A New Running PDR: 22 Miles!

On Saturday, I set a new running PDR (personal distance record): my friends and I ran 22 miles!

22 mile run

This was our last super long run before the Richmond Marathon in 3 weeks! I know a lot of people do 20 miles as their longest run before a marathon, but since this will be the first full marathon for me and my friend Kathleen, my running coach Mary wanted to make sure we would feel prepared. 22 miles it was!

We originally had two 20 milers and this 22 miler in our marathon training plan (click that link to read more about it), but I only did one of the 20 milers a month ago because the weekend of the second 20 miler I was having some weird foot pain. I’ve decided it must have been a bruise, because it’s totally fine now. I’m so relieved! We also did the Tough Mudder last weekend, though, which was “only” 11 miles but I feel like that counted as a super long run since we were on our feet on the course for 3.5 hours. Right?!


It was a gorgeous day for a run on Saturday – cold but sunny. My training buddies Kathleen, Rachel, and I all met up at 9 a.m. in the Roosevelt Island parking lot on the Mt. Vernon Trail, ready to go.


It had been awhile since all 3 of us ran together due to travel and such, so it was great to be reunited. :) I love running with these ladies!

We decided to run up towards Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail for this week’s adventure, so we ran over Key Bridge…


Down onto K street past the Key Bridge Boathouse and onto the trail.


We quickly settled in and enjoyed the fresh air and conversation. I love this photo below. <3 We had the trail practically to ourselves on Saturday morning – everyone was probably at home resting up for the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday!


Running this way on the trail is challenging, because it’s slightly uphill all the way to Bethesda (it’s about 8 miles one way, I think, from the entrance in Georgetown to Bethesda). My legs were definitely feeling it but I reminded myself how awesome the downhill would be on the way back. :)


For fuel for this run, I did what’s been working for me on previous long runs: I start with a mocha Clif Shot Gel (added caffeine – yay! I don’t usually have coffee before early runs so this is nice), then move on to margarita Shot Bloks (added salt and good amount of carbs, plus they taste awesome), and then near the end of the run (around mile 16 or 17 usually) when I’m sick of those and want real food, I eat a Cascadian Farm chewy granola bar. I ate 1 and a half of those at the end of our run. It worked well! And before our run, I had a piece of toast with almond butter and a sliced banana.


I also wore my Nathan HPL 020 hydration vest for water, as usual. It holds 2 liters and I usually drink just about all of it through these long runs, sipping whenever I feel like it. A blog reader commented on my Instagram page that she contacted Richmond race officials and hydration packs ARE allowed for the race. Whew!!! I was getting worried since they have been banned at some of the really large marathons this fall. All three of us are planning to wear our hydration back packs for the race!


Once we ran through Bethesda, we continued on the trail until we hit mile 11 and then turned around. It was so beautiful out with the fall colors and the sunshine.


You guys know I’m normally a very social/chatty runner, and the ladies and I always have fun talking doing runs, but it’s funny because we all suddenly get quiet usually around mile 15 or so on these long runs without even really realizing it. As Rachel said, “I think we’re all digging deep right now, huh?” There’s something very soothing about being out running with friends in silence, though, after going that far together. Even if you aren’t talking the whole time, you know they are still there for support.

Another thing that I’ve noticed about running this far is that it’s fascinating how quickly your mood will swing. One second I’d be like “Ughhhh are we done?” and then the next second: “This is awesome, yay!” It’s so weird. It’s like you have less energy to buffer how you’re feeling.


Instead of running down on the Capital Crescent Trail on the way back, we hopped up on the C&O Canal (my old friend!), which runs parallel to the other trail. It’s nice because there aren’t any bikers so we could run 3 deep with no problem. Again, we practically had it to ourselves since everyone else in the city was resting up for the race!


We stopped for a quick stretch break and a photo at mile 20, pictured below. We also stopped a few times earlier in the run (untimed) – once for a bathroom break, and a couple times to stretch. Even just stopping briefly seems to really help with soreness, so we’ll probably take at least a couple really fast stretch breaks during the marathon, too.


