Long Run Preparation
Anyone who has transitioned from jogger to runner will have entered into that weekly phase of ‘doing the long run‘. The long run is many things. For someone preparing for an event such as a 10k, half marathon or a marathon it is a weekly session for self testing and building endurance. For someone who doesn’t race it is personal journey to build endurance and prove a point to ones self.
In 2012 and 2013 I went through a phase of running a half marathon distance every week as a form of proof that I could run this distance any time I wanted. The result was that my competitive half marathon time (race) decreased from 2 hours 26 minutes in 2011 to 1 hour 38 minutes in 2013.
The long run works.
It builds muscle, builds glycogen storage, teaches your body to cope with a rising temperature and elevated heart rate and teaches your mind to control your body.
What a long run also teaches you is that a thirsty runner gets a headache. A hungry runner will get angry or RANGRY. A fatigued runner loses form. A cooked runner slips, trips and falls. But most importantly the long run teaches you that you can run 8km next week if you ran 8km this week. 15, 21, 35 etc. Your brain and body systems recognise that you will not die from running your long run distance event if you have taught them through long run training.
What I do to prepare for my long run is this:
- Carry water or mark out a route that passes bubblers/fountains/clean water sources
- Carry fuel (on anything more than 16km)
- Carry money (taxi!!)
- Carry phone (emergency calls and selfies!)
- Tape up my nipples (they bleed from a rubbing shirt)
- Make sure that my toenails are short and any soft spots on toes are taped (blisters pop bleed and hurt)
- Pre prepare your post run refueling so that you don’t eat crap!
Water can be carried in three ways:
- A backpack (I use a Nathan hydration 2lt pack)
- A handheld water bottle (you can get a glove arrangement that holds it for you in an open palm)
- A waist pack with up to four water bottles sitting around your hips.
Backpacks will slow you down but give you great freedom to explore and carry everything in one pack. The handheld bottle is around 500ml which is fine if you have bubblers to top up. Waist packs or fuel belts allow up to a litre but spread the load and allow you to have a mix of sports drinks and plain water.
Fuels can be categorised into the following:
- Those with no nutritional value but induce a chemical response such as caffeine.
- Those that have a nutritional value but are dirty fuel such as jelly beans.
- Those that are long burning fuels that are repairing and providing fuel for an hour later, not right now.
I’m a simple cheap bastard so I use a powder that contains a mix of salts and sugars in my water. I don’t use caffeine currently, but I expect that I will add this into my routine later. I do eat children’s snack bars with very simple ingredients like sugar and more sugar wrapped in wheat. I’m now starting to introduce fruit in the form of apples and cranberries. Easy to eat, hard to damage and apples contain sugar and pectin so you get a chemical response and actual energy. Sarah has developed a love for Clif Shot Bloks, which are about $6 a bar.
Feel free to spend lots of money on various products out there but if you do make sure you know what you are putting into your body.
Of course if Pocketfuel Naturals or Vega are reading this then hit me up with a few samples to try.
Post run refueling is vital.
Water and Protein are paramount. Fruit juice and icecream are not water and protein. Get a high quality protein source into you as soon as possible and plenty of water and then rest, rest, rest. Of course feel free to shower, update Instagram and complain to your other half about your sore legs first.