16 mile long run from Fitforall to East Saltdean:

I thought I’d write about my Saturday run and the routine I go through before I go on a long run – it’s a good insight into how to prepare for the day itself. You don’t want to leave anything to chance (which I will admit I did this time but won’t on the day) and to follow the same the routine before each long run.

So here goes. I prepared my gear which included: water bottle belt (camelback which sits round my waist and contains several pockets for keys and iphone), water bottle with 1 litre of water with 30g of glucose and ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ lemon juice, iphone and headphones (plus suitable music – preferably dance with bpm of 140 + but the music choice is totally up to you!), same running gear (I always prefer to run with running tights covered by shorts – tight lycra isn’t the best look), Garmin forerunner 305 watch (fully charged)  and a little bit of strategically placed Vaseline (or any natural alternative) is also a good idea to avoid any rubbing injuries!

And finally you should bring gels. Trying out various gels in the training is essential. You might find glucose tablets do the job for you (a cheaper option than gel), or a banana, or a piece of cake. The gels are considered the easiest as it’s a couple of squeezes and then down. But they can taste grim so you might find you’ll be reaching for your water straight away. However for this run I’d not got to the shop so I used a Trek bar flapjack 1/3 of a bar every 20 mins after 1 and half hours. The key to hydration during the long runs & marathon is to find what works for you and stick to it for race day.

Talking of race day, it’s essential to follow the same pattern before every long run so you don’t give your body any surprises on the day. Therefore eat the same breakfast and try to get the long runs in the morning so your body knows what it feels like with the same food and nutrition throughout the race. Similarly, having the same dinner the night before is also a must. Try to stick to a sensible meal size (don’t overload on pasta the night before) and make sure the meal contains protein and pasta (preferably wholemeal). My choice is steak and pasta but again experiement with a protein and carb mix that works for you.

I downloaded run keeper for my iphone which isn’t a bad programme. It tells you every 5 mins how far you have run and the average speed. I didn’t mind the voice every few minutes but I could understand how this might become annoying. It would be useful if you don’t have a Garmin watch to assess your speed and distance. Having both did seem a little like overkill! When I’m running by myself the music is all and keeps me going through the tougher parts of the run. Now onto the run – finally 🙂

2.30 Saturday afternoon – nice day not too warm and not too cold – good running conditions. So I set off along the seafront towards Saltdean. Annoyingly I’d forgotten to change my watch to miles so I had the av pace counter set to km. I tried for ½ k to change it but gave up – changing settings on a Garmin and running is quite a challenge!!!! Lesson learned check all you equipment before you start running!!! So I have made 2 mistakes so far – no gels and not checking the technology 🙂

Therefore I didn’t know what speed I was running at in km (as I’m used to miles)  – doh! Anyway I settled in a 5 min km’s which I managed to hit regularly up to 14km which was just after turning round and starting to head back to Brighton. However, this is when the run started to get grim – the wind was now in my face and it started to tip down. I had one of those moments in training where you think “ What the hell am I doing?” then it’s head down and get on with it! So the way back was hard. I got to 20km and my pace was dropping to 5.30k’s, I was feeling hungry so I ate a 1/3 of the flapjack and had a little more of my drink. FYI Try to regulate your fluid intake to a couple of gulps every 10 mins – try to not take lots on in one go – regular fluid intake over the entire run is best.

By 23km my left calf was really complaining and my right quad was really beginning to complain. Anyhow I get going and finished the run. I stretched for a few mins on each leg but decided to get inside and run a bath – I was cold and wet! I had a hot bath and then another good stretch in front of the tv before making some food – by this point I was starving!!! I paid particular attention to my psoas or hip flexors (they connect your quads to your spines and are involved in lifting your leg in running) as my back was hurting. In total I stretched for about 15 minutes which is a bit short for the length of run – 2 ½ hours.

That’s it for now. Next update after next sunday’s run.

Happy running!

Rob

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