I have been incorporating long runs back into my work out schedule.  They are much more relaxed then before, but I still really enjoy a good long run on the weekends.  My “long” runs right now are typically staying between 10-13 miles and I plan to keep it that way until I decide to train for another marathon.

I find this distance to be my “happy” distance.  Most of the time these runs stay under 2 hours, and avoid that “is this over year” feeling that I often got during the really long runs of marathon training.

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This was my course from last Sunday.

I thought I would put together some keys and tips for making it through long runs.

1. Don’t think too hard. I often found myself dreading these runs because all I would focus on was the distance.  I now just try to step out the door and go for it.  I need to get through it one way or another, and dreading it does nothing to help.

2. Hydrate well. This can be taken in several ways. I always try to start drinking some sort of electrolyte drink before I run to help avoid me getting dehydrated too early in the run.  I tend to do most of my long runs first thing in the morning since they fall on weekends, so I start drinking as soon as I get up.  I also usually take some sort of “power chew” before I start that helps to sustain my energy a little longer.  Currently I am really loving the Gatorade Prime chews.

3. Bring music.  I am sure there are some people out there who can get through a long run without music, but I am not one of them.  I always prep my music the night before and have it set up.  I really like to find new songs to run to the night before, because then it gives me something to look forward to during my run.

4. Pick a course you will enjoy.  When I trained for my first marathon I made the mistake of running the SAME long run course every time. It got boring and horrible.  I now look for new courses every time I do a long run, and switch them up. This really helps to let me be able to enjoy the scenery and not know exactly what to expect every moment.

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This is one of my favorite courses – dirt road out in the country.

5. Relax. This is often the hardest part for me but it is really important to just relax, listen to your legs, and follow the course.  

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6. Finally, go slow. Long runs are not supposed to be meant to go fast. Relax and enjoy it. There is no reason to rush it.

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