It’s surprisingly easy for the new runner to neglect to plan out specifics to ensure a smooth outing on their weekend long run. You may also become fatigued during that long run and forgetful of the things that ordinarily come as common sense or established routine. For the newbie to longer-distance running, here are a few reminders to keep you on track for a successful run from start to finish.
Plan your route
Set the course you will run ahead of time, noting any potential obstacles along the route, like unsafe crossings. Be sure to seek out a potential potty stop in the vicinity, should the need arise.
Drink enough, but not too much
We all know this, but learning to hydrate properly with the right amount of fluids for your individual needs and body is often a matter of trial and error. Too little fluid intake and you may feel tired and sluggish, or you may get a headache or a dry mouth, among other symptoms of dehydration. With too much fluid intake, you may need to find a bathroom in the middle of your run. Be aware of the risk of drinking far too much and experiencing hyponatremia, a severe and dangerous level of over-hydration. Like all things, balance and self-awareness are key.
Check your route distance
If you are using a GPS watch, don’t forget to double check the actual distance you’ve run before pressing the stop button. It seems obvious, but you can avoid the rookie mistake of falling short of your distance goal. Additionally, Strava and Garmin apps can sometimes clock a different route than each other, so adding a few extra metres can ensure the finish distance is enough.
Recruit a crew
Have helpers along the way. Arrange to have family, friends or fellow runners be your support crew. Have a pit stop prepared in advance with a friendly face, water, gels or any supplies you might need. Encouragement and a cheering squad are a welcome sight and a good boost during a long run.
Plan your kit
Pick the right outfit ahead of time. Training runs (including long runs) are a great way to test new gear and nutrition ahead of race day. You want to be sure the clothes you wear fit comfortably and don’t chafe.
Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate when you finish! It is an accomplishment to be proud of, no matter how it went.