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Surviving the Long Run and Motivation

Surviving the Long Run and Motivation


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I had my fuel belt with water, my racing belt with my phone, my Polar GPS, a chia shot, and a few GU gels just in case.

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.

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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.

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I’m so glad I was using the GPS on my phone in addition to my GPS watch too because that thing pooped out.

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I’m not sure what happened, but from about mile 6 to mile 19 it wasn’t working. Weird.

It felt so good to be done. It was my first run in a new pair of my favorite Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s. Call me crazy, but I love the feeling of having tired legs.

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I don not love the feeling of being a sweaty mess, but that just comes with the territory.

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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.)

Afterwards I did the usual sucking down a Vega recovery accelerator as soon as possible.

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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.

Need a Refill?

And here are a few motivational things I saw on instagram just this morning.

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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?


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  1. 1
    Erica says:

    Yayyy for summer and BBQs- the best! I am debating doing another full. I think I know why I sort of crashed during my last one…but I’m trying to motivate myself to try try again ;). Great tips! I think fueling before is HUGE for a marathon (and was one of the reasons I crashed during my full). I was so used to doing half marathons that I just didn’t anticipate how much I needed to eat before a full (I was nervous about tummy troubles). Good luck at your next one!!

  2. 2
    Michelle Kim says:

    I think around mile 16 is a tough point. I can always bust out a 16-miler with no problem, but after that, it gets mentally tough. During races it’s not too bad, depending on if I was hydrating and fueling myself well enough.
    Awesome views for a long run!

  3. 3
    elizabeth says:

    Cool that the Nike app talks to you at every mile. I am pretty out of touch with app’s and cell phones, since I haven’t had one for so long because we are out of range. I notice you don’t use your Garmin forerunner anymore, would you like to sell it?

    • 3.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      It doesn’t work anymore for some reason. I’m sure it could be fixed, but it’s just been sitting in a box. Ha. I’d sell it, but can’t guarantee it will work.

  4. 4

    Nice tips, I can definitely relate to all of them, especially getting through the first 4-6 miles. Long runs are entirely mental, so getting to the middle of it always alleviates the anxiety I have about the distance.

  5. 5
    The Silent Assassin says:

    I wish I found you earlier… actually I only started following the blogging community the last couple of months. So, yeah, glad I found you. I could of used this when I was training for my first full mary this past March. My long runs were horrrrrrible. Too many times doubt set in, and too easy to give up during the long runs. I think the key is accountability. My next full is Big Cottonwood in September, and I do have a plan this time around. Thanks for sharing!

    • 5.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I have to be honest, I was scared of you at first on IG when you left a comment about the Boston Marathon. It’s the name man. 🙂 SO excited for you and your next full!!! Woo hoo! Once the first one is out of your system, it’s a little easier.

      • The Silent Assassin says:

        I know. Sorry, but I cannot change my name. Lol…monica must have been out of her mind when she met me… =). I’m working on my blog. Hopefully launching after RnRSD. I have a story to tell. Well at least my small following think I have something to offer (to the world). There’s a really really good reason why I was given that name. I’m relieved you’re not scared anymore. Stay blessed K!

  6. 6

    Love reading your posts! It seriously makes me want to go for a run! lol. You are inspiring and beautiful!

  7. 7
    Kim says:

    I think I need to do a better job treating myself after – hmmm….need to think about that one!!
    For Hunter’s training we have done time instead of distance for the long runs and that has worked for him – I always tell him it isn’t important how far as long as we get the time on our feet. We did 11 on Saturday -his longest run yet!

  8. 8
    Erika says:

    Treating myself after, hmmm, now there’s an idea. I totally agree. If I can get through the first 5 miles it’s all good. I like that you don’t keep track of pace. I need to work on that big time! Thanks for all of the tips!

  9. 9
    Jenny says:

    Thank you sooo much for sharing this on long runs. I really battle myself with them. I find myself looking at the clock wishing it were over and thinking about all the stuff I need to be getting done. It is nice to know that I am not the only one that battles over them. I will be taking your tips to heart! Thanks as aways.

