February 28, 2015
This morning while working hard to maintain a consistent pace around my breezy and damp local parkrun I thought to myself
Wow, if I’m finding this tough how the hell am I gonna cope with tomorrows planned 15 miler?
As you may know I am marathon training, with just 56 days 5 hours and 32 minutes to go until the big day. 56 and a bit days until I tackle one of the worlds most popular marathons…the London marathon.
So how is the training going?
Last week I covered 10 miles but that was in a race (so it doesn’t really count), but my training plan says 15ish (it’s not that scientific). I tend to save my long runs for a Sunday because at the speed I go at it takes me most of the day.
Some of you may be thinking that you will never be covering that kind of distance like EVER…but what if one day you do get to that point? Or what if your long Sunday run is 8 miles or even 5miles instead…the point is regardless of the actual distance, doing a longer than normal run is scary, its supposed to be…you just have to approach it in the right way.
So here are my top 5 pointers for how to prepare for your important LSRs
- Commit to it by writing the date in your diary and telling other people you are doing it. This makes you accountable and less likely to chicken out.
- Decide whether to run with others or go it alone. There are pros and cons to both so you need to know how you are likely to cope…perhaps try out both options.
- Plan your route. This is THE most important aspect. Think about the distance and the need to be inspired by your route but also have the logistical support you need such as toilets and water stops if needed?
- Get your kit ready. Get organised the night before just like you do when you are racing. Don’t wear anything new and carry with you everything you might need but within reason. Gloves and a hat are a must incase you get cold as they are easy enough to shove in your bra if you get hot.
- Fuel yourself properly. This includes the day before, the meal before, during and after. Experiment with gels and other on the go fuels like beans, chewable tabs or drinks and then stick to what you know works for you.
- Organise a narrative. Whether it is music, audiobooks or podcasts plan what you want to listen to with precision, paying particular attention to quantity and the vibe your likely to require. You may like the sounds of nature and/or your own thoughts, but beware of the negative voices in your head that are likely to interrupt and take over.
- Walk if you need to. Of course you want to be able to cover the whole distance running, but so what if you have a few walking breaks or have to slow right down on the last mile, covering the distance and spending the right amount of time on your feet is the main thing.
- Try to enjoy it. Hopefully some of the above areas will help with this, but having a positive mindset is key to helping you to cope. Take note of the interesting or beautiful surroundings and think good thoughts about how far you have come rather than how much you have still to run.
- When it’s all over make sure you congratulate and reward yourself. A nice hot bath and a nap works for me, once I have refueled of course. Staying a little mobile helps with recovery and don’t leave it too long before scheduling a short run, or even a power walk.
When I first started out I used to think 10k was the furthest I would ever be able to run, and even now its a distance still to respect…but with anything beyond that it is simply a combination of physical conditioning and strengthening of the mind.
26.2 miles is an awful long way to run, but if I focus too much on the distance I would get overwhelmed and it would affect my training. One step at a time…one session at a time…one race at a time.
So think of me tomorrow as I plod around East London attempting to cover my longest distance in training so far.
My plan is to head out on my favourite Olympic Park, Hackney Marshes, Victoria Park, Regents Canal, Tower Bridge to Canada Water…where I will treat myself to some new running socks before heading home.
Good luck on your LSRs tomorrow…and if you haven’t got one scheduled, plan one and have a go at a distance that scares you just a little.