Every runner is familiar with those weekends where there is a long run marked in the calendar for the day. In my case i get different feelings about them depending on the day and my mood and how long and tiring my work week was. I am either excited and i have tons of anticipation for it or i am scared and not looking forward to it (that is up until i take the first step out the door!). Whatever the feeling that comes along though, we all know how important these runs are especially during training for a race.
On a different note, there is a little back story to this post that i ‘d like to share with you. Let me give you the timeframe here, we are in NYC the day before the first snowstorm of 2015 hit. Outside temp is -7C (that is around 19F or in plain english butt freezing cold)! And so it happens to be a Saturday where I have a nice 8 mile run marked on the calendar. Me being me (my usual forgetful and mindless self) left the house for my run without my gloves and earmuffs… Didn’t think much of it until mile 3 where i swear i thought my fingers were going to fall off 😦 That being said i decided it was time to cut my run short and turned around (something that doesn’t happen often around here given my extremely stubborn nature…just saying…). By the time i got home half an hour later i was Oooh so grateful that i ‘d finally be warm up until i realised that i never took my keys with me… So here i am sweaty and frozen with no keys and no roommate anywhere around the high 100s in uptown NYC. After 40’, a nearly tearful phonecall and a lot (I mean A LOT) of inappropriate language i got inside and finally got warmed… That was the day when I promised myself that I would never EVER leave for one of those runs without a pre-run check (yeah exactly like those they do before a plane takes off). And this is when my Long run essentials checklist was born. I hope it ‘ll help you as much as it helped me and it ‘ll keep you clear of situations like the one above 🙂
– Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the weather.
As a rule of thumb most runners get dressed like the temperature is 10C (50F) warmer than it actually is.
– Don’t forget cash or credit card, earphones and of course KEYS
– Hydrate & Fuel
So very important! For any run longer than 10 miles you need to make sure you have a way to provide extra fuel to your body. This can be water, running gels (these are the ones i like), or snacks like gummy bears (oh yes i am serious…), and energy bars.
– Map out your route
The are a lot of ways to do that. You can either use an app such as MapMyRun or if you are old fashioned like me 😉 you can use good ol’ google maps. What i like to do is either laps around the park near my home when i don’t feel like making sure i won’t get lost (4 laps are 20/ 12 miles) or a longer loop in my area when i feel like exploring our new neighborhood.
– Make sure your cell phone is charged
Now do I really have to comment on that one??? How many times have you been in this position? All pumped up to go for a run and by the time you get to the door you hear “bip bip bip” and the screen says “10% battery left – Please connect to charger”. And nowadays i don’t think many people would go for a run (especially a long one) with out their phones. Music, audio books, run tracking apps a phone (or Garmin watch) is a runner’s best friend.
– Don’t forget sun protection
If you are one of the lucky ones that run in a nice warm and sunny climate (the exact opposite of London that is) make sure you have your sunglasses, hat and of course sunscreen.
– Think SAFETY
Last but certainly not least, think about safety. Try to not to plan long runs in the evenings and make sure that always someone knows where your route is and how long you are planning it to be (depending on your pace).
– Final step? Learn to iterate all the above by heart about 30′ before your run. If you make it into a habit you ‘ll never find yourself frozen,stranded, lightheaded and hungry.