In It For The Long Run

Whatever distance you're working towards its likely that if you're following a plan that one day a week you'll encounter "the long run". What is it and how can you make it slightly less painful?

The long run is designed to gradually increase week by week. You're not meant to race this run but instead run at a steady pace. If you're training for a marathon this run will slowly increase week by week and then drop to give you some rest bite then increase again until the taper. If you're training for a marathon you're likely to be covering upwards of 14 miles to 20-22 miles depending on your plan, your long run is going to take a few hours so I thought I'd share a few ideas on how I like to survive the long run:

1. Break it up - whenever I do any workout I always break it down into sections and then break the sections down again. Marathon training is no different. A marathon is all about mind over matter so it's good to give yourself something to think about. Try breaking up a longrun with a Parkrun in the middle or at the start and then run home.

2. Train with someone - break up your run by planning to meet up with a friend. Although it's harder to time a meet up midway through a run I would recommend arranging to meet someone for the second part, that way you've got someone to give you a boost when you're running out of energy and someone to distract you from your running.
3. Listen to a podcast - I love listening to music when I run and have previously choreographed whole dance routines in my head. Try downloading some podcasts it works successfully to distract you from running. The podcasts could be about running or sometimes policitcal ones are good or even audio books. I find autobiographies are really good to listen to as you get so wrapped up in listening to the story that the miles pass much more quickly.

4.Post-run plan - although the long run is meant to be steady it's good to have a reason to keep going. I've found that when I have a fun afternoon planned I'm much better at keeping my pace. I wouldn't recommend giving yourself a fixed finish time by booking a train ticket like I did once, that was very stressful. Even something as simple as having your favourite breakfast/brunch ready for when you get in, or your favourite post-run snack can really motivate you to hurry home. I'm very lucky to be running the London Marathon with the official snack sponsor KIND and so I've got a selection of their yummy bars to chose from when I get in (always go for the blue one!).

5. Change your day - although marathon training has taken over my life I'm trying really hard not to let it affect my friends and family too much and so I'm quite creative with when I do my long run. It won't work for everyone but I'm a morning person and feel more energetic on a morning when I've been for a run so in order to save my whole weekend I've popped a couple of longruns as morning commutes. I've also planned longruns home after Parkruns. There's no better feeling on a Sunday morning to roll over in bed and realise you already have your miles in the bank and that you've earned a rest day.

6. Save your favourites - I tend to save my favourite routes for longruns that way I'm excited about running them. I also save my favourite running outfits and playlists for the longruns too. You don't want to be in a pair of leggings that you have to keep pulling up for 16 miles. It's also a mini-practice for race day so you'll want to be testing out your best kit to make sure it's the one.

If you have any more suggestions of ways to pass the time, or of good podcasts to listen to, drop me a note below, I'd love any extra ideas.