  10. 10
    Sam says:

    Great post! I can totally relate to the difficulty in finding time for the long runs (although I don’t have kids–I can barely find time to take care of myself; you’re such a RockStar to be able to train hard, work hard, and play hard with your family!)
    I purposely don’t even check my GPS until I’ve been out running for at least an hour. Those first six miles when you’re not quite warmed up yet, and not even CLOSE to being halfway done can be pretty disheartening. Once I start feeling my flow and finding my groove I feel like I’m always surprised at how quickly the run goes along. I like to listen to audiobooks when I run long. I can’t follow the plot of a fiction novel, so I typically listen to essay collections, or non-fiction. Whatever it is it needs to be something where I can space out and go into my own thoughts for a while, then pick back up without missing too much. Mary Roach’s books about creepy crawly science are good for that.

    I laughed so hard at the rhino with unicorn dreams!

  11. 11

    Love this post! Although my runs aren’t any where near as long as yours these tips can definitely apply and help me push through those last few miles! Thanks Kristen!

  12. 12

    Ummmmmmmmmmm, my long run is a short easy one for you!!! 🙂 Really interesting reading this though & how you prepare & get thru! Even though mine is short for you, it is long for me so we can still learn! 🙂

    Love the outside BBQ fun! The beauty where your an – wow!!!

  13. 13

    Girl I don’t know how you do double digits two days in a row! You and Emz amaze me daily!

    Long runs are always hard for me, both mentally AND physically. I just have to keep reminding myself that the body follows the mind. If I believe I can do something, then that’s all I need. Of course some days are easier than others to convince myself of this!

    I do treat myself after long runs! Usually it’s food related. HAHA.

    • 13.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Oh gosh, I really think it’s easier on a treadmill to be honest friend. But yes, the body totally follows the mind. I treat myself with food a lot too. He he.

  14. 14
    Amanda says:

    Wow – you certainly do run long distances regularly. I’m just proud of myself when I bust out a 5k haha. I think a big problem for me is that I get so bored after about 20-30 minutes. I can’t imagine going any longer! I might try to do a podcast or something and just challenge myself to go 10 more minutes hah.

    A quick question – what brand of bread do you use? Do you use wheat or a gluten-free kind? And while we’re on it – and I’m really not trying to come across as the food police – but why didn’t you just use a bun on your sandwich instead of the mushrooms…? My poor tummy would DIE with all that fiber, LOL.
    I get that people have their preferences, but I was just curious if you only eat grains before runs?

    PS – Your kids are adorable! I love seeing you post about y’all play together. I remember putting on “magic shows” for my mom, too. Good times. 🙂

    • 14.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I play around with different breads. Lately I’ve been using a whole grain one from Costco. I link to it a lot on the blog. I used mushrooms only because I’ve always wanted to try it. I pretty much ate a loaf of bread earlier in the day so didn’t need the carbs with dinner. Ha.

  15. 15
    Christine D. says:

    Long runs are a total love-hate relationship for me. The love part comes afterwards. 😉 Usually what I’m thinking during the run is that in a couple hours I’ll be back home, and that it’s only my brain telling me to stop, not my body. So yes, the mental part (both leading up to and during the run) is the hardest for me.
    I love the refuel part of a long run. 😉 I’m a total sweets person, so I definitely (and shamefully) reach for those cookies after the run.

  16. 16
    Courtney says:

    Question- so I’m trying to increase my distance but I always burn out at mile 5, what tips do you have on going longer? Thanks!

    • 16.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      I would just start out adding an additional mile each week or so. Try going for a 6 miler this week and then next week try going for a 7 miler. It’s easier when you take baby steps.

  17. 17
    Emily says:

    I loved this and needed this today–thanks! 🙂

  18. 18

    Love the rhino pic…too cute! I think about the refuel alllll long run 🙂

  19. 19

    Love this! Definitely harder mentally! Esp because a long run is well long… you ARE going to feel not into it at some point. Every long run has its ups and downs. The first half is usually the hardest part for me cause it still seems so long to go! And making sure I don’t start too fast.


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