The long run is a staple workout for distance running. If you want to do well in the marathon distance, the golden rule is to never skip the long run. But, the long run is hard – it is long, it is lonely and it is boring. But it is the long run that builds your aerobic endurance. This helps you run faster over a longer period of time. Here are a couple of tips to hep you master the long run.
Elite athletes always tell you, start with your mind. Most elite athletes always visualise their race happening, visualise what may go wrong, visualise all eventualities and visualise how they are able to overcome those eventualities. Do the same. Visualise your long run. Visualise the route you are going to run. Visualise yourself running well and finishing strong. Trust in yourself. Trust in your training. Trust the process. When the going gets tough, tell yourself, you are training hard to race easy.
You are afterall going on a long run so carb up! Remember, this is also important for race day because your race day nutrition would probably replicate your long run nutrition. Play around and see what works for you. Everyone is different. Basically, if you are struggling to complete your run strong, try increasing the amount you eat and see how you feel.
#3 Pace Yourself
Remember to pace yourself well. This is not a race. Long runs are about the effort. You don’t want to go into a race overtrained. Don’t leave your best efforts in training and falter when it comes to race day because you are too tired. Long runs should be done at conversational pace. You can still make some sort of conversation – not the out of breath kind.
#4 Break It Up
Our greatest enemy is ourselves. Our mind can do great things to convince ourselves and also discourage ourselves. One method is to break it up mentally. Thing of it as 4 sets of 5kilometres. Or you can take a break midway to catch a drink before continuing on again. The distance may seem daunting but, breaking it up, it’s not that bad afterall.
#5 Hydration And Mid Run Fuelling
Hydration is necessary during a long run to cover a larger distance. You may want to carry a hydration pack with you or carry a bottle or even plan your route such that you run past a petrol kiosk for a mini break. You can also experiment with fuelling yourself mid run. This will also serve as your race fuelling strategy. Everyone’s stomach is different. Some people are more sensitive to some gels than others. So you would need to experiment with this during your long runs to see what works for you.
Remember what works for other people, may not work for you!