Training for the Columbus Marathon: August Mileage + Safely Finishing 16 Miles

Training for the Columbus Marathon: August Mileage + Safely Finishing 16 Miles

Training for the Columbus Marathon during August is, well, first off done. And secondly, whoa, that was a hot month of training.

Training for the Columbus Marathon: August Mileage

See? 96.2 miles (which, how funny is that next to the 69.2 of July?), 10,851 calories burned, 6,979 feet climbed, and 18 hours spent running. Eighteen hours. That’s a lot of hours, you guys. That’s a lot of my August spent running.

August in Ohio is hot and sticky and humid, and everything Amy Turn Sharp so eloquently writes. Running in the heat still remains difficult for me, but I feel like I’m coming into my own when it comes to the higher temps.

Take for example my 16 miler on Sunday. I planned out a great, albeit challenging, route. I started a little later than originally planned due to a technology problem (my phone didn’t charge overnight!) and, well, I’m still struggling with insomnia. I decided to break the run into segments. I planned four miles for the neighborhood, at which point I’d head back inside, pick up my (still refrigerated) water belt, drink some water, cool a bit, and then head off on the next segment, which involved six hilly miles to Rite Aid. At mile eight, after running a large segment in the sun, I chose to walk for a half mile.

Jenna of three years ago or even two or even one, wouldn’t have chosen to walk a segment. I would have kept pushing through the overheating, and then totally exploded when it came time to get up the hill to Rite Aid. It wouldn’t have done me any good either, as my yoga teacher reminded me that once you hit your personal “too hot” point, you’re not longer doing your body any good. You’re not retaining muscle memory. You’re not pushing your personal threshold for endurance. You’re not improving. In fact, you’re setting yourself up for injury.


And so I walked that half mile, finishing up that six mile segment with a decent run. I cooled off and used the facilities in Rite Aid, bought two bottles of water, drank one while sitting outside and used the other to refill my water belt.

Then I decided that running back the route I came felt like a bad choice with the temps already in the low 80s and one episode of overheating. I chose to break my final six mile segment into two three milers. I ran three miles home (well, when I shuffled up the driveway, my mileage sat at 13.26) and blubbered at my husband that I couldn’t complete my 16 miles. He handed me both water and cold Gatorade and told me why he thought I could and should finish my run.

I sat and cooled off and agreed with him, but decided to take it very slow with pauses if I needed to as the sun was back out full force and the temps hovered around 86 degrees.

I finished my 16 miles, very slowly and without overheating. I took two pauses in shade to cool down and I don’t even feel badly about it. The point wasn’t to push myself so hard during this run resulting in an injury that keeps me from running 26.2 in October. The point was to practice moving for 16 miles. Hopefully, mind you, the weather situation will feel quite different in mid-October. Otherwise, I’m going to take awhile to finish this race!

My husband than ran me an ice bath, which my hips and very crampy calves felt thankful for, and then I went about the rest of my day which, of course, included a nap.

I’ve come a long way. I know many others who are both faster than me and can run their long runs without pausing to refill water or cool down a bit while walking. That’s not me. Running my own race involves taking care of my personal thermostat which is always locked on high. I’ve learned so much about how I run and what I need when I run. I’m so proud of myself for finishing that training run—and thankful for a husband who knew how badly I wanted to finish. Without his patient reminders, I might have cashed it in.

Hooray for safely sticking it out. On to September!


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