The Long Run: What’s Working

It’s pretty much a given that I do a long run every weekend these days. Whereas I used to only do one during half marathon training, I’m now working on developing and maintaining an aerobic base, so that when it comes time to run my second half on June 14, I am more prepared.

During my first bout of long runs, I had no idea what I was doing.

  • I ate something different before almost every run
  • I started anytime between 9am and 4pm.
  • Mid-run fuelling was random at best

I’m not saying I have everything figured out now, but I’ve had a very solid 2-month string of long runs, and am feeling more and more confident in my approach to them. So I hope that this is helpful to any of you runners going the distance. 🙂

1. Pre-Run Fuel: This comes in two parts: #1 is not eating an overly large meal the night before. I used to do this, thinking I was giving myself extra energy, but what I was really doing was forcing my digestive system to work too hard, which resulted in me waking up still full and sluggish. So now, I just make sure to eat a normal meal with a balance of carbs, protein and fat a few hours before going to sleep.

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Then, in the morning I eat a plain cinnamon raisin bagel with jam. They taste 7000x better with peanut butter but nut butter before running makes my stomach want to murder me. So jam it is. Also coffee but that’s just a given.

2. Pre-Run Routine: There are different camps when it comes to stretching before a run / exercise, but I personally feel the best if I do a little. Just a couple of hip flexor and hamstring stretches to feel loose before pounding the pavement.

3. Mid-Run Fuel: For any run over 8 miles I like to take in some extra calories. There are reccomendations ranging from runs over 45-90 minutes to start fuelling, but a general rule of thumb is an hour. Since 8 miles takes me 65ish minutes, I feel myself fading shortly after if I don’t have a boost. The only thing I have ever tried are the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, because they work so well for me! There are about 10 in a pack and I like to eat 1-2 every couple of miles starting at mile 5. I usually only need 1/3 – 1/2 pack per run, but I’m planning on eating the whole thing when I race.

honey-stinger-organic-chews-energizers-GetOutdoorGear.com_

4. Mid-Run Routine: Um…run. Obviously. 😉 But I am also obsessed with podcasts! The key is to find a super engaging one, that you are genuinely interested in. This keeps me occupied and engaged during the boring, early part of a long run. Right now my favourite is Runner’s Connect, but I also love Another Mother Runner (is that weird? I’m 18 hah) and Jillian Michaels. I need to start Serial as well!

runners-connect

5. Post-Run Fuel: Immediately after finishing I will have something like chocolate milk or a chai latte, just making sure I get some good carbs & protein in. I’m a bit of a slacker on the meal that follows since my appetite is usually suppressed for hours, but I try to make sure I eat my lunch within 2 hours.

HotChocolateI’m thinking a hot chocolate will occur this weekend, though. 

6. Post Run Routine: STRETCH. FOAM ROLL. Everyone says this because they work. Also, a recovery run the day after does wonders for my soreness – I woke up Saturday morning barely able to walk and felt nearly 100% by the end of the day.

I’m not doing any speed / tempo work right now, so this might change as I get closer to my race, but this is the current situation! I’m really enjoying my long runs instead of dreading them, so I hope that this helps you do the same! 🙂

What is one thing that you do to help your running? 

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4 thoughts on “The Long Run: What’s Working

  1. I’m so glad your long runs are going well! I’m planning on tackling 8 miles this weekend, and I’m thinking I’m going to start fueling since it will probably take me around an hour and 15 minutes (#turtlelife 😉 ) I’ve never tried honey stinger chews, but I’m thinking that I need to pick some up after hearing that they don’t mess with your stomach. I actually have 3 gels from my half training 2 years (!) ago that I haven’t used yet – think they have an expiration date?

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