- Hydrate well the day before your long run. Your goal is to drink AT LEAST 64 ounces of any combination of water, Propel, G2 or similar the day prior to your long run. And be sure to hydrate during your long runs. For any distance of one hour or longer you should take water or set water out along your course. Ideally you should be getting at least 64 oz. or more EVERYDAY. If you are not, start with hydrating well the day before your long run.
- Prior to your long run, eat a small amount of food. Test and find what works for you so that you have the right formula for race day success. A few suggestions are: banana & peanut butter, a mini bagel or piece of toast and peanut butter, a granola or energy bar. You want to fuel your body before the effort you are asking of it. You DO NOT want to run out of gas along the way because you lack energy or hydration.
- Repeat positive mantras-short, positive trigger words or phrases- will be more helpful during competition if you’ve used them during hard workouts. It’s important to know which cue words will motivate your before you’ve hit a wall.
- Replace your running shoes every 400-500 miles or so (this varies from person to person). Wearing shoes that are well worn can lead to injury or imbalances in your running gait. A specialty running store can look at your current shoes and let you know if it’s time for new ones.
- Run on softer surfaces whenever possible. Asphalt has more give than concrete. Cinder tracks and high school tracks have more give than either asphalt or concrete. Stay off concrete whenever you can.
- Avoid black toenails. Be sure to clip them prior to race day. Otherwise your toenails will bump up against your shoe top or end and can cause the toenail to soften and fall off.
- Avoid chafing. Use Body Glide or Vaseline on areas where your skin may rub against clothing or skin, such as around the bottom and top of your sports bra or thigh area.
- Pace yourself! Starting out too fast can make you miserable, holding back could mean finishing with energy left in the tank. Begin at a pace slightly faster than your easy runs, then shift to a comfortable pace.
- Smile…seriously! Thank volunteers, clap for musicians or cheerleaders along the course and high five spectators who extend their hand. A positive attitude has a lot of impact on your race day experience.
- Enjoy the journey! There are a number of factors that play into race day. Be willing to adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you. So for every 8 oz. of caffeine or alcohol each you drink in a day, drink the equivalent amount of water.
- If you have time limitations during your training and you must cut back your weekly mileage, your long run day is the most important to keep. Even if you have to do “two-a-days”, this is some mileage in the morning, the remainder in the evening, to get the long run total distance in, then do it. It is better to cut back or cancel a shorter run day to lessen your weekly mileage than to cut the long run mileage. (HOWEVER, this is not the case if you are dealing with an injury. If you are injured rest or limiting all mileage may be best).
- Wear moisture wicking fabric during your walks or runs. As they say “Cotton is rotten for training”. Cotton gets heavy from sweat and rubs against your skin in ways that moisture wicking fabric does not.
- When dressing for a long run/walk, dress as if it’s 10 degrees warmer than the current temperature. Also, layering your clothes so you can take the top layer off and tie it around your waist works well too.
- Carbohydrates are an energy source for a long run/walk. So be sure to get some healthy carbs the day before your long distance.
- Protein 30-60 minutes after a long run/walk helps aid the body in recovery and in the rebuilding of the muscles.
- After a long run take a cold bath or an ice bath. 10-20 minutes will aid your recovery by reducing inflammation.
- Shoes wet from running in the rain or worse from the sweating? The remedy is newspaper! After your run, take your shoes off and inserts out and place wadded up newspaper inside each shoe. They'll be dry in time for your next day's run!