Long runs are a staple in most running training plans, whether you run for about 5K or a marathon. They help you improve energy and aerobic endurance, which are essential bases to be a good runner, run faster and travel longer distances wofs almanac 2019.
6 TIPS FOR LONG RACES
1. START BY THE MIND
Preparation for a race starts in your head. It is normal to feel nervous at a distance that you had never run before, or just a long distance from your training plan. You can make it easier by mentally preparing yourself for the distance you have to travel.
Visualize the route you are going to run and imagine yourself running well and ending strongly. Trust your training: take it easy and repeat that you can do it. A positive mind will take you far when the race gets complicated. If you tell yourself that it is very hard and that you will not be able to do it, you will only make things more difficult.
And this also gives you benefits in other aspects: the mental strength you gain thanks to running will also help you to combat stress in your daily life.
2. FOCUS ON HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
For a long race you have to fill up with carbohydrates, since these give you energy, so make sure you eat enough.
Oatmeal is a great carbohydrate option, since it is soft on the stomach and you can increase the size of the portions as your training demands increase. Take a look at these other foods that help the performance of the runners.
The carbohydrate intake for someone who runs 30 minutes is very different from that of someone who is going to run for 3 hours. The best thing to do is to try and check what works best for you.
As long as your stomach feels good during the race and you can finish it, you’re on the right track. But if you feel that you cannot finish with strength, start increasing the amount of what you eat before running. If you are having trouble defining your food before a long race, you can start with the reference of 7-10 grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight and adapt it to your needs. If you are training for a race, nutrition and hydration should go according to what you have planned to do on race day.
3. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION, IT REGULATES YOUR RHYTHM
During the long run, you should follow a slow pace that you can maintain throughout the race. You should go at a pace that allows you to have a conversation.
The crux of the long races is the effort and simply to travel the whole distance. If you have a specific goal or career in mind, such as a half marathon or a marathon, then you have to start thinking about keeping a certain rhythm.
Try to go between 1 minute and 90 seconds slower than the pace you have planned for the race. It’s easy to go further in training and run a lot when you feel good. You give it all in training and you have no strength left for the race. Once you are on the starting line, it is better not to have trained 100%, than to have trained a little too much.
4. DIVIDE INTO SECTIONS
A long race can be scary, but breaking it into small sections can help. Instead of telling you that you have to run 15 km (for example), think that there are 3 slow races of 5 km or 2 of 7 km plus another extra, the combination that you think best. You can also take a break in the race! If you are doing 15 km and you feel that you have to stop to walk or take a couple of minutes between 5 km, do not hesitate.
However, try to reduce pauses in your career as your fitness improves. It also helps to visualize your post-race prize to overcome the distance, whether it’s a meal, a glass of wine or just spending the rest of the day on the couch watching Netflix.
5. CONSIDER A MID-CAREER SNACK
If you run more than an hour, you may have to introduce some calories during the race, in the form of gels, chews, powders that you can mix with water or nuts if you want something more natural.
Taking some food with you during a race is not easy and every stomach has its preferences. Each runner has their strategies with the food, so find out what yours is.
Hydration in a long race is also necessary when you travel a long distance. You may need to carry water on it, either in a bottle or in a hydration pack, or you can plan your route so that you can pass through a fountain. It is not easy to know how often you should hydrate or eat something, but a general guide is that you drink every 20 minutes and take calories every 40 minutes.
6. DO NOT SKIP RECOVERY
It is also important that you eat after a race to give the body all the energy it needs to recover. It’s easy to skip this step and forget about recovery, but you’ve run a lot so remember to give the body what it needs.
Your post-workout meal should consist of a mixture of proteins, fats and carbohydrates to ensure recovery. If it’s hot or you’re sweating a lot, you may have to consume more electrolytes and, believe it or not, non-alcoholic beer is a good source!
If beer is not your thing, then add some salt to your after-running meal. You can also massage the deep tissues with the foam roller, so you can relax your legs and recover faster. A good recovery strategy helps you to renew faster and prepares you for the next race.