Back in February I wrote about the many benefits of a long run, and there are quite a few of them. The long run is a staple of any training plan, regardless of distance, but how exactly do you get ready to hit the road and conduct your longest run of the week? Here are a few tips on how to prepare yourself to go long.

1. Start with the right foods and start a few days prior to the run. The way you perform when you run is directly related to what you eat, and there are no quick fixes or magic pills when it comes to proper nutrition. The good news is that this variable can easily be controlled by the right kind of meal planning. You can find some helpful tips on what you should eat before a run in my latest blog.

2. Check the weather. Mother nature has been throwing us for a loop all summer but some information is better than no information, right? Find out what the weather forecast holds the day of your run and do your best to plan ahead.

3. Make sure you address your mid-run nutrition needs. This means carrying the right number of Gu energy gel packets, the right amount of water or sports drink and even some salt tablets if you’re the kind of runner who sweats a lot. It’s also a good idea to consume Gu gel or salt tablets with water so have enough of it handy, especially in these dog days of summer!

4. Plan the route. Take a little time to think about where (and what time of day) to do your long run. This may reveal some additional considerations you may not have thought about such as the need to stash a bottle of water or sports drink somewhere along a route, or the kind of clothing you’ll need out there. The less shaded the route, the hotter it will be.

5. Prepare your long run gear the night before the run. If you’re getting close to race-day, use what you plan to wear that day on at least one of your long runs, including the shoes (except racing flats if that’s the plan on race day). It’s also a good idea to wear a quality running hat to wick the sweat off of your head. This can save your eyes (and hair) from the sweat. I would also recommend wearing some running shades; they not only keep your eyes protected from harmful UV rays, they also reduce glare. This keeps your face calm which can translate to less tension in the rest of your body.

6. Apply your Body Glide. Chafing is no fun and in some cases, your skin chafes when you least expect it.

7. Carry some cash, a credit card and a form of ID. I never leave home without mine! If you don’t have pockets in which to stash them, you can use these convenient RoadID shoe pouchesRoadID is a great company which makes products that can connect people to your very vital information (name, address, emergency contact) in case there is ever an accident out there. Their products come in a variety of forms and they have literally saved people’s lives. You can never be too careful while on a long run.

8. Let your family or significant other know your long run plans. Just in case something happens or you need to contact them for any reason. Again, you can never be too careful out on the roads.

9. Recruit a running buddy or join a group because, for the most part, doing every long run alone is no fun. If you have to run alone, prepare your playlist ahead of time or follow our Hit The Rhode or Hit The Rhode 2 playlists on Spotify. We’ve carefully curated some songs just for you!

10. Last but certainly not least, get enough sleep, especially two nights before the run. This has always been the most important night for me.

So as you can see, it all comes down to the proper planning and preparation. Take a little time to think about your long run needs and you’ll be setting yourself up to have a great run!

Run better. Run smarter. Run for life.

Coach Mwangi

For more tips on how to prepare for your long run, feel free to contact me at coachmwangi@gmail.com or pull me aside at our next group run.

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