The Pre Long Run Checklist For Runners

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In this journey of Marathon Training, we train every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. The Tuesday and Thursday runs are shorter but have a very specific training such as hill repetitions or interval training. The Saturday’s are always the Slow Long Runs – SLRs as we call them. Many runners do this on Sunday, but I follow it on Saturday as per my Coach’s plan.

Long Runs are defined as any run which requires 90 mins and above. When doing a run in an SLR pace it requires you to be on feet for a long period of time. The distance covered is usually 10 kms + and sometimes it may involve running for upto 3 – 4 hours depending on the training one is in.

Managing a house on a Saturday or Sunday especially when the rest of the family has the weekend off, but you have a long run to complete, is quite a task. Over the last one year that I have been training with JJs, I have become a little more organized when it comes to the weekend runs. After having run such long distances, I find it quite a task to come home and finish my weekend chores.

Here’s a Checklist that I have been following:

Keep Your Friday In Check – The way you spend your Friday will reflect on your training on Saturday. I try to keep the Fridays free of any meetings or deadlines, trying to finish everything off by Thursday. I try to stay indoors as much as possible, finishing off work from home. The idea is to rest the body as much as possible without adding stress both mentally or physically.

Hydration & Diet – I follow my diet on most days and Friday is no exception. The same goes for the my hydration as well. I keep a conscious check on the water intake so that I don’t feel dehydrated during my long run. While it’s the same principle on all other training days as well, its particularly important before a long run because the chances of you getting hydration enroute are low. So you need to rely on your body until you find the next shop to pick up water. Avoid having spicy food so that the next morning you do not end up having an upset bowel.

Say No To Friday Late Nights – I have cancelled numerous Friday night parties or late night parties only because I want to get a good night sleep. Having alcohol is a big no-no before a long run because it leads to severe shortness of breath and dehydration for me.

Prepping For The Long Run – Before going to bed, I set up everything that I need for the next day. I keep my outfit, hydration belt, extra water bottles that I would need, gels, a small pouch with 2 dates, 5 almonds, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, electrolytes, some cash, shoes, socks, cap, & fully charged GPS watch. Organizing this, saves atleast 20 mins of my time in the morning which I can use to sleep a little extra.
Envision A New Route – If you are running in a group like me, its most likely your group lead would have thought of a new route for you. If you are running alone, try to explore newer routes. New routes break the monotony and give the legs a fresh perspective. You have something new to look forward to and elevation profiles would be different in a new route. Adjusting yourself to the new route will keep you alert and agile while running. As always it would be a new experience.
Taking Care Of Yourself – I learnt this the hard way. I have got tanned after every long run and chaffed in many runs especially if I have my periods going on. This is quite a common affair. Having blisters post every long run is still very common with me. To avoid tanning, I use a long sleeved inner and definitely wear a cap. For chaffing I have tried anti chaffing creams and vaseline to coconut oil, but it doesn’t help. It’s just a lot of sweat and friction which cannot be avoided. Blisters are yet another thing which I haven’t been able to get a control over, so I have accepted them as a way of life.

Mental Preparation – I believe its very important to mentally align yourself to the training plan. I also believe in surrendering one’s self to the training plan and the Coach who knows whats best for you. The more resistance we have to the training, the more excuses you will come up with to avoid the long runs. Mentally aligning myself to the longer mileages helps me look forward to it rather than detesting it.
Having An Accountability Partner Helps – I used this in the initial days when I would need the extra push to do my long runs. My run buddy promptly used to give me a wake up call and then also call and talk to me for 5 mins mentally preparing me to give it my all during the run. During the initial days it helped me a lot. Having someone who can give you that gentle nudge and someone whom you feel accountable towards because of the efforts they put in towards you, helps a lot. I use this now, when I have a late night. Ofcourse now I have the self motivation, however, just so that I don’t get lazy and get back to bed, I tell my buddy to give me a wake up call.
Meal Prepping For The Weekend – After a daunting mileage put in, I find it very challenging to stand and prepare a full meal for the family. Its their weekend and they expect an elaborate affair at the meal table. I am very very big on meal prepping. I make a couple of dishes on the days that I have time on hand and freeze them. I prep as much as possible on Friday to make my Saturday meals a smooth sail.
Personally I find the long runs very enjoyable because its at a comfortable pace plus it gives me an opportunity to connect with my other run buddies and get to know them better. Being organized and remaining calm and stress free adds to the whole enjoyment of the long run. 
What do you follow to keep yourself stress free before a long run? Let me know in the comments section so that I can learn from you. 

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