4 Tips for Long Runs
Let’s face it. Running more than 1 mile for 99% of the world’s population seems like a waste of time. The majority forgo Nike, Adidas, Brooks, and New Balance for Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Chevy. Don’t believe me. Next time you are in a conversation at a party, bring up the fact that you just ran 15 miles (that’s what I did today) and see the reaction. You’ll get a variety, but with the same underlying message.
Response and Message 1: “I don’t even like driving 15 miles if I don’t have to” which ultimately means “why would anybody do that?”
Response and Message 2: “You’re crazy” which loosely translates to “why would anybody do that?”
So as runners, we have to be able to block out the voices of the non-believers. Just like uplifting messages can help you press on, people calling you crazy can be detrimental to the casual runner, especially as marathon training distances increase as you approach the actual day of the event.
Here are 4 tips for long runs:
- Listen to Your Heart. Nobody wakes up and decides to run a marathon. This mental and physical process occurs over a period of time until the person comes to the realization that “Yes, I want to run a marathon.” In a world full of personal scooters and canes, it’s hard for the majority to understand you actually decided and want to run 26.2 miles. A lot of people will tell you it’s not good for you. You’ll hurt yourself. I even had a doctor tell me that marathon runners often have heart attacks. Literally and mentally run away from this negative-speak and continue to listen to your heart and the reasons you started on this journey. I was once told, when the why is strong enough, the how is easy.
- It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. This one might be the most obvious, but don’t try to run all 26.2 miles immediately. I don’t care how good of shape you are. You may be an Olympic Athlete and I’d give you the same advice. I’ve known people that are in relatively good shape think that they can just wake up and get it done, but by mile 2 they are singing a different song. Be reasonable about the amount of time you want to run a marathon and plan ahead. If the Boston Marathon is next week, start training for next years.
- Have a Plan. When you start to have long runs of 10-plus miles, you need a plan. I speak from experience. Before I signed up for RunKeeper’s App and had a marathon training plan, I was just aimlessly running. Monday I would run 4 miles as fast as i could. Thursday I would run 2 miles as fast as possible. Saturday I would run 6 miles as fast as I could. The bottom line is that fast as I could wasn’t a good plan for long runs. Sure, it doesn’t hurt, but after I signed up for a marathon training plan, it breaks down the days you run and how to run — not just “fast as you can.” If you prefer to be with people, sign up for running and training classes in your area. Fleet Feet is everywhere in California and they ask for about $150 for their marathon training classes.
- Break Up Long Runs. You do this on long drives. At least I do. If I have to drive more than 100 miles, I think about a location 50 miles away that I’ve been before and say, “this is like driving to visit Melanie and coming back home. I’ve done it hundreds of times and it’s no problem.” This same mentality is so helpful on a long run and you decide what “long” is. If you are a beginner, a long run might be 2 miles. So you can say, “this is like running to the local corner market and back.” If you’re running 20 miles, mentally revisit your regular 5-mile routes and say this is like doing those routes 4 times. And here’s the final key for success. After each 5-mile segment, recalculate and say to yourself, “just 3 more times.” Breaking up long runs into shorter runs you’ve previously done will uplift your spirits and give you a renewed spirit and fresh legs. Play the mental game! It works!
Morning weight = 171. Didn’t get a post-run weight. No other excuse — just tired and forgot.
When Did I Eat?
- 7:50am (Meal 1) – Post run meal. Herbalife24 Prolong, Herbalife24 Prepare, Herbalife Niteworks, and a fresh banana. Good to go for my 15-mile run today. This will be the longest distance I’ve ever gone and I’ll definitely be mentally dividing this long run into smaller distances.
- 11:40am (Meal 1.1) — Post run nutrition. Another banana will be just fine. I’ve seen this potassium-filled fruit offered at every race so I just did a half-marathon plus 2 more miles. Where’s my medal?
- 1pm (Meal 2) — Saturday late breakfast at our favorite local pancake joint. Buttermilk pancakes are so 2000-late. It’s all about buckwheat pancakes these days. But, pour syrup on anything and who can argue with you. Added a scrambled egg for added protein.
- 5pm (Meal 2.1) — Salty and hot snack time! We visited a friend in San Francisco a year ago and he busted this Papolote salsa out. It’s a local SF joint. Now they are selling it at Whole Foods. This is dangerous! Ate with some multigrain tortilla chips.
- 5:30pm (Meal 3) — Leftover pasta and Quorn jalapeno chicken. They just started selling this at our Target and if we see new vegetarian options we get them. If we see new vegetarian options on sale, we get more of them.
- RunKeeper Beginner Marathon Training 41 of 64.
- Mile 3 discovered I forgot to bring my Clif Shot Chocolate Gel Packs so I had to return home. This added an additional 4 minutes to my overall time. By mile 14 and 15, I lost steam and was extremely thirsty. I’ll need a strategy for dry mouth. Happy that my last mile was at least faster than the previous mile.
- 15 mile run today. My route took me on bike trails and dirt fields. I try my best to stay off the road and the harder-surfaced sidewalks. I’m glad I took yesterday off.