Your weekly long run has rolled around again and you know there must be something you can do to make it easier. Here are our top tips on how to do a long run.
Plan your long run
Make sure you have scheduled each and every long run into your calendar so you know when they are and won't be double booking yourself or forgetting about them. Your long runs will likely take a lot out of you and so it's important to plan your rest and recovery around these.
Plan your route
Where you are going to be running is definitely something you are going to need to know before setting off out the door, so you might as well get it done a little before then! Where possible, try to create a fun and exciting route with good views to distract yourself from simply counting kilometres. You could do your long run somewhere new every so often to mix things up and keep things exciting! Once you have your route planned you can get excited and are one step closer to getting out the door.
Your long runs are designed to take the pressure off you, from having to stick to a specific pace or even run on a specific route or terrain, to accommodate the session. If you're running in a City it could be as simple as running to a new park that you've never been to before or taking a left where you'd usually turn right. If you're running in the countryside you can explore some new trails, or plan a route to a beautiful viewpoint. The point is, training for races can feel tedious at times, and varying your running routes is a great way of spicing up your training and exploring new places, all whilst getting you closer to your race day goal! Apps such as Strava and Komoot offer route-planning functions, where you can create your own routes to explore your local areas, map them out and save them to your devices
Lay out your kit
When you wake up in the morning and see your running kit laid out on the floor in front of you, you are going to have to put it on! And once it's on you will have no excuses not to go for that run. Make sure you have charged your watch as well - you won't want to have to sit around waiting for it to charge in the morning. You might also want to have some form of money with you in case of emergencies (or post-run ice creams!)
Plan your fuel
This is the best part! Your long runs are the perfect opportunity to practice your race day nutrition. Make sure you have a good breakfast with slow release carbohydrates and leave it enough time to settle in your stomach before heading out. Depending on the length of your run, you are likely to also need mid-run fuel - you can take this in the form of energy gels or sweets.
If you aren't running with a pack and have no pockets, plan a stop at a corner shop, or hide snacks near your house and run past it half way through the run. It might also be a good idea to take on some water during your run. You can carry this in a pack, handheld water bottle, hide it or visit a corner shop en route.
It's also a good idea to plan your post run fuel - you can leave a banana and protein shake or bar out for when you return or make sure your fridge is plenty stocked up with yogurt or chocolate milk.
Grab a friend
Bringing a friend on a long run is definitely the best way to make your long run more enjoyable! If you've told a friend that you are going on a run with them you also have someone to hold you accountable to the distance. If your friends aren't up for running the whole long run with you, you can organise to have different friends join you for different sections if you just predict where you'll be and when. It would also help to share your location with them when its nearly their turn to join.
If you do end up going out solo you could still tell a friend what session you're doing to hold yourself that little bit more accountable.