When I was thinking of a title for this post the Dixie Chick’s song, “Ready to Run”, popped into my head. 🙂 Now that I am back in the running groove, I wanted to write a post about how I prepare for my long runs. My planned long runs are very different from my typical work week runs. I barely give any though or prep to my runs during the week.. Heck, most of the time I am barely awake when I start my run at 4:45. However, when I am building on mileage, I have to prepare mentally and physically to have a successful run.
1. Plan you long run for a specific day and mileage
I always try to plan my long runs on the weekend, or a day when I am not working. I like to run on a trail that is 20 minutes away from my place, and since the run will be more miles than normal, it will obviously also take more time. In addition, I like to start my long runs in the morning in order to avoid the hot summer afternoons. Also, If I tried to run after work my legs would feel like stiff logs and I would stop way before I am suppose to..Believe me, i’ve tried this and it never ends up good… Therefore, I opt for a day where I have little responsibility and can take my time getting ready, and being super lazy afterwards ;).
Since I am slowly building up my miles, I have been increasing my long runs by a mile each week. This week I am up to 7 miles. I always aim for a specific number on these runs, and if I am training for something, I usually follow a scheduled plan. Since I am running in the Red Eye Relay next month, I will continue to increase my mileage each week. This also ensures that I wont injure myself by increasing mileage too fast. On Friday I felt like I could have kept going after 7, but knew I didn’t want to take the risk of re-injuring myself!
2. Check the weather and decide on running wear.
I typically do this the night before. For example, I saw that it was going to be in the 50’s and that there was a possibility for a light shower on Friday morning. I made sure to adjust my outfit to running tights and a jacket that I could take off if I got too hot. I love running in the rain and was actually excited when I saw the radar. While it didn’t end up raining, it was the perfect mix of cloudy and cool temps to make my run extra perfect!
3.Decide on your morning breakfast.
In my younger days, I had a stomach of steel and was able to eat an entire meal before going out on a run. However, I found out last weekend that this is not the case anymore. I realize I do better on an stomach. Before this run I had a cup of coffee and water. I typically don’t need fuel during a run for anything less than 10 miles, but I brought two nut balls with me just in case :).
4. Foam Roll/ Stretch
I know exactly what you are thinking. I’ve heard over and over again that you should not stretch before running. While I don’t do full-out stretches I do stretch out my psoas (muscle in stomach connected to hip flexor) by doing this stretch (seen below). I actually stop and do this stretch multiple times throughout the day..and Aaron makes fun of me for it 🙂 I also foam roll which, from what I’ve read, gets the muscles loosened up and ready.
5. Petroleum Jelly and Band Aids!!!
I get EXTREMELY bad blisters on my feet. In order to prevent this I have found that coating my feet in petroleum jelly works wonders! I also use blister band-aids. On this last run I used four band-aids…
6. Enjoy the small things
I always find things on my runs that make me smile. Last time I saw the cutest baby ducks HERE. This long run i found 2 things that made my day..
The next was this cat sitting the in middle of the trail. Sorry it looks like a blob because I didn’t actually stop to take the picture. It didn’t move out-of-the-way for anyone. I wanted to take it home but I think Aaron would be a little upset..
7. Sit around all day wearing PJ’s and compression socks. DO NOT get up except to make yummy cupcakes… Only kidding! Sort of 🙂