It took time, and the motivation of Lily coming to visit me in order for me to feel ready for another half marathon. The last two I ran were mental struggles, so I’m pleased to say that taking time (even if short) to just run for fun was enough for me to bite the bullet and sign up for my sixth half. I also ran this half last year, and it was one of my most memorable races (right up there with Disney) so I just had to run it again, and this time with Lily! I can’t wait to see her…
I hadn’t run over 4-5 milers in a good few months, so I had to come up with a few tips to mentally get myself back into running “longer” distances. I chose the above “novice” training plan because I loved it so much when I used it for my first race. Up until week five of the training plan everything was a piece of cake. Multiple runs a week felt great, and 4-5 milers were a cake walk. Once I hit the 6 mile Sunday I knew it was time to get a game plan for the next seven weeks.
I also went hiking (here) the day before the 6miler, which was brutal.
Tip #1: Switch up your route – I’ve been running the same roads over, and over, and OVER again for years now. For anything over 5 miles I know mentally it will be better for me to switch up my route. Running in new places is always a fun time.
Tip #2: Have energy bites waiting for you when you’re done – Or any food for that matter, it gives you something to envision when your stomach starts to yell at you. I also like to stuff dates in my shirt. (The edible kind, not the male variety. Those are nonexistent.)
Tip #3: Don’t get discouraged if you need to walk – I used to think my run was a fail if I had to walk even once. Now if I need to walk I do. Sometimes I think I walk more than I should, but whatever it takes to finish the distance! It’s very mental for me.
Tip #4: End your run at the market – Similar to tip #2, knowing your car is parked waiting for you in the lot of your favorite local market gives that extra boost of motivation. The endless possibilities for a snack post run are pure adrenaline.
Tip #5: Run early – Self explanatory, the quicker you get it done the quicker it’s over.
Tip #6: Pick a place of zen to relax at when you’re done – Along with envisioning dancing cookies and piles of avocados at the market post run, knowing you have a spot to sit and zone out after destroying your miles makes the run go quicker. I choose places like quaint coffee shops.
Tip #7: Remember why you’re running – Running 13 miles on an untrained body hurts like hell, so whenever you think about quitting at mile 6, 7, or 8 think about how it might feel to get hit by a bus if you stop. Put in the work now, and it will be easier later.
Tip #8: Drink lots of this…
Tip #9: Eat all the food the day before – Seriously, stuff your face because you’ll need it the next day. My favorites are nut butters, chips, and chocolate…all together. I’ve noticed eating MORE the day before and LESS the morning of makes for easier running (for me.)
This also leaves more room for post run snacks.
Tip #10: If all else fails, find a nice spot to sit -Like a random couch on the side of the road…
Sunday I ran my first 7 miler in a while, and it was fueled by two cups of Anniversary Blend, chocolate banana bread for dinner the night before, 120 oz of H2O the previous day (and more that morning), a sweet potato medley for breakfast, and a stellar mindset.
Ohh it’s so good to be back.
Q: What tips or tricks do you follow for longer runs (or other workouts) after being away for a while?