Back in 2014, I wrote about 5 lessons that I learned from the long run.
I still believe in all those lessons, but with another 6 years of running in the bag since then, there are quite a few more things I have learnt.
Training runs are much more than training you to run that distance.
.1. Run in Different Weather Conditions
If you want to perform well on race day then it’s vital to train in all weather conditions.
While it’s nice to run in ideal conditions ie 15°, no wind, cloudy but with a bit of sun. You may not get that on race day.
Train when it’s cold when there’s rain or wind. Train in the heat, when it’s humid.
That way when race day arrives, you will be ready for anything.
.2. Test Your Fuelling
Don’t be one of those runners that decides to try a gel during your event.
If you haven’t tested it during a training run, DO NOT try it on race day.
I repeat NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY.
Yes, I was one of those runners that didn’t believe in fuelling pre, during, and post runs.
My first half marathon at Run Melbourne, I had water and nothing else. I didn’t train with gels, so even though there were lollies at the aid stations, I stuck with water.
Feeling weary in the last few k’s, I told myself that next time would be different.
Fast forward 8 years, I now know what works for me and what doesn’t.
Don’t think you have to have gels either. There are so many options out there. I like to alternate between gels and real food.
Most importantly however you need to test these things during your long runs. From how to open the gels, to the timing of when you will have them. That way when your event rolls around you will have perfected it.
Personally I know that I can run without fuel for up to 90 minutes. Any longer than that and I know I will hit the wall.
Road events, I like to stick with gels, because they are convenient. The tropical fruit lightening gels from Huck Nutrition are my favourite. I don’t mind the lemon-lime, but it comes down to timing, as I have found they give me reflux.
Trail events, I switch it up from Tailwind, gels, and fruit pouches. I also eat a lot of real food, like crackers, trail mix and so on.
Side note: Ladies, get your hands on this book Roar by Dr Stacey Sims
Dr Stacey Sims is also featured on this episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.
Women are not small men, so we need to match our food and fitness to our physiology.
This book will really open your eyes on fuelling for optimal performance.
.3. Test Your Shoes
If you are a runner, you need more than 1 pair of shoes. Yes, that is an excuse to go shopping.
The shoe that you wear for your easy runs, may not be suitable for tempo runs, or long runs. It’s important to test your shoes under different stresses (fast/hill/easy etc).
This is the reason why I own 7 pairs of shoes.
Easy Run: Hoka One Clifton 5
Mid Distance: Hoka One Mach
Long Run: Saucony Kinvara 10
Track/Race Day: Hoka One Tracer
Tempo: Topo Athletic Fly-lite2
Trail: New Balance Hierro
Recently I made the decision to wear my Mach shoes instead of my Kinvara’s on a recent long run. This was a mistake, as I got some ripper blisters. Needless to say, I won’t be using these on race day or for a long run again.
A great website to help you find similar shoes to the ones you currently wear is Run Repeat.
.4. Test Your Outfit
Every article of clothing you put on your body, you HAVE to test during your training runs.
There is nothing worst to discover that the socks that you are wearing are too thick for the shoes you’ve chosen to run in.
Recently on a run, I discovered my high waisted pants, were not suited to the singlet I was wearing. I was constantly adjusting my outfit the entire run.
I’ve had t-shirts rub on my arms because the sleeve was fit.
I’ve had t-shirts rub on my shoulders and neckline because of my pack.
Then there is chaffing, which needs a category of its own.
Every runner in some time in their lives will get chaffing.
Full disclosure here, if you get chaffing it will hurt like a M*th#r F^”k3r, once you get into that warm delicious shower after that run. It will burn, and you will be cursing yourself.
ALWAYS, check your body after a long run. Chaffing can happen anywhere, arms, shoulders, neckline, groin region. I repeat, ANYWHERE.
If you do get chaffing put on some type of barrier cream BEFORE you get into the shower. Any type of nappy rash cream will do the trick. You will thank me.
.6. Mental Strength
Your legs are more than capable of carrying you to your desired distance.
Training plans don’t have you running the full distance prior to your race. Why? Because everything training run is designed to build you up. From building up the k’s, speed, paces and so forth.
When race day arrives, your legs are more than ready.
Your grit, your determination, your heart, that’s what is going to get you that pb.