I admit long runs are not the easiest and enjoyable thing for most people. Mostly because it is tough on the body, drains the energy, and leaves one sore for days. However, I have done two half marathon, many 5 and 10K runs, and signing up for this LA Marathon in March. So how is it that I endure running and keep doing long runs? I enjoy the mental and physical challenge of a long run and the feeling of accomplishment once it’s done. Plus all the other health and neurological benefits I get from running. Here are some tricks and tips I have learn to prepare for long distance running.
- Prepare the Night Before- The night before any run, I ensure that to drink plenty of water and eat a good meal. I prefer to eat something with high fats, such as chicken almond pasta recipe, as fats will keep me satisfied longer. Also I get plenty of sleep the night before. By the next day, I will be well rested, hydrated and fueled up to go.
- Warm-up and Cool Down Stretch- In order to prepare the muscles and joints for a long run, a warm-up is important. Before strecthing I take short, easy runs to warm up the muscle, then follow with dynamic and static stretches. Here a blog post on the best way to stretch your muscles. For cool down, I do not stop and rest suddently. I move around and perform the same stretches as the warm-up.
- Practice Running Properly – Having a great form while running is important to prevent injury and sustain the long runs. Focus on these tips below on how to have run with proper form. I focus on keeping my back straight, looking ahead, and pushing off the ground.
- Condition Body by Running Frequently – Best way to get better at running is to just run, as easy as that. I run at least one long distance a week, moving up in increments each week, and some smaller runs in between those. Allowing the body, and mind, to get accustom to running is what it takes to be comfortable at it.
- Mindset – The most challenging aspect of a long run is maintaing a strong mindset. Not allowing the doubt to creep in. Have my goal at the forefront of my mind and when I think of giving up, I think of how good it would feels to have accomplish it…..oh and the carbs I can eat post run.
- Increase Speed – While it shouldn’t matter how long it takes you, most competition has a time limit. My favorite ways to increase my minute per mile run is by performing both tempo runs and HITTS. Tempo runs are smaller 1-4 mile runs at higher speeds than normal. While HITTS, high intense interval training, are runs in which you sprint for one minute, rest, and repeat.
- Before and After Meals – For a long run, a pre-workout nutrition should consist of more carbs than protein. As carbs are metabolized into glucose (energy) quicker. I also include protein and fiber in my meal for steady energy. A high fiber cereal with raisen and milk, a fruit smoothie with hemp protein, or greek yogurt with fruit are good choices. Post workout, I will need to replenish the carbs and elctroylytes, so I drink a sports drink or coconut water, and a carb rich meal.