Thursday, February 19, 2015

7 Tips to Survive Your Long Runs (and Feel Pretty Damn Good)

A couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business, training for the Canyonlands Half Marathon on March 21. I was putting in about 30 miles per week and doing long runs in the 10 mile range. I had no marathon on my agenda, and wasn’t especially sure I wanted one.

Then, this happened. I fell over myself saying “yes” because who wouldn’t want to run a marathon in Jerusalem? If I have to crawl over the Wailing Wall I’ll do it, while wailing.

I want to ramp up my mileage but I’m not stupid. You can’t and shouldn’t train for a marathon in four weeks. So, what to do? I decided that I’d do three longer runs (14 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles), keep weekly mileage around 35 to 40 miles and call it good. This will give me a 10 day taper. I’ll be sufficiently undertrained and will suffer on race day. But, I will be in Jerusalem for crap’s sake.

Yesterday I went out for 14 miles. I kept the pace pretty chill. I stopped at mile 9 at my friend’s house for water. No one was home so I stole a bunch of Girl Scout cookies and short sheeted the bed.  I remembered to flush because no one likes to come home to a floater.

This is what I would look like if I was bald (and didn’t wear make up every day and never tweezed my eyebrows).

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The run felt good until mile 12 when it didn’t feel good anymore. My legs hurt. I haven’t run that far since my Ironman in August (if you could even call that running). My lower body was pissed. At mile 12 I put music in to take my mind off of things. My newest favorite song = Mess is Mine by Vance Joy.

While I was running I had shit ton of time to think about long runs and how we can make them the most comfortable and successful as possible.  Here’s some thoughts:

1. Eat enough before. My rule of thumb is this equation. .5 x my body weight x #of hours before I run = grams of carbs I need. This translates to .5 x 112 x 1 hour = 56 carbs (or 28 grams if I’m running in a half hour).  That is Algebra VII. I ate two pieces of toast slathered with avocado and a fried egg.

2. Use music as a reward. I love running with music but I don't want to be dependent on it. For that reason, I do some runs without tunes. For really long runs and races, I’ll listen to music for the second half if I’ve been a good girl. I won’t listen to music in Jerusalem because I don’t want to block out one minute of the experience. Plus, I wonder what “GO BETH” or “Looking strong!” sounds like in Hebrew.

3. Drink to thirst. While I try to take in 4 ounces ever 15-20 minutes, my thirst obviously depends on weather and how much I sweat. I try to listen to my body on this one.

4. Take in 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour. The amount you consume depends on your size. I do about 30 grams. I ate an Apple Pie Clif Shot at mile 7 (highly recommend), Girl Scout cookies at mile 9 and a few cherry Shot Bloks at mile 12.

5.  Go by feel not pace. I used to do all of my long runs at a set pace (a minute or so slower than marathon pace). The problem with that is that there are so many varying conditions like weather, being hungover, etc. that it doesn’t work to stick to a certain pace.

Instead, I try to ignore my watch and go based on feel. I keep myself at pace where I could easily carry on a conversation (when running alone I just converse with myself the whole time) and a pace where I can’t hear my breathing (no, I’m not dead, but I just can’t hear myself doing any heavy breathing).

6. Have a mantra. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it really helps. My favorites are “can’t stop, won’t stop” and “enjoy the mile I’m in,” and “I am strong, I am tough.”

7. Eat protein/carbs within approximately 24.2 minutes after having finished your run. This will rebuild your destroyed muscles, restore glycogen and help you recover faster. The idea ratio is 4:1 carb to protein. I came home around lunch time so I feasted on leftover pulled pork, mac ‘n cheese and sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Looks like hell on a plate, but it rocked my world.

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Looking forward to trying this on my next long run (well, I’m not really looking forward to it, but I will be a guinea pig and try it so I can tell you how it is):

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Any other tips for the long run?

What is your mantra?

How far was your last long run?

 

SUAR

PS: Speaking of long runs, my dear friend Erika is training for her first marathon. She is doing this to raise money for an organization called Children’s Treehouse that supports children whose parents have cancer. PLEASE consider a donation to her cause and check out her blog here: A Marathon for Children’s Treehouse.

36 comments:

  1. pizza margherita? I think I might have just vomited a little in my mouth... First, I like my pizza straight up and margaritas on the rocks. If the the two shall meet? Well, let it not be in a viscous form!
    Looking forward to the review on that one!

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    1. i am so with you on that. viscous pizza margarita.
      IS. JUST. WRONG

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    2. Pizza Margherita isn't pizza and the alcoholic drink. :D It's just a type of pizza.

      And no, I can't imagine a pizza flavored energy food/gel. ICK!

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  2. As always, sage advice from SUAR. That marathon sounds awesome. But pizza flavored cliff shots? No thanks. I'll stick with salted caramel.

    I always say that some long runs are tougher than others. You never know for sure until you do it. Last week's 21 miler was really hard, because I was so bored on the treadmill. And I even had my headphones and the new "self"ish magazine to read. Should be better this weekend - only a 16 miler.

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  3. Last long run was 14 miles and that was 6 months ago :( Haven't been able to run since then! 2 weeks post op FAI surgery! Running thru you! Good luck in Jerusalem!

    PS that cliff pack doesn't sound or look good! Skip it#

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  4. Please report back on trying that "pizza". I read an article recently about sports nutrition companies developing more savory types of quick energy food.

