1 year ago I became a race runner. To me a race runner is one who trains for running races.
I have been a runner for most of my life with competitive running in high school and freshman year in college. After an injury in college, I had stopped running for a while as I was devastated to not be able to participate in the sport that I had come to love and excel in. Fast forward 10 years and I started playing football that required endurance that I developed by running. Again, I had found a sport that I enjoyed and was good at and then I had my 1st ACL injury. This put a stop to any running and activity. I made my way back to football and again ran here and there but with no real purpose. Fast forward 10 years or so to where I endure another ACL injury which would lead to similar recovery and rehab as before. The difference this time around was that I was a different athlete. I was healthier, fitter, stronger and more determined than ever! I was determined to not let me injury knock me down and out and worked hard to get back on the field. Part of that rehab was mastering running a straight line. Sounds easy enough but I tell ya after knee surgery, it was not! What started out as a way to get me back on the football field in time for Nationals in January (6 months post surgery), has turned into my rekindled love of running.
In this 1 year, I have learned so much about running, training and racing. The one part that has changed the most for me is what I have learned about the long run.
A long run is the highest mileage run of any week in your training schedule. The mileage of your long run depends on what race distance you’re training for. For a runner training for a 10K, a long run might be 8 miles. Marathoners may run 20 miles for a long run. Long runs (also called long distance run) are usually done at conversational pace, usually at about 70-75% of max HR.
The benefits of long runs include: helps improve your endurance by strengthening the heart and opening the capillaries; strengthens your leg muscles and ligaments; teaches your body to burn fat as fuel; and develops your mental toughness and coping skills.
Many of times before a long run, my pee has not been the right color to endure the long run. I often would get tired fast, have a hard time breathing and overall have a sucky run!!
Lesson learned: DRINK WATER! During the week but most importantly the day before.
Lesson #2-Post Run Stretch
This is a work in progress for me. i tend to just get up out of bed, put on some clothes and head out the door. I have begun to do some dynamic stretching before my runs and have noticed that I am looser and lest strained in my running.
Lesson Learned-still learning but I know stretchering is good for you!
Lesson #3- Pre- Run Fuel
I continue to experiment with what fuels me for my long runs and races.
I have used:
Protein and fats:
Carbs and Fats:
To be most honest, I have not noticed much of a difference from one fueling source to the other. I know that I need something in my body to help me endure the long run but each of these have assisted in that and given me what I need to endure the long run.
Lesson Learned: Always give your body fuel for the long run.
Lesson #4- Gear Check
I am know to be a weather checker stalker. I get so nervous about not being dressed properly for a run. I hate being too cold or to hot during a run. I like to be right in the between. After checking the weather incessantly, I also check the ‘what to wear’ websites and posters to make sure I am properly dressed to endure the long run.
Lesson Learned: Check the weather and wear layers.
Lesson #5-Pace Yourself
I have read many places that your long run should be about anywhere from 30 sec to up to 2 minutes slower than your race pace. This continues to be a challenging idea to grasp and put into action. Additionally, I usually run my long runs with my solemate Alanna over at Madeleines and Marathons. She is a much faster runner than I am and once we get going, we typically are running between 9:30-10:00 min miles. This may be a slower pace for her but is still quite fast for me. On days that I run my long runs without her, I find that I run comfortably at about a 10:30-10:45 min/mile pace which would still be considered to fast for a long run. This lesson is a work in progress for me and I look forward to mastering my long run pace that will allow me to endure the long run.
Lesson Learned: Still learning
Lesson #6- Post Run recovery
Lesson 6b-Post Fuel
I tend to be ravenous after a long run. My go to items are:
Herbalife 24- Rebuild Strength
The combination of these settles my hunger and rebuilds and replenished my body well.
Lesson Learned: Feed the body….recovery happens when the body is well fed!
Lesson #7- Rest…Rest…Rest
I usually am out and about throughout the day after a long run and never truly give me body the rest that it needs. I notice that not being able to just rest a little after the long run makes the day a lot longer and harder for me. Another work in progress for me as I am fully aware of not liking how I feel physically after a long run.
Lesson Learned: Still learning….
How do you endure a long run?
Have a Fit-Tastic Day!!
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