Wouldn’t it be nice if the mere act of signing up for a long-distance race were the hardest part? Unfortunately, forking over some cash is the easy part. The dreaded l-word, or “long” run, is where things get tricky, especially if you’re a newbie in the running community.
Try these tips to prepare for your next long run.
- Be an early bird. Running in the morning is smart for several reasons. You avoid the hottest temperatures, it starts your day on a positive note and you’re less likely to over-indulge beforehand and risk running into an upset stomach. (Been there, done that. Woof).
- Find a mantra. Running isn’t just in your legs. Or core. Or hips. It’s in your head. Embrace the magic of a running mantra to think your way through your longest runs. Whether it’s wholesome language or a profanity-riddled croon, own it. It’s your secret weapon.
- Buddy up. Some people thrive on running in solitude. But, for others — especially beginners — the buddy system can make all the difference. It keeps you accountable, and makes the mileage a little less, well, lonely. Check out Bob Roncker’s Running Spot running groups to find one yourself.
- Grab the carbs. In recent decades, diet fads and “model behavior” have given carbohydrates a bad rap. In the world of running, fueling properly with carbs can make or break your trot through town. Nourish your body the night before with healthy carbohydrates like pasta, rice, starchy vegetables or bread, and eat it early enough to properly digest before your alarm sounds. Get more carbo-loading tips from this article in Running Times.
- Update the iPod. If you’ve got the pre-run jitters, refreshing your playlist with some upbeat, energizing jams might be just the ticket for getting psyched up.
- Stretch it out. Experts argue the perks of stretching before your run, but most agree that tacking this post-race ritual to the end of your workout boasts a variety of benefits. Wind down with 10 to 15 minutes of stretching to decrease your risk of injury and improve performance.