I love this part of the trail. So gorgeous!


Before we knew it, we were running back over Key Bridge towards our cars.


And then we were done. 22 miles – had we seriously just run that far?!



  • Mile 1: 9:18
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 9:05
  • Mile 4: 9:09
  • Mile 5: 9:40
  • Mile 6: 9:59
  • Mile 7: 9:40
  • Mile 8: 9:37
  • Mile 9: 10:34
  • Mile 10: 8:53
  • Mile 11: 9:12
  • Mile 12: 8:53
  • Mile 13: 9:27
  • Mile 14: 11:12
  • Mile 15: 8:52
  • Mile 16: 8:57
  • Mile 17: 9:01
  • Mile 18: 8:56
  • Mile 19: 9:00
  • Mile 20: 9:20
  • Mile 21: 9:33
  • Mile 22: 9:06

As you can see, our pace varied some based on the hills, but I was really pleased, especially with the last few miles. We’re aiming to do 9 minute miles on race day, so this is right on track for a training run! Total distance: 22 miles. Total time: 3:26:38. Average overall pace: 9:23 minute/miles.


So proud. We’re all feeling ready and excited at this point. For some reason 22 miles felt a lot different confidence wise for the race than 20 did. When we finished 20 I felt like, wow, we still would have a LONG way to go. Finishing 22, we all felt like we could just have done the damn thing and finished the last 4 miles that day! I know that running “only 4 more miles” is still pretty legit when it comes after just having run 22 miles, but I’m still feeling optimistic. And now, to taper!

On the docket next: a 5 miler and a 6 miler this week, and a 12 miler next weekend – potentially in Central Park since we’ll be in NYC spectating the marathon! Then it’s time for serious tapering – two more short-ish weekday runs next week, followed by an 8 miler the weekend before the race. In between, I’ll be doing some yoga and swimming. Then the week of the race, I’ve got a 3 mile run and a 2 mile shake out. And then: 26.2! Eeee!!

Is it November 16 yet?!

Who else got in a good run or ran a race this weekend? How’d it go?


  1. 1

    Yay! So very excited for you, A! And YES! Definitely LR in Central Park, it is such a magical place to run :D

  2. 2

    Congrats on the PDR!!! Happy to hear it went well – you definitely seem ready for 26.2! I just found out that my boyfriend and I will be in Richmond the weekend of the marathon. His brother-in-law is running it, so we will be out there cheering him and you on!!!

  3. 4

    Congrats! I can’t fathom running 22 miles, at all. The longest I’ve done is 13.1, and the longer training runs for a half seem to take over my weekends. After running 10+ miles I’m always just tired and hungry for the rest of the day, and tend to spend a lot of time snacking on the couch. Are you able to get stuff done on long run days at all or are you like me and just become a total couch potato?

    • 5

      I hear you! Getting up into runs this long I definitely find it hard to be productive the rest of the day, too. I spent an hour napping and another couple hours relaxing on the couch before heading to a party on Saturday night.

  4. 6

    Congratulations on an awesome pdr!! You’re going to rock it!!

  5. 7

    I am so excited for you!!

  6. 8

    Congrats on the 22 miler! You are well-prepared for the marathon :)

    It’s amazing how empty-looking the Capital Crescent trail is the morning before the MCM. I ran in the marathon on Sunday and had a great experience! I highly recommend it for next year!

  7. 10

    Awesome! Great job!

  8. 11

    I started couch to 5k again a month ago and sunday I had a gorgeous run outside in a park and had to really push through running 10 minutes, my longest time since last year when I was training for a 10k and injured myself. It was tough, but I was so glad I didn’t stop!

  9. 13

    Girl, you are amazing! I’m always so impressed with people who run long distances. My runs are usually 3-5 miles and after that my attention span starts to seriously dwindle. It sounds like you’re so prepared for Richmond and are gonna do really well!

  10. 14

    Great job! How nice to have friends to help you through those run.

  11. 15

    YA!! Congrats on your longest run. I bet having some running buddies really does help!

