I couldn’t sleep last night because I was super excited about writing this next blog post…I KNOW. I’m a geek. But, If running is my outlet for life, writing about running is it’s plug. For me, they go hand in hand.
I created this blog hoping to reach a lot of different people. I like thinking about who could be reading this…
Maybe you are an experienced runner; maybe you’re brand new.
Maybe you’re a walker thinking about running.
Maybe you are training to run a marathon and need inspiration?
Maybe you don’t even LIKE running but you think I’m interesting and amusing and funny?
Maybe all of these are you!
Plus-since I eat sleep breathe run, and 98% of my waking thoughts are about running, I can only assume my family and friends are sick of hearing about it. They get it. “I like to run” .
Anyway….Today I am psyching myself up for my long run tomorrow. Every runner I know has a love/hate relationship with the long run. For me, its a chance to prove my training is working, I’m getting better, and its also time that i work out any issues i might have in life while serving as a time to reflect on my life.
Sometimes I have to REALLY psych myself up because I’m NOT looking forward to it, and other times I am giddy to get started. Either way-when I’m done- I will have the satisfaction of being able to say “Hey, I ran 20 miles today” Oh, yeah: I’m doing a 20 tomorrow.
My current marathon training plan is a variety of different runs. It varies from speedwork, tempo runs, easy runs, and one long run a week. Typically I run about 50-60 miles a week when I’m in training for a marathon. Now this is what works for me. It obviously isn’t for everyone. I make sure that I take at least one day off a week for rest. I have found that by taking a day or two off, it has helped me to get faster. A lot of training plans focus on doing only ONE 20 miler during your whole training. I know 20 miles is a LOT of miles, but, over time, I have learned that my body is better prepared to handle the demands of running 26.2 miles if I am already USED TO doing so. Over the 16-18 weeks of training, I make sure I do a 20 miler once a month. I see it this way: If the long run is your dress rehearsal for the marathon, than I better so a LOT of rehearsing beforehand!
With only six weeks (from this Sunday) to go until the Baystate Marathon, I’m really in the thick of training now! NO BACKING DOWN!
Here are my tips and tricks that help me log the miles!
1. Quality not quantity right? Once upon a time, I strived to do an 18-20 miler every week (didn’t work out so well). At the time-I think I thought it would make me a better athlete. All it did was make me cranky and tired due to the enormous amount of mileage. I realized that even though i sometimes get sucked into the numbers game of “how many miles can i run this week” , those weeks, my runs were NOT always the best. Now, I build up my long runs beginning with 14 milers, and add two miles a week to them until I get to 20-then I start back at 14.
So, for an example of my long run schedule: Week 1: 14 Miles, Week 2: 16 Miles, Week 3: 18 Miles, Week 4: 20 Miles, Week 5: 14 Miles.. and so on. The variety keeps me entertained, and I look forward to doing a new distance for my long run each week.
2. New routes get me excited– A few weeks ago, I set out to do just a 9 mile run. I felt so good, and had the time to spare, so on the fly I took a turn in a different direction. My 9 miles wound up being 19 miles and it was one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. It met all the components I consider to be a great run: One part anticipation because I as covering new ground, one part excitement because of the unexpected distance coverage, and one part exhilaration because my pace was so fast. Whenever I encounter new territory in my old familiar neighborhoods, it leaves me thinking “why the heck didn’t I ever think of this in the 2 years I’ve been running this route?” Sometimes running the same course weekly can get dull. Once in a while, take a day off from planning your run. Your mind will thank you for the new fresh scenery along the way.
3. Eating. Like I need any help in this…I LOVE to eat! I’m not really a carbo loading gal-I eat a ton of fresh fruits and veggies daily, and half my plate is filled with veggies every night. The night before a long run, I do make sure I take in more than I normally would. Experts recommend to consume 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight daily to make sure your carbo stores stay loaded. I also eat a bit more protein too than I normally would. Runners need 60-100 grams or protein daily (depending on your weight) to help build and maintain muscle. I don’t crazy eating everything in sight because it only leaves me with a terrible stomach ache afterwards.
On the flip side, if I DON’T eat enough- I find myself dragging that morning as I am running. I always carry some little snack with me-like starburst or Swedish fish. I do alternately use the “Gu’s” or “Powerbar Energy Gel’s” but to me-they are GROSS. The Boston Marathon has a sponsored mile of the PowerBar Energy Gels at mile 17, so when I’m in training for it, I make sure I get a few of them ahead of time for my training runs so I get used to the taste. Breakfast before a long run is huge. It’s always a bacon-egg-tomato-cheese sandwich on wheat. This keeps me full all day, I swear. And it’s DELIGHTFUL.
4. Now that we have covered eating-let’s talk hydrating. Drink drink drink. I cannot say it enough. Water, Gatorade, juices…I drink it all. Especially a big cup of Gatorade the night before, and one the morning of. All kinds of uncomfortable situations can arise while you dehydrated. I don’t carry water with me, but I will stop once an hour for a Gatorade. I always bring money and my debit card with me. Honestly I never know when I will NEED to stop in to a store to get something to drink/eat-even if I don’t use any of it-knowing I have it there is a peace of mind.
5. Rest the day before. I would wager that 85% of my runs are better run on a pair of fresh legs that have gotten a great night’s sleep and also have taken the day off before the long run.
6. Tuneage. I LOVE MY IPOD. I have done a few long runs sans tunes. But I don’t like it. Music makes me run faster, perform better, lights the fire under my sometimes slow legs. That moment when your favorite song comes on and you feel a burst of sprints coming on? Yeah, that. It’s awesome. My best runs always come when I’m able to completely tune out to my music. As corny as it sounds, I feel like I’m one with the Earth.
Well, that’s all she wrote! Wish me luck as I hit the streets… and as always…Run Free, Run Strong!
I would love to hear from you- Feel free to comment on this post and tell me about your own training patterns and tips!
Wanna run Baystate? They’ve still got spots for the half and full!
For more on long run training tips