With the start of the new year, many are probably beginning training plans for spring races. I’ve always chosen fall races in the past, to avoid having to follow a training plan during the cold and snowy months. But this year, I’ve got things to train for this spring and plenty of long runs ahead of me through this winter. Here are my tips for a successful long run:
1. Break it up into manageable chunks. A 20 mile run doesn’t seem so daunting when it’s 7 miles, 7 miles, then 5 miles. Just focus on the segment you’re in and don’t worry about the run as a whole. I originally picked this tip up from Coach Holly. You can also break up a run by running different loops within a trail system.
2. Focus on time. If you don’t have to go a specific distance, I find it helps to head out for a run based on time. Or if you are running a specific distance, focus on the amount of time you’ve been running, instead of how many miles you have left.
For me, the amount of time I’ve been out there is a motivating thing. Knowing I’ve been running for two hours gives me a boost to keep going.
3. Pay attention to your hydration and nutrition. Make sure you drink and eat as needed. This is the time to keep yourself going and figure out what works for you come race day. You can also play little games, like taking a sip of water every half mile, to help you keep going when a run gets tough.
4. Bring a buddy. They help the time pass and they can help keep you going. Or, if all else fails just remember that misery loves company.
5. Know what works for you and play to your strengths. When it comes to a long run you need to do what works for you. If you love exploring new places, a long run is a great time to do that. If exploring new places is out of your comfort zone, save that for shorter runs and go somewhere familiar. I like doing my long runs at familiar trails because I know where the rough spots will be, have familiar land marks, etc.
What are your tips for a long run/workout?