The long run was something my oldest son would talk about, like speed and tempo days.
While I’m still working my arms around speed and tempo training, long runs have become part of our weekends. You can’t train for a half marathon without them!
We plan our runs around the weather – do we get up early or sleep in… will it be a scorcher or not? Recovery… how much time do I need post run? Between icing, stretching, hydrating, eating and showering that takes time and impacts the day.
My almost 50-year-old body reacts differently to training and dehydration than it did even 5 years ago. Respecting the changes is part of the training. You better believe that sitting most of the day has changed my body over the years.
What does that have to do with the long run?
Training and learning to run is like learning anything. You have to break it up into digestible pieces. For me, it started with running for so many minutes and walking for so many minutes. The victory of running a couple miles was better than crossing a finish line.
Then it was running longer and maybe faster.
Having good running shoes was the key.
It was a process, an evolution. Not all at once… but like small pieces.
Found some couch to 5K training plans, planted then on the fridge and followed the plan.
Running an 8K, then adding some cross training because you keep getting injured at the same training point. As frustrating as that was, the cross training helped push past that barrier.
Now it’s the long run. It’s planning the day or weekend with the uncertainty of what the long run brings. You may read this and say “WHAT… this is no big deal!” We’re kind of conservative so think about how changes will impact our life. Will you be totally wiped, ready for some weekend warrior yard work or just a day of easy fun? Because it’s new, not quite sure.
Training for a half, is a commitment. It has caused us to make decisions with our time, to set different priorities. Running for 2 hours has some preparation and some after time. Like anything the second time around (yes, I did just say that) will be different. Sharing how I feel this time around. This first time, because there will never be another first time.
Running for hours is something I thought would be hard. Not hard in a running sense, just hard to do anything for that amount of time… I have trouble committing to a feature length film :). But, it’s something you build up over time. There are few step functions or major jumps in running. You build your base each week, adding another 10% or so. A friend was talking about how you eat an elephant last week… one bite at a time. That’s how you train for a half marathon. One mile at a time. As long as you have a base and continue to grow that base and your distance… those long runs they just come. You add some songs to your playlist or get another audio book. You do what you have to do… finding bathrooms along your run course, dropping off water.
And you build up to the long runs, that one run of the week that is significantly longer than the rest. I can now see why & how people can run marathons. With each long run, each increase in strength, I feel like I can take on the world. I love the solitude of the long run. The time I know is for me and all about me. Is my test against myself, no one else.
Maybe next will be speed & tempo days. Just can’t quite get my arms around them yet. Need to cross the Mighty Niagara finish line in 6 weeks.