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  5. I've got 18 on Saturday morning. Breakfast about an hour before I leave will probably be steel cut oats with yoghurt and maple syrup (lotsa yummy carbs), clif shots during (mix of citrus / 1/2 shot caffeine and a raspberry / no caffeine so I don't get "coffee belly"), PB and banana sandwich and several bottles of water with kosher salt and lime juice mixed in, to help me rehydrate. I don't usually switch the music on until I'm really starting to suffer, and while I try to stay around one minute off marathon pace, all I really care about is finishing the run and training the best I can on the day.

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    1. curses no edits... sandwich and water w salt and lime is for AFTER the run

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  6. I'm training for marathon #14 and my advice is to run long runs slower than you think you need. My PRs were all set by doing negative split long runs on out and back route. When I don't do the out and back route, I run last 3-5 miles at marathon pace (or 10-15 seconds faster/mile) for confidence. My 17 miler on Monday rocked, I felt fantastic at end. I averaged 10:30 pace for first 12 miles (with some steep hills) and 9:00 pace for last 5 miles. Mentally, it is also good to think of the first 12-15 miles as warm-up for the comfortably hard last miles.

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    1. This is good advice. Going slow at the start makes the end hurt so much less - and it feels so GOOD to finish strong (plus, that's what you want to do in the race after all, finish strong while all around you are hurtin'!!)

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  7. The one thing I still don't do that most do is taking in very much fuel while running. I feel better drinking some vega and having dried pineapple occasionally, but I just don't seem to digest on the go. I agree feel over pace!

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  8. I did a 20 miler last week. It really helps me to run with friends. Good conversation makes he time fly by!

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    1. This is my tip too. Run with friends/group. The long runs are so much more fun and usually seem easier, when you have others to share them with. I'm fortunate that I have a group that trains year round for several marathons. I look forward to Saturdays because I know I'm going to share my love of running with people who I enjoy being with. The miles really do fly by!
      My mantra is "The harder I work, the luckier I get".

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    2. I agree. My one issue with that is that you have to have friends who are at the same pace/effort level....sometimes that's hard for me to find. I am too fast or too slow..

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  9. LOVE all your wit and sarcastic humor!! My last long run was almost two weeks ago...9 miles. Not super long for some people, but for me (in the midst of my "off-season & recovering from a stupid attempt to transition to neutral shoes) those 9 miles felt incredible. My mantra(of the moment) is "keep going!" (I also did 5 miles on the 'mill last night, and relied heavily on that mantra LOL

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  10. That mantra stuff really works. Mine was "I can and I will" and let me tell you that it ran through my head from mile 24-26 at Chicago. That and Rage Against the Machine singing "F**k no I won't do what you tell me"--nope, no quitting for me.

    You should stick a prayer in the wailing wall before you run. Can't hurt, might help...just sayin'

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  11. Your lunch looks great, the pizza margarita, not so good (though I am a Clif fan)

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  12. Don't call it "the wailing wall." It's the Western Wall (the other name is offensive). You will be astounded, I'm sure, which will carry you at the end!! And pizza? I imagine a shot of tomato sauce, which turns my stomach...bleech....

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    1. Oh really? I didn't realize there was a different name for it. I haven't been to Israel since 1982

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  13. So eating fried eggs and avocado and toast before a run doesn't sound like a good idea...is that right before, or a few hours before?

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    1. It was about an hour before. It worked for me.

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  14. Great Post and nice article.Amazing Tips you have shared for running.It is Better for good health
    Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Well as for drink to thirst- I would say if the first time you drink on your long run is when you're thirsty, you are too late! Hydrate early and often.

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    1. There are different thoughts on this one - the newest "evidence" points to drinking to thirst, but there is certainly just as much support for drinking early and often...again, whatever works for you!

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  16. Looking forward to hearing about the savory Clif shot! The sweet stuff always makes me queasy.

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  17. That cliff shot looks awful, good luck!

    I ran the Seattle Rock N Roll marathon with 5 weeks of training; I was averaging 20-30 miles a week pre "training", so I implemented a similar plan to yours... I set my longest long run at 20 miles and we ended up doing a 21 as a mental boost, because "anyone" can run another 5.2, right?! Splitting long runs into doable segments ("4 five milers") and having a running buddy are my tactics.... Those, and putting Awolnation's "Sail" multiple times throughout my playlist.

    My last long run was 9 miles, I am helping a friend train for her first marathon... I am 7 months pregnant, so the last mile on pavement was killer on my legs (calves and IT bands)! I have a 10 mile "race" in 2 weeks (for my 30th birthday :) ), and then I think I am done until the baby comes. ;)

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  18. I want video of you eating that Clif thing (it's not a shot, right? it looks much bigger (TWSS)). I can't imagine it being anything but a tube of spaghetti sauce.

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    1. Haha! A video is a great idea. I might take you up on that. Yes, the damn thing is 4.2 ounces and seems to be somewhere between the consistency of pudding and water.

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  19. Where do you get the Apple Pie Clif Shots? I've looked in a couple of places with no luck. Then I looked on their website and it's not listed?? I've never had a Clif Shot, so I just wanted to try one that someone recommends.

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    1. I looked too and seems they are no longer available!! The Razz ones are good too.

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  20. That Cliff Shot looks horrible ....sorry! I had to run 18 miles on a treadmill this weekend bc it was too cold to run outside. After 12 miles my stomach was a mess. I went to the bathroom but still felt like crap. Once I made myself run again, I felt better. I was drinking a lot during my run and had part of a Larabar at 12 miles but again had trouble when I stopped running. I think I'm hydrated but maybe not eating is doing it???

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  21. That is so awesome! I just read last year about the first marathon in Jerusalam, apparently almost no one ran outside for the longest time. Good luck, and let us know how Go Beth sounds in Hebrew :)

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  22. Very nice and interesting blog, thanks for this post..it's been great reading this.

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