Whether you’re prepping for a marathon or a 10K, long runs will be part of your training routine. If you haven’t logged more than five miles before, distance runs can be incredibly intimidating—and incredibly rewarding.
Being low on H2O will literally slow you down. A good rule of thumb is take in four ounces of liquid for every 15 minutes you’re running. If it’s hot and humid outside, double that amount. You can either stash bottles in bushes along your route or invest in a fuel belt. On recreational runs, feel free to drink whatever you’d like. But if you’re training for a race, try to find out what brand and flavor of sports drink will be at fuel stops. That way you can practice using that specific solution.
Your body can perform for up to an hour without your refueling. But during longer runs, you’ll want to start restocking your carb supply before then. Since it takes time for your body to process carbs, plan to consume about 15 grams of carbs every half hour during long runs, Parker-Simmons says. If your fluid of choice is a sports drink, you’re probably already good to go (many of these contain all the carbs you need). If you prefer H2O, bring along sports gels, beans, or chews to keep your energy up.
Novelty is your friend. Download some new tunes on your iPod, treat yourself to a new running outfit, or plot out a new route. Also important is to have the right mindset—and staying focused on the end goal. Use a sweatband or rubber bracelet and wear it during long runs to stay inspired.
Long runs are all about getting in the time or distance, so speed is less important. You should be running slow enough to have a conversation even if it’s a slightly breathless one, so that you can maintain the same pace throughout your route. Keeping a steady speed should help you run all the way to the finish line, but if you do run out of steam before then, walking for a while is better than quitting.
Feeling uncomfortable is manageable if you’re only going a few miles. But if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s smart to minimize these types of annoyances. Spend some time anticipating possible irritants and trouble-shooting them. For example, if it’s cold outside, wear a coat and plan a route that allows you to swing by your house and toss your jacket off a few miles in, after you’ve warmed up. You’ll also want to practice running in the clothes you plan to wear on race day. That way you’ll know if anything rubs you the wrong way ahead of time.