    Do you know wear any headphones? I think I would have the hardest time with not wearing them. When I ran my 10k I felt awful (I had a cold) and then I started getting side stitches it was only mile 2 and I was like how am I going to do this? Then Phillip Phillips home (Boston Bruins gave a Boston marathon tribute video too this song their first game back) came on that I added while waiting for the gun to go off…. and it helped me get trough the pain!! I am not sure I would have been able too if that song didn’t come on!

  12. 17

    To be honest, I can’t even imagine doing 22 miles, let alone a marathon. Sounds like it was a good run though.

  13. 18

    Congrats! I’ve only done 20-milers for marathon training. Seems like a good idea to add one more crazy long distance to my next marathon cycle!

  14. 19

    Congrats on your new PDR! I also set a new PDR on Saturday (7 miles – training for my first half), and completely sympathize with the mood swings during a long run. At one point I started questioning what I was doing, and why I ever made the decision to sign up for a half marathon. But towards the end of my run I was thrilled to know that I was so close to conquering another new goal, which fueled my energy to finish my planned distance.

  15. 21

    we did 22 this weekend too in charlottesville and it was gorgeous out!
    you are so right about mood swings, you’ll feel terrible at mile 12 and then awesome at 18
    congrats on finishing your final long run!! can’t wait for it to be here too!

  16. 23

    You’ve got great time! You seem so excited and genuinely happy in your pictures – and everything looks SO beautiful there! Jealous :)

  17. 24

    Wowsers!!! You must feel amazing! How do you feel physically after it? The Dublin Marathon was on here today! Such excitement!

  18. 26

    Congrats on your first 22-miler. You are SO ready for Richmond! Your adrenaline and desire to cross that finish line will get you those last 4 miles!

  19. 27

    Love reading the recaps of our runs! Thanks for documenting this adventure… and of course it’s amazing to have such wonderful running buddies! XO!

  20. 29

    Wow well done what an amazing sounding run! So good that you have training partners to run with, on long runs I find that is always easier – saying that the furthest I’ve done is 13.1 miles so can only imagine doing nearly double that!

    You are seriously going to rock this marathon!

  21. 30

    Way to go on your newest PDR! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your training run recaps and tips as I also prepare for my first marathon—this Sunday in NYC! :)

  22. 32

    Wow, congrats! That’s got to be an awesome feeling!

  23. 33

    You will rock it! I did 2 20s and just did my 1st marathon Sunday (MCM!!!!!!!!) it was incredible, and those extra miles fly by too! I didn’t stop to stretch but did walk through most water stops, which helped me nail my goal (under 4:15.) p.s. Mary is the best coach ever! :) :) :) Good luck and enjoy the taper.

  24. 35

    My husband, brother and I ran the Capital Crescent on Saturday morning as well (for our 20 mile run!). It was strange how quiet it was! I was concerned about the really cold temps but turned into perfect running weather! Will you carry your own fuel for Richmond? I’m trying to decide what to do.

  25. 37
    Roadrunner says

    Awesomely done! Thanks for the great report. Sounds like you’re ready for 26.2!

  26. 38

    You are so ready for your first marathon! Thanks for sharing your favorite running paths. I look forward to running in the area one day, including the Marine Corp Marathon.

  27. 40

    Sounds like you’re ready for the marathon :) You’ve got the speed and the strength and stamina. I think you will totally rock it. I’ve only gotten up to 20 miles in my training. I’ve got 18 this weekend, 14 next and then plan on doing 22 the following weekend before taper time. Aaaaaah!!! And I truly do get those running mood swings. Vary by mile and actually very by training run. I’m going to try the granola bar on my run this weekend. I and sooooo over chews by mile 15 it’s no joke.

    • 41

      Awesome! What race are you doing? Good luck out there, and def try the granola bars. They taste sooooo good by that point in a run!


  1. […] I’m in the beginning stages of tapering for the Richmond Marathon, which is now 2 weeks away. I did 22 miles last Saturday, and I was thinking I would do my 12 miler for this weekend in Central Park in NYC tomorrow (Matt […]

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