Sunday is long run day! It can be the best day and the worst day. After a few long runs, I think I have come with my 7 essentials to that make or
break a long run. Without one of these things, long runs can be unbearable. (Sorry this is a long one, but I have broken it up for easy
- Body Glide: I put this stuff EVERYWHERE, no exaggeration. Chaffing is an unpredictable side effect from long runs but can be easily avoided with a layer of Body Glide slathered all over. Personally, there is nothing more painful that freshly chaffed skin and the worst part is that, while running, I can feel it happening. When I am 6 miles deep in a 10 mile run and I feel chaffing occurring, the only way out of that is to run home as fast as can. Someone at my office recommended Body Glide to me, and this has changed my running life. I got my first one from amazon.com but have see a variety of them at REI. Whatever you do, USE IT.
- Energy jelly beans: Extra energy is definitely a must on long runs. Races give out GU packs which help and are alright but I am a little weird about the texture. There is something about sweet pudding like substances that I don’t crave during long runs. My biggest craving is for brown rice and bean burritos, not sure why, but to curve that craving to chew burritos, I found that Energy Jelly Beans help and they taste good. I get mine at REI also but have seen them everywhere.
- The right outfit: From experience, I say never to run a long run in anything cotton (sometime socks are ok). I sweat a LOT and cotton things absorb the sweat and take FOREVER to dry. When I am running for 2 or 3 hours, it is not comfortable to be wet that long. Spandex capris are my go to, as they cover all the skin on my legs that could rub together and chaff but show just enough leg to keep me cook. I also try to layer tops, a tank and a long sleeved shirt. If it is sunny after an hour I normally put my long sleeve on to cover my skin from the sun, but can take it off if needed. My underwear choice is huge, including socks, underwear, and sports bra. Everyone is different but I found that testing them out on midsized runs usually will help me determine if anything under my clothes will cause issues.
- Water: Someone once told me that if you run for more than an hour, you should take a water bottle, and I totally agree. Not only do I take a water bottle on my long runs but I also plan my routes to pass by public bathrooms and water fountains. That way I can let myself sip a whole bottle in the first 6 miles, refile, and repeat. It is important to drink water early and often to keep away lactic acid buildup and to remain healthy. More to come on that later.
- Preplanned route: Since I am not always running more than 8 miles, if my route is not preplanned I end up just doing the same loop multiple times, which gets boring. I also tend to get lots if I don’t have the streets all mapped out. In addition to running with my GPS watch I also use the runkeeper app. Runkeeper has a route planner that will tell you were to run if you select the route before you start. It make is really nice when I hit a new part of the city and still have to figure out the last 10 miles.
- #BrightOrangeShoes: Running shoes are huge. Long runs in shoes that rub can create the most painful blisters. The first half marathon I trained for was the last time I didn’t choose my long run shoes with thought. I read somewhere that alternating between two pairs gives them time to rest and can prevent them from wearing out faster. My go to pair is the barefoot style running shoe that allows my feet to be free with support, if that makes since. J
- Post run snack: I like to have a snack ready for me when I get back. The last thing I want to do after an 18 mile run is stand in the kitchen and make a sandwich. My feet ache and my legs get tight and my stomach grumbles at the same time. Plus, that last mile goes by so much faster when I am racing to my homemade brown rice, bean, and cheese burrito.
I would love to hear what your long run essentials are. I know I missed some things.