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Thursday, July 23, 2009

TIART: Long Runs

This week's theme is ... Slaying The Long Run Dragon.   What are your best tips for getting through the long, hard, hot, hilly, sweaty, torturous but enjoyable runs?

I have to admit, even though they require a severe time commitment, often force me to get up at an insane hour on Saturdays, typically ruin both my Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes end with me totally miserable, as far as running goes, long runs are my favorite runs.  They really make me feel a sense of accomplishment, and even if I'm tired at the end, I'm usually recovered within a few hours.  Plus, I get to eat [mostly] what I want for the rest of the weekend.

Here are some tips for how I get through some of the worst:

  • Like I say for every type of run, always have water with you.  Regardless of temperature, I always have water with me for every run over 10 miles.  On hotter days, I have water with me for every run that will be longer than 45 minutes.  
  • I say "water," but I use Nuun for most of my runs.  It contain electrolytes that I need, but doesn't contain sugar.  So, I don't get that horrible "sugar mouth" that I get with Gatorade.  Gatorade's G2 is good as well, but it contains some fake sugars.
  • Once I start getting into long-ish mileage (9-13 miles, I suppose), I start eating during the run.  This is a constant source of problems, because what I want to eat during a run changes from month to month, run to run, or year to year.  Right now, I'm eating mostly Sport Beans, and have been for a while.  I am thinking of trying something new, but don't know what.  I don't particularly like Gu, so right now I'm choking down the beans.
  • Run with someone!  I love my running group and the support that they provide.  I need friends on the trail so much that I've been known to run the same 3-4 miles of trail over and over in circles in order to stay with my group (who may be doing less mileage that week).
  • If you have to run alone, and you must wear headphones, listen to a book on tape at a low volume.  I feel like talking is better than a constant beat of music and therefore safer.  However, if you are running in or around traffic, don't wear headphones at all, ever.
  • Build up slowly.  If you miss a week, don't show up with the running group expecting to increase your mileage by 5 or 6 miles.  As a group leader, this drives me crazy more than anything.  A 1-3 mile increase is all you should really be doing, and it's inconsiderate to show up when you haven't trained like everyone else has.
  • Dress appropriately!  It may seem cool in the morning, but after hours on the trail, it will warm up!  Dress in layers if it's cold.
  • Have an exit strategy.  If you can't complete the run due to fatigue or injury, what will you do?  In a group, this isn't as big of a deal, but if you're alone, have a cell phone and your ID on you.  Make sure someone knows where you are and when you are expected to be home.  Make sure that your running group knows who to call in case of an emergency.
  • Play a game with your group!  My favorite is the movie game.  It works like this.  Someone starts by naming a movie and an actor or actress in the movie.  An example might be "Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire".  Next, someone must think of an actor or actress that is also in the movie mentioned, and then name another movie that person was in, so using the example above, the next person might say "Sally Field in Steel Magnolias."  Then, it continues when another person must think of someone in that movie and another movie that they were in, so next might be "Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman."  You get the idea.  When not running, this would be something where you'd take turns, but I found that in running group it's just easier if everyone says an answer when they think of it without taking turns.  The point is to occupy your mind, not to keep score.  This really helps the miles to go by fast.
  • My group hates this, but start early.  It's not as hot, it's fun to run in the dark, and the trail is not as crowded.  We're just starting to get into the "o'dark early" time period, so get ready, group!
So, that's about it.  In the end, you just have to get those miles in, so get out there and do it!

1 comment:

merrymishaps said...

I am so not a fan of o'dark early. Once I'm up I'm fine ... but getting to that point is pretty painful :)

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