Prepping for the Long Run

in All Posts

Oh, long runs.  I both adore and loathe you all at the same time.  Now, “long run” doesn’t indicate any particular distance, a long run is a long run… TO YOU.  The definition of a ‘long run’ also changes constantly for each individual runner in accordance to the event they are training for.  For example, when you’re training for a 10K, a 5.0 miler might be a long run.  But when you’re doing a Half, a 5.0 miler is a piece of cake (well, sometimes).

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As a side note, it’s nutty how marathon training warps your perception of what constitutes a ‘long run.’  Even if you’re starting from zero, in a few months, you’ll pray for 9.0 mile runs instead of 15.0 or 18.0!


The long run is a challenge, as much mentally as physically, and here are my tips on making your long run as pleasant and beneficial as possible.


THE WEEK BEFORE:  Decide what day you’re going to do your long run and start building up the experience in your head.  Not “OMG I have to run 8.0 miles!!!” but “This is going to be SO COOL to run 8.0 miles.”  A positive mindset is very important.   Also, see if you can organize your run with a buddy – they don’t have to do the whole thing with you if they aren’t training for the same distance.


Another thing you want to do a week before is start hydrating.  Actually, you should be hydrating all the time.  Hydration is not just for before or after exercise.  Don’t pump yourself full of liquids (overhydration can actually be deadly!), but I always strive to drink a full glass of water with each meal, and a glass before and after exercise. I always have a water bottle with me, too, so I’m constantly sippin’.


THE NIGHT BEFORE:  Don’t drive alcohol or stay up very late the day before a long run (I ran 22.0 miles after a night of serious partying, and it was not fun – to say the least.  I will NEVER do that again!).  You’ll want to lay out all your workout clothes the night before.  Check the forecast to determine if you’ll need to layer clothes (alternatively, here are my tips for running in hot weather).  Charge all electronics. 


You’ll also want to plan out your route.  Nicole writes down turn-by-turn directions on a Post-It and stuffs the note in a plastic bag in her pocket.  I usually just look at Google Maps and get a general idea of where I’m going to go.  If you don’t have a GPS watch, you can use Map My Run.


Choose your route carefully and consider whether you’ll be carrying your own water or fuel.  I usually run out-and-back runs because I think they feel shorter than loops (but everyone is different!) and I always plan to run by a water fountain or a gas station so I can get water.  You can stop in grocery stores, libraries, big-box retailers like Target, or coffee shops to use the bathroom and refill your water bottle or CamelBak.   For more information regarding fueling during the long run, see “The Long Run” below.


Lastly, eat a stabilizing and filling dinner.  There’s really no reason to ‘carb load’ (sorry!) for shorter distances.  The two days before a marathon, I usually eat an extra 500 calories or so to top up my glycogen stores.  It’s more important that your dinner isn’t spicy  (or you’ll run the Chickpea Masala 10K) and includes complex carbs.  And drink water!


THE MEAL BEFORE:  Everyone has different caloric needs, and stomach sensitivities range from ‘delicate flower’ to ‘like a fist of iron.’  But especially when you start getting up in the Half Marathon to Marathon range, it’s pretty important to actually eat a real breakfast (vs. a piece of toast or fruit) before your long run.  You’ll be blasting through hundreds – or even thousands – of calories during your run, and your stomach is already pretty empty after 8 hours (hopefully) of sleep.  I have to wake up an hour or so before I plan to leave the house so I have time to digest (and poop, to be honest).  Great pre-long run meals include oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and Clif bars.    And drink water!  🙂


THE LONG RUN:  Here’s a post on how to not hate your long workouts that every runner should read!  Long runs are a celebration, not a chore.  Most running guides recommend doing your long run 30 seconds to 1:30 minutes longer than your goal race pace because more time on your feet is a good thing!  So don’t worry about time – just try to maintain a regular pace and keep a smile on your face.


Long runs also serve a practical purpose of being the ‘testing ground’ for hydrating and fueling.  On race day, YOU DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVEN’T DONE ON A TRAINING RUN.  No new drinks, food, clothes, or running styles.  So use your long runs as a way to figure out fueling.  I usually drink a Gatorade (150 calories) during runs under 10 miles and start supplementing with additional calories after that.  I take in about 350 calories during an 18.0-miler.  But my caloric needs might be different than yours so experiment!  If you start to feel really sluggish, you’re probably not taking in enough calories.  Also check out Cures for Sluggish Runs.


To carry your fuel, I recommend a SpiBelt (here’s my review).


To carry your water, a CamelBak is comfy and efficient (they have a ladies’ fit with a slimmer profile). 


Instead of a CamelBak, I often carry a water bottle that I refill at gas stations or water fountains.


Fueling options include but are not limited to:


Shot Bloks:






Jelly Beans (I wrap them in a plastic bag and safety-pin them to the inside of my shorts):


Coconut Water (a natural electrolyte replacement; however, it’s pretty low calorie):


And lastly, I don’t have much experience with salting/electrolyte replacement beyond Gatorade, but if you’re running for a long time in hot weather, you might want to consider a salt replacement to help maintain your electrolyte balance.  Check out this post from Runner’s World for more info.


THE RECOVERY:  Ahhhh, recovery!  Congrats on making finishing your long run.   Now it’s time to enjoy recovery – but don’t collapse on the couch just yet.  Check out Fueling for the Long Hauling:  Eating for Long Distance Running and How I Recover Quickly to learn more.  Also – it helps to go for a walk or do some very light yoga a few hours after your long run.  Moving your legs a little will really reduce soreness. 


Happy running!


What are your tips for surviving (and enjoying) long runs?



  • megan @ blackberries for jam February 22, 2011, 9:54 am

    Great post! I LOVE long runs and I really look forward to them. My biggest piece of advice is just to “zone out” on your run as much as possible and not pay attention to how many miles you have remaining. If you think, “man, I have 10 miles left!” it can be really daunting.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 22, 2011, 9:55 am

    These are such great tips Caitlin! I haven’t used a SpiBelt in the past but I did train for my marathon with a belt that had pockets and a waterbottle holder. I found it a little clunky and would definitely opt for something like a Camelbak for water next time. I posted about some of my favourite race/long run gear and training fuel last week – Clif shots worked really well for me, and I love that their ingredient list is pretty clean.

  • Kara February 22, 2011, 9:55 am

    Since I doing my long runs post baby, I have to make sure that I don’t forget anything (my memory is awful now), so I make a checklist and make sure everything (Garmin, iPod) is charging the night before.

    Also, make sure someone knows what route you’re running and run with ID (like Road ID)

    I also make a mental list of things I want to think about when I’m running. I doing a full marathon in a few weeks that forbids headphones, so self entertainment is key!

    I highly, highly recommend an ice bath after any hard long run (I do it for runs over 13 miles). It makes such a difference in how you feel the next day!

    • LindseyAnn February 22, 2011, 9:59 am

      I agree–making sure someone knows where you are is so important! Road ID is a great tool, and if you don’t have one, something as simple as finding a pocