Running Long

treadmill ecardIt’s still winter and another week has already passed – it’s time to do the long run. It’s critical to building the physical and mental toughness required to get through 26.2 miles.

Running over 10 miles forces your body to tap energy reserves (stored fat) after you’ve depleted your glycogen (fuel stores in the muscles that are converted from carbohydrate food sources). By running long we’re also increasing our muscles’ capacity to store glycogen, which translates into the ability to longer maintain pace during the marathon.

One of the toughest parts of running a marathon is convincing yourself to actually continue running through the entire course. This mental toughness is essential; it is of nearly equal importance to physical training if you ask me – especially for runners like myself, who run in the “average” pace pack, where we’re slower and must continue running for longer periods of time to complete the same distances as our elite friends. During long training runs, you have time to experiment with coping strategies for occupying your mind.

Another benefit the long run provides is an opportunity to “practice” your fueling and wardrobe plan – a dress rehearsal of sorts. Words to live by in marathon training: nothing new on race day.

Today, we blocked off 4 hours for me to get the long run done, with 3 hours for running and a half hour on each side to change clothes and get to and from the gym. We’re 9 weeks out from the big day now, so we’ll be repeating this song and dance for some time. My family is starting to miss me.

So how does a person pass the time for 3 hours while running in place? Honestly, it can be a challenge to pass the time when I’m running through the woods or the city streets if the run is long enough. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me, I have found DVR and Netflix to be my best friends during treadmill long runs. It allows me to remove myself from the gym and focus on something entertaining. Today I watched this week’s episodes of Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. After that, I switched over to watching the second half of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (I watched the first half last week).

So, that’s it for my training this week. Tomorrow I’m going to try to get some meal planning and prepping done. If there’s anything interesting, maybe I’ll write about it! Until next time, keep moving!

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