Good morning. Hello Monday.
Not sure how you like to wrap up the weekend, but we decided now that summer is pretty much almost here we’re going to end the weekends with family barbecues outside. Last night was our first one.
Pretty awesome. The man barbecued some bison burgers we got at Costco. I’ve been wanting to try to use grilled Portobello mushrooms as a bun forever so last night I went for it.
Definitely not the easiest thing to eat, but it was delicious.
So yesterday I went on my last long run before the SUJA Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon which seems kind of funny as I only did two longer training runs since the 2014 Big Sur Marathon. There hasn’t been much time in between, but it made me think about long runs a bit. I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks that help me get through them.
This is definitely not expert advice. It’s just some things that help me tackle the long runs.
I’m not going to pretend I look forward to long runs. I don’t. Sometimes I don’t mind them much and other times I really don’t want to do them. But once I’m in it, things are usually okay. They take a bit of more planning, a lot of time and are usually harder mentally than physically in my opinion.
Here we go.
First of all, you have to plan it out. Long runs take a good chunk of time out of the day. For me it means planning on doing them when Andrew is off work and can have the boys or finding someone to watch them while I run. I lucked out yesterday and my parents graciously volunteered to have the boys over for Mickey Mouse pancakes while I ran.
Whatever you need to do, get it on the schedule. Write it down. Some people like to run with others, I’m more of a solo runner. Get a friend to run with you or at least tell someone your plan. I feel like it helps me be accountable if I tell someone that I have a long run planned for a certain day.
Adequate sleep is key. I try to make a point of getting to bed at a decent time the night before a long run. It is definitely not fun to try to push yourself for hours after not getting enough shut eye. Believe me, I’ve done it one too many times and learned the hard way.
Make sure you’re prepared. No matter where you’re running, make sure you have water and fuel with you. I usually don’t do gels or anything on long runs, but I always take them with me. I don’t really have a good reason why I don’t especially because the experts say it’s helpful to simulate the fuel you’ll be doing in a race, but I always have them with me just in case.
Music is key. I have the same playlist for all my long runs. I like upbeat music that will keep me going. I used to listen to Jillian Michaels’ podcast all the time, but I find that I like listening to music better. Do whatever is more enjoyable for you. Anything that will entertain you and help pass the time.
Find a fun destination or nice area to run. I really like to run by the ocean. It’s like a little treat to get out there and enjoy nature and my surroundings. I also like to change the route up so it’s not the same thing every long run. Sometimes I find a really flat route, sometimes I find a hilly one. Last week I experimented and just ran without a plan or destination in mind when we were in Santa Barbara. That was a fun change, although I wish I would have taken the time to may out the route before hand.
Set your GPS before you start. Set it for the goal distance you want to run. I always tell myself it’s the distance, not the pace, on long runs. Longer runs are more for pushing through the fatigue. If you have to walk, then walk. Just tell yourself you’re going to get the miles in somehow. I really like the Nike+ running app on my phone as a backup to my Polar RC3 GPS because I can set the distance and the little voice talks to me every mile I do. Once I’m halfway to my goal she even tells me how many miles I have left to go. Sometimes she’s my friend, sometimes she’s not. It all depends on the day. Ha.
Proper fuel before the run is key also. I try to eat what I usually eat before races. Lately it’s been whole grain bread, a banana and NuttZo. Oh, and coffee. Coffee is a must.
Treat yourself afterwards. Before you even start your run, think of a special treat for yourself after you accomplish your goal. It could just be something small. Maybe you get to go to Starbucks after or maybe you’ll buy yourself a new lotion or something. Just a little something that you can earn.
Know that it’s going to be mentally tough and at some point your going to try to talk yourself out of it. Yes, the first couple of miles in a long run are not always that fun. It usually takes me about 4 miles or so to get into it. Just go with the process. Let your mind wander. Tell yourself you CAN do it. Yes, the run will be long, but it’s part of the dream and part of the journey.
Usually the last few miles are a bit easier. Fatigue sets in, but when you’re almost done you’ll just want to push through and get there.
Oh and that feeling once you ARE done and have reached your goal, well, there’s nothing like it. Knowing that you put in the work and are living out your dreams. That’s just good stuff.
On a totally different note, but kind of funny, I always pass a ton of people out walking with coffees in hand or sitting at restaurants enjoying a nice breakfast. I make a point to NOT make eye contact with these people. I just imagine they wish they were running like me. Ha.
So, to follow up all that unsolicited advice, here’s how yesterday’s long run went down.
I had some coffee and my normal sandwich in the car after I dropped the boys off at Grandma and Papap’s house.
I was on a bit of a time schedule and the pressure was on to get it done and back to pick up the boys in a timely fashion so I got out of the car and started the run as quickly as possible.
My legs were tired right off the bat since I had done a double digit run the day before. I took it easy and just went with it.
I went a little over 11 miles one direction and then turned around.
I stopped twice. Once to go to the bathroom and refill my water bottles and once to have a random stranger take a couple pictures of me.
There’s always that point in the run that you really have to mentally give yourself a pep talk. I like that though. It helps when it comes to races and you’re really feeling the fatigue, etc. Mental toughness is a huge part of marathon running.
I had to do a few pep talks yesterday. It’s a normal thing.
I didn’t pay attention to my pace or look at my GPS really at all. I just listened to the little lady in my ear letting me know what mile I was on.
That last mile was particularly long. It usually is, but the end is just so close so I always have to embrace the hurt a little. Ha.
I ran 22.5 miles.
I’m so glad I was using the GPS on my phone in addition to my GPS watch too because that thing pooped out.
I’m not sure what happened, but from about mile 6 to mile 19 it wasn’t working. Weird.
I don not love the feeling of being a sweaty mess, but that just comes with the territory.
I was really glad I wore my Halo hat yesterday. There’s a big difference when I wear a hat and protect my face from the sun. I need to remember that.
(By the way there’s still time to enter the Halo visorband GIVEAWAY and time to get FREE shipping on any products by using the code SHIPFREE.)
I prefer to have my new recovery drink, but that doesn’t travel well, so yesterday it was just the powder, apple cider vinegar and ice water.
Okay, enough jib jab from me for a Monday.
While we’re talking long run chat though, here’s a great Runner’s World article on what to drink when running in hot weather and what to drink before, during and after long runs.
And here are a few motivational things I saw on instagram just this morning.
Here’s one more just because it’s Monday and we could all use a little more motivation.
I could not agree more. The toughest opponent is the one inside your head.
Have a great day!!!
Any thoughts on the long run?
Do you think they’re harder mentally or physically?
What is the hardest part for you?
Do you treat yourself to anything afterwards?