Wednesday, September 23, 2015
10 Ways To *Almost Ensure Success On Your LONNNNGGGG RUN
I won't go into WHY you should be doing a long run in this post. That's for later. But here are a few ways to make sure you experience some success!
1. Lay out your running clothes the night before and admire them.
This is a special ritual for me. For someone who does not dress very well during the day (ask my friends, they'll tell you straight up that it's true), it's hilarious that I spend so much time picking out my running clothes. For one, they have to go together in terms of design. They also have to fit well and not bunch up between the legs or sag or roll down my side rolls because that's annoying. Most importantly, I have to feel like a badass in them, no matter how long or hard the run will be. Really, this is all about badassery.
2. Communicate with your spouse, significant other or family member. Or dog.
If you are concerned about spending so many hours away from your family, make sure that you have worked something out with your significant other and communicated your needs. When we were living in New Jersey and I my son was much younger, my husband understood that I needed to do my long runs (sometimes WAY early in the morning) before he got to do his weekend. Wifey must always be happy. ALWAYS. I expressed it as a need, and he understood.
3. Scout out your route the week leading up to the run. Daydream in a boring meeting if you must.
4. Make sure to let someone know exactly what your route will be.
This is purely a safety issue. Leave a note on your computer. Text a friend or relative beforehand with your exact route and when you expect to be home.
5. Get excited. Create a new playlist. Pump yourself up! (Sorry, this is three in one)
Imagine how you will feel mentally hours after your run. You may be tired and you may be sore. Heck, you may even be mad at yourself for cutting your run short a mile or two. But at the end of it all, you will have gone for a run. Nuff said.
6. Listen to your instinct/follow intuition.
If it feels weird, then it is. Trust yourself and your heart. Head back home.
7. Eat well and hydrate the day before.
It is important to have a good meal the day before. It is also extremely important to hydrate sufficiently. Your body will thank you for that during the run and during recovery! Find a carb-protein ration that works for your body. It may take some trial and error, but since everyone's body is different you must tune into YOUR body's needs.
8. Eat well DURING and AFTER the run.
If you are doing a really long run, you may need some actual food beyond gels to maintain your energy and endurance. Again, this is trial and error. Find food and hydration that works for you. My current favorite long-run real food item is Clif Bar Sweet Potato with Sea Salt Organic Energy Food with sunflower seed butter and other non-sweet yummy things. The electrolyte mix that works best for me is Tailwind. This has kept me going on a number of long runs. Experiment with real food...just stay away from the fiber. I have many stories...
9. Invite someone to run the same route with you-keep yourself and your friend accountable.
I run a lot more slowly than virtually all of my running friends, but many times we still start out our runs together, all of us at different paces. This is ok, unless you have the keys to the only car at the park or trailhead. Although I really enjoy running alone especially during my long runs, sometimes I enjoy the company of a few friends, even if we're running at different paces. It's nice to know that there are others out there struggling! Not like Schadenfreude, but more like, YEAH-WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER! Also, it's an added safety measure.
10. DO YOUR LONG RUN!
If you're training for a short or long race, it is always beneficial to do longer runs. This trains your body's aerobic system and allows for endurance to happen. I won't get into the science of aerobic conditioning and the oxidative energy system, but believe me, it's a thing. Just get out there and do it.
*There will be some runs that are simply not awesome. This is a fact of life. But you will never regret that you went out there and did it. (Unless you are running with the flu and that's a completely different thing. Been there, done that. Stupid decision. I got my run in, though.)