Friday, August 17, 2012

Long Run Love

Do you love or hate the long run?

For some the long run is the equivalent of the pop quiz, final examine or book report from our school days, we dread it.  The days leading up to the long run reminds us of the pressure built upon meeting an assignment deadline or returning back to school either from a long weekend or a week of vacation.  As that long run draws closer, the anticipation grows and before you knew it there was a knot of despair tightening in the pit of our stomachs.  The long run for some is the final examine that we are never ready for.  The long run is something we do to get to our goal no matter how much it hurts.

But for others the long run is why we run, like some secret craving, we love the long run.  The openness, the unlimited distances and the challenge are what our running lives are set on.  The days before the long run are filled with anticipation, hunger and a feeling of freedom.  The freedom of the long run comes with the mindset that once we push off on the run there is nothing that can get between us and our miles, the beauty of the open road, and the cadence of being along with your footfall.  The long run offers us a chance to reconnect with ourselves and with the world and nature around us.  The long run is part of who we are and a part that we love.

Whether you hate it or love it, the long run is an important part of your marathon training. Here are some tips help prepare you properly for your marathon.

1.  Take it easy the day before.  If I run up to 15 miles I plan a day off prior to my long runs, 20+ and I’ll take two days off prior to my long runs.  I use the same rest cycles for my races.  You want to have some zip in your legs come race day.

2.  Hydrate and eat properly leading up to the run and eat and drink something before you start.  You would never go on a long drive with an empty fuel tank, why run on an empty belly.  Find out which foods work best for you, for 20+ mile runs a carb load the night before the night before and eat solid the night before.  My favorite fuel food, spaghetti and pancakes!

3.  Do your long runs at the same time as your marathon.  If you’re running an early morning marathon, run your long run at or near the same time of day; condition your body, set the body clock for the same time of day as the big run.

4.  Don't overdo the mileage.  Follow the 10% rule, do not increase your long run distance or weekly mileage more then 10%...bigger jumps in mileage will put you one step closer to your next injury.  Also pay attention to the terrain, do not over do hills, trails or surfaces that pound on your body.

5.  Experiment with clothes and foods.  The long run offers a great opportunity to test out new running gear, refueling practices, food and tempo.  You do not want to show up on race day sporting a new pair of kicks, your newest shirt or a new pair of shorts, unless you really enjoy blisters, chafing and the pain that goes along with both.

And finally

6.  Treat your legs right when you're finished.  There’s nothing better then getting off your feet and taking a good nap after a long run, you earned it...enjoy!  Oh yea then order a pizza!

Do you love or hate the long run?  Why?  Post a comment below and let us know.

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