With spring marathon season upon us, runners are finishing up their last long run, tapering, or basking in the glow of hanging another medal on their rack. For those who didn’t run a spring marathon, but are running this fall; or for those who enjoy running multiple marathons per year (I like your style), you’re probably already thinking ahead to how you’re going to approach your long runs this summer.
For more detailed information on my thoughts on the long run, check out my post, We’re In It For The Long Run, on my Coaching Tab. In it I also discuss the benefits of running long, when to schedule and how to build up the distance, and keys to successful point-to-point long runs.
Today, though, we’ll simply focus on ways to survive your long runs. As someone who’s run forty marathons, I obviously have many long training runs under my belt, and over the years I became quite the expert on what worked and what didn’t. As a self-proclaimed long run junkie, I’d love to share what I learned over the years to make those long runs my favorite run of the week.
Surviving the long run and finishing a happy person:
1. Be selective in choosing who you invite to join you on your long run. A long run can be made or broken, depending on the company. I have to admit that I’ve been very lucky with always having positive training partners, but that’s because the Cruisers rock! I couldn’t imagine listening to someone complain for twenty miles.
2. Carefully plan your course. If you love familiarity like I do, pick a course you’ve run before so you’ll know what to expect around the next corner. If you get tired of running the same old course and like surprises at every turn, use an app like MapMyRun to plan out a course in advance. If you’re really brave, turn on your GPS and just start running while taking in the sights.
3. Dress for success! Layering is the key to not under or over-dressing for your long run because there’s nothing worse than running eighteen miles with cold wet hands – believe me, I know. Check out my post, A Flat Runner Guide For Dressing For Your Run. In it, I share tips for what to focus on when selecting your running clothes, how to layer, and I even have examples of outfits laid out for varying temperatures.
4. Leave water, fuel, wipes, etc. at designated spots along the course so it’s waiting for you as you run by, lightening up your load. Be sure to write your name on it and hide it so it’s not stolen, though, because once the Cruisers and I had an entire Igloo Playmate (affiliate link) filled with ice cold Gatorade taken. We made two mistakes that day – we didn’t have our name written in huge letters across our cooler and we left it in plain sight right next to the trail parking lot beside a little country store. On the other hand, there were many times that our well marked fuel and drinks were left alone for us to enjoy!
5. Go into your long run with a positive attitude and focus on how the long run is helping prepare you for race day. Plan to have fun by thinking about the adventure that lay ahead and how you’re going to rule the trail. Remind yourself that you’re lucky to be able to complete such a feat and that very few people are fortunate enough to start their days outside getting to watch the sun rise while listening to the songs of happy birds.
6. Plan a party for the end of your long run so you have a carrot that keeps pulling you along. Prepare a tailgate of bagels, fruit, water, and orange juice or stop at your local 7-Eleven on your way home for some well deserved chocolate milk. If you’re running with friends, go out to breakfast.
7. If you start your run at zero dark thirty, keep reminding yourself the you can take a guilt-free afternoon nap – if your family will let you!
- What do you consider a long run? ~ Ten miles or longer for me…
- Do you enjoy long runs?
- Are you racing this weekend? ~ I’m not, but I’ll be cheering on the runners at the Loudoun Half!
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