Treating long runs a bit like race day can help this necessary part of training go smoothly.
Most of us have pre-race rituals. We lay out our running clothes and shoes the night before. We look at the course map and parking. We know what we’re going to eat and drink down to the last drip of hydration. It’s all thoroughly planned out to the last detail.
Long runs are usually not as well-planned. If you’re out of your usual bagel you might grab a protein bar. If your favorite socks are in the hamper you wear another random pair. You just make it work, right?
However, if these small obstacles are preventing you from running or even having a good run you should consider making some pre-long run rituals. Have your favorite long run workout clothes ready. Know what you’re going to eat. Make sure you’re hydrated and well rested.
Give your long runs the same respect and attention you give to races. Sure things might come up and you’re not always going to be 100% prepared and ready to go full speed for every single training run. But getting into a routine for long runs is a good foundation for successful marathon or half marathon training.
Before long runs I do some of the following (depending on the week and length of run):
- Make sure to get in some good carbs for lunch and dinner the day before.
- Try to get to bed at a decent hour. (Sometimes that means skipping dinner out with friends, sometimes that means only watching 3 episodes of New Girl instead of 7.)
- Have a route in mind. This way I don’t wake up perusing my phone for new routes and kill time.
- Eat a good breakfast before I head out.
- Take fuel.