Do you have pre-race rituals. It’s probably not uncommon for most runners, including me, to lay out my running clothes, bib number, fuel belt and shoes the night before a big race. Often times we look at the course map, print out driving directions, and definitely have cash along for street parking if needed.
“Do you have a favorite pre-race meal?”. I usually have pasta of some sort and lots of water throughout the day. Wine waits till my celebratory dinner after the race. Even if I didn’t PR or ran for run, I can’t wait to treat myself after the race to a hot cup of coffee & a yummy brunch. I’m all ready looking forward to that wine in the evening with a nice dinner. I definitely have a routine before a race and believe it or not, after. “You?”.
This past Friday I went out for a longer run, 12 miles, which is not all that long but it felt like 20. Geez was it hard! One of my slowest averaging over 10 minute miles. Last Friday I ran 11, cruising along at a 9 minute pace and I felt like a million bucks. The best part about both of these runs, even though one was much more pleasant and seemed easier, I realized it’s also good to have Pre-LONG Run Rituals.
“Do you plan out your Long Runs?”. “Do you eat the same thing every morning before a long run?”. “Do you plan out what you’re going to wear?”. “How about the night before, do you have the same pre-long run meal?”. “Do you make sure you get a good nights sleep before your long run?”. “Fuel?”
Most often long runs are not as well-planned. At least for me, life gets a bit hectic, especially during the holidays, and we just make it work, thinking it’s not a race, it’s just a long run.
This week I was out of bread, my bananas were too ripe (yuck) and I over slept, most likely because I was up later than usual and I didn’t sleep well. I simply went out the door and thought, it’s only 12 miles, I can do this. I realized at mile 2.5 I also forgot my fuel. UGH!
It’s been a while since I have had such a rotten run so thought maybe this might be helpful if you too have experienced bad long runs. To be honest, I love a LONG SLOW DISTANT RUN, but this one really sucked because I couldn’t have gone faster even if I tried. Most often if I have a Long Slow Distant (LSD) run planned, I have to force myself to slow down. Not this week!
So, if some of these obstacles are preventing you from running, or even having a good run, maybe some of these pre-long ritual may be beneficial for you too. Easy things like, have your favorite long run workout clothes ready. Make sure you eat breakfast. Keep hydrated and most importantly get a good nights sleep.
I try my best to give my long runs the same respect and attention I give to races. Sure, things might come up, especially during the holidays, and I am not always going to be 100% prepared and ready to go full speed for every single training run. In fact, many of my long runs are just that, long and slow, and not at race pace. But I also don’t want them to be a struggle! I have learned over the years, if I stick to my routine for my long runs, I have a better training season and a much better experience come race day.
Before long runs I do most of the following (this varies slightly depending on length of long run and my week).
- I make sure to get in some good carbs for lunch and dinner the day before. Once I get up to 20 miles I may eat more carbs 2 and 3 days before my long run day, which is usually Fridays.
- Hydrate well the day before and skip the wine the night before.
- I try to get to bed at a decent hour. (Sometimes that means turning off the computer screen before work is done!) This is probably my biggest flaw.
- Plan my route. Even if the wind is a certain direction, I tough it out and MOST often don’t change my route.
- I am never hungry first thing in the morning but I give myself plenty of time to eat a good breakfast, which is usually sprouted ezekiel toast with almond butter & honey, and I choke down half a banana?.
- Take fuel. I really like the Energy Chews from Shaklee and their Electrolyte drink. They both work well for me.