute fastest 26.2 miles you’re capable of.

Craziness aside, others of you, including some I’ve never met but who read my blog, are inspired by my new found passion for running.

Either way, it’s a great feeling to know that I’m both crazy and inspirational.

Last week we were in Portland, Oregon hanging out with llamas and partying with some of our San Francisco friends who were also there for Katie’s wedding, so I missed my scheduled 15-mile run.

This week I was determined not to miss my long run, so this morning I ran 17 miles to complete Week 5 of my intense training for my second marathon. Toward the end of my run, I started thinking about what goes into making a 17-mile (or longer) run. Quite simply: A lot of preparation, food, and hydration.

Here’s what helped me have an awesome run this morning:


  • 3 slices of mushroom pizza with side veggies & homemade-by-wife creamy salad dressing for dinner
  • 5:30am wake up; 6:54am start
  • 1 Happy Dingo (running partner for first 2 miles)
  • 1 slice of pizza & 1 banana for (first) breakfast
  • 2 taped-up nipples (to prevent chafing & bleeding)
  • Plenty of Body Glide (to prevent chafing in other key areas) & sunscreen
  • 2 Chocolate Outrage GU Energy Gel packs (after 45 and 90 minutes of running)
  • 3 podcasts (Real Time with Bill Maher; PRI’s TheWorld: Technology Podcast from BBC; 60 Minutes), followed by some techno, rap, and Tom Petty to power me through the final miles
  • 144+ ounces (1.125 gallons) of liquid (20+ oz. water, 12 oz. OJ, 8 oz. coffee before run; 40 oz. Gatorade & 20 oz. water during run; 16 oz. Gatorade, 20+ oz. water, 8 oz. coffee after run — and counting)
  • 1 post-run PowerBar Protein bar
  • 20 minutes of post-run lower body soaking in ice bath (for muscle recovery)
  • 1 bowl of cereal for second (post-run) breakfast
  • An iron-willed resolve not to stop running until reaching the goal


Mix together all ingredients in proper order and don’t stop running until you’ve reached your goal mileage (hydration breaks are OK, which I did after 10 miles, as well as once before the 10-mile mark and once or twice after).


  • Record mileage week: 47.33 miles
  • 2,108 calories burned (more than the average person eats in a day)
  • 2 hours, 23 minutes of running
  • Solid training pace of 8:24/mile (not to be confused with my goal marathon pace, which is quite a bit faster)
  • Satisfaction of one awesome run

Here’s the run data for today’s run from my Garmin Forerunner 305 (I reviewed it here):

17-mile run data

One of my goals lately has been to work on even pacing with strong finishes in the final miles. From page 120 of Advanced Marathoning:

These basics of marathon physiology indicate that the best strategy for the marathon is relatively even pacing. If you run much faster than your overall race pace for part of the race, then you’ll use more glycogen than necessary and will likely start to accumulate lactate. If you run much slower than your overall race pace for part of the race, then you’ll need to make up for this lapse by running faster than the most efficient pace for another portion of the race. The optimal pacing strategy, then, is to run nearly even splits, taking into account the idiosyncrasies of the course you’ll be running.

If you scan down the Avg Pace column above, you’ll see that my pacing is pretty damn even — with a steadily increasing pace in the final 3 miles (8:06, 7:54, 7:47).

It’s also cool to see that my peak speed this morning was 10.5 miles per hour. Sweet.

Tags: running

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Megan // Sep 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Hi Gabe! I’m still so inspired by your running…and though you’re way beyond anything I could imagine doing myself, I am committing to running the Maui marathon with TnT next September. Kelly has me on a running schedule for our first run – the Bridge to Bridge in Oct – so I’m doing a whopping 30 min every other day. I gots to start somewhere, right? 🙂 Cheers to getting off my booty!

  • 2 Blog Master G // Sep 8, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    That’s so awesome, Megan!! Too cool that you’re inspired by my running and planning to run your first marathon!!! Woohoo!! Good for you. 🙂

    I’m sure the Maui marathon will be simply awesome and gorgeous, too!!

    Keep me posted on your progress!

  • 3 Dan // Sep 14, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Hey Gabe:
    Geez you’re really hooked. I’m kicking my running back in and someday I’ll do my second marathon. For right now the stockadeathon is my longest upcoming run – I’m still getting back into shape but I challenged a friend to a 5K race and she’s in way better shape than me so I’ll have to drop weight and kick the running in. Take care Gabe.