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The lazy marathoner: rain-soaked punishment for sleeping in

March 23, 2009 |  3:35 pm


The cornerstone of any marathon training program is the long run. So what do you do to make sure that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets in the way of your long run?

I typically try to log my long runs on Saturday mornings. The thinking being that if something goes wrong -- like, I forget to set the alarm, or my pillow holds me hostage -- I still have Sunday morning. That's because I learned the hard way that if I leave my long run for Sunday mornings, and something goes wrong -- see above -- my training is officially off-track. But apparently this is a lesson that I need to learn once more as I train for the L.A. Marathon.

On Friday night, I followed my typical routine for an early morning run. I planned a course: I would start in Seal Beach and run to the Huntington Beach Pier and back for a total of 10 miles. I laid out all my running gear. I charged up the Nano and the Forerunner. I tucked a packet of mango-flavored GU in my fanny pack and prepared a post-run snack of dates and yogurt. The coffee pot was ready to go -- all I had to do was flip the switch. The car was gassed up, the alarm was set for 5:30 a.m.

And when it rang at 5:30 I turned it off and went back to sleep. (I told you I was the world's laziest marathoner.)

But it was okay, right, because I still had Sunday?

So Long Run, Take 2. I repeated all of the above. When I woke up Sunday morning I felt smugly rewarded for waiting a day: The skies were overcast and gray, and that's my favorite running weather because I don't have to worry about the heat or reapplying sunscreen.

There were a few drops of rain on my drive to Seal Beach, but it cleared up soon enough.
I found the beach much windier and chillier than I expected. Luckily, I had a heavier running jacket stowed in my trunk, along with some gloves. I pulled them on, and headed out.

You see where all of this is going.

About a mile and a half in, the skies opened up. Soon enough, the rain was coming off the brim of my visor in sheets and running out the sleeves of that jacket that had only grown heavier with the rain. My running shoes were too water-logged to run -- I was squeezing out water with every step -- and I was afraid of slipping and falling. I just got myself back to the car as quickly as I could.

By the time I returned home to wring out my clothing in the sink, I was freezing, exhausted, frustrated -- and fretting that my mileage was falling behind.

So what are my choices? I could find a way to wedge in a long run tonight or tomorrow. (I'm not crazy about running by myself after dark, and I don't know anyone foolish enough to join me for a 10-mile-jaunt. Could I do 10 miles on the treadmill at the gym? Yikes.) Or, I could just forget about it and move on to this week's run, but I'm supposed to log 12 miles this coming weekend. But jumping from eight miles to 12 miles is, in my book, asking for injury.

More importantly, what can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again? I can't afford to lose any more mileage this close to the race.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Nope, that's not me. That's a file photo of a woman who was wise enough to miss all the rain while running along Huntington Beach. Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben.