I am so proud and excited for my friend Amanda who decided to accept the challenge of training for her first Marathon. She will be running the San Francisco Marathon on July 31st. When I was talking to her yesterday she express some nervousness about running her first EVER 15 miler on Sunday. And it’s totally understandable as the long run is your practice runs – your dress rehearsals. The long run is the most important component of marathon training because it teaches the body to both mentally and physically tackle the challenges presented in completing the 26.2-miler! What happen with the long run training is that we teach our body to store more glycogen within the muscles increasing the glycogen stores that will help us maintain our pace during the marathon holding off fatigue. But training for a marathon requires not only physical strength and dedication, but mental toughness. For this reason, I decided to dedicate this post to Amanda with few tips of how to approach a long run.
One Mile at a Time
First thing I told her yesterday was to take ” 1 Mile at a time.” Taking one mile at a time, biting off small chunks of what could be an overwhelming whole, seems more manageable. Running 15 miles mentally feels intimidating but running three 5 milers doesn’t feel so bad and scary. That’s how I approched my first long runs. The way I see it, by making and keeping small goals to ourselves we’ll build confidence and maintain motivation that will help us reach the big goal. So Amanda, tomorrow get out there, break down the run into three 5 mile chunks and run! Listen to your mind, think POSITIVE and have fun enjoying every single mile!
Rest the day before (TODAY)
Get lots of rest tonight, aim for 8 hours sleep. If you do train today, make it a very light workout on the legs. Keep OFF your FEET today!
- Begin hydrating TODAY. It’s very important for replacing fluid lost through sweating and will help you run faster=) The rule is at least 8 glasses a day.
- Eat meals high in carbohydrates for lunch and dinner TODAY. This is also a great time to experiment different food and figure out what works best for you so when marathon week comes, you can concentrate on relaxing as you already rehearsed the routine.
- Avoid foods with too much protein and fat content TODAY
- On Sunday morning prior to your long run, drink a nice glass of water and a light breakfast (also rehearsal) of 250-300 calories about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.
- Drink lots of fluids while running. The general rule of thumb is to take in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs.
- Consider trying gels or energy bars to understand which nutrition replacement agrees better with your stomach. But be sure to chase them down with water to avoid stomach cramps.
- After your run is over, continue to drink fluids like water, sports drinks, and/or juice…I’ll have them ready for you at Bob’s & Laura=)
- As soon as possible, (best within 15 minutes), grab something nutritious to eat to replace your depleted glycogen stores. Research indicates that if you eat carbohydrates as soon as possible after the long run helps reduce muscle stiffness and soreness the next day!
- Start out slow to preserve glycogen (energy)
- Stay loose and once in awhile shakeout your arms and shoulders.
- Carry your arms close to your waist or hips to save energy.
- Pain & fatigue might show up especially in the later miles. It’s normal! Be strong. Keep going through these times will make you mentally strong, essential quality during the marathon.
- Use visualization & Imagery to develop mental toughness. See yourself crossing the finish line, your loved one cheering for you and recall positive experiences from previous training runs or races.