5 Tips to Survive Your Long Run

The Chicago Marathon is coming up in FOUR WEEKS!  Yesterday I completed an 18 mile long run, and next weekend is a 20 miler–my longest run before the marathon.  When I tell my family or friends about my training, they are always amazed (and disgusted).  For me, though, the long runs haven’t been completely horrible.  Here’s how I have survived my long runs thus far:

5 Tips

  1. Limit alcohol the night before.  I’ve been training through the summer and being dehydrated has been a major concern of mine.  Any amount of alcohol the day before a long run will dehydrate you and just make it that much harder to complete the run, so do your self a favor and avoid it!
  2. Starting the run as early as possible.  This will ensure that you can check the run off your list of things to do and avoid warmer temperatures during the middle of the day.
  3. Run on a path.  For me, I need as few stops and distractions as possible while I’m running, and the forest preserve path by my house has been great for that!  There are also plenty of bathrooms and water fountains along the trail.  The main path is a 7.3 mile loop with shorter trails branching off, which makes it easy to switch up the routes each week so that I don’t get bored.
  4. Prepare an amazing playlist.  Like I said before, these runs can take 3-4 hours to complete, so you need to have a good variety of music, podcasts, etc. to keep yourself entertained and motivated throughout the run.  Make sure your iPod/iPhone is fully charged beforehand–there’s nothing worse than your iPod dying mid-run!
  5. Adequate fuel and fluids.  About an hour and a half before running, I eat a bagel with peanut butter.  While running, I carry a water bottle that has a mini backpack, where I store Clif shot blocks and my keys.  I take 2 shot blocks every 35-40 minutes, and drink water about every mile or so.  It’s taken some practice to run while holding a water bottle, but works out much better for me than a hydration belt.

Your Turn!  What are your tips for surviving long runs?