newdirection66I ran the Dexter-Ann Arbor 1/2 marathon last Sunday. I felt great most of the run. I enjoyed it. This is the third time for me. It's 13.1 miles.
A few friends and I did the same race last week -- not too bad, if you could avoid the potholes, but didn't you just love the hill up Maple at the end? That just wasn't right.
For myself -- a reluctant, but continuing runner, the breathing control and indeed the ability to run any distance at all for me is tied to watching my heart rate.
I got a Garmin 305 GPS watch back when I started training for my first half marathon (the aforementioned Dexter Ann Arbor run last week) and after plotting my speed and heartrate as well as noting how I felt, I found an excellent running window of between 150 and 169 BPM. If I start straying above 172, I start getting really tired and winded fast. If I stay under 170, I feel I can run forever (though the half marathon showed me that forever was actually about 12 miles -- the last 1.1 was pretty ugly, but I never stopped).
So now I split up my running time between distance and speed. When doing distance, I warm up slow for a mile or so and then let my heartrate monitor be my guide. The actual speed is not important, as long as I'm above 155 and under 170. I do find that the longer into a run you get, the slower you have to go to maintain that BPM you want (at the end of my first half marathon, I stopped checking my HRM because I just couldn't control it anymore). For speed, I do things like sprints and intervals that should technically/eventually lower my target HRM range and allow me to run longer.
Oh, and you really, really have to eat right the night before a long run. Get good carbs and some protein. Skimp on the carbs and you are screwed (well, at least for me, I am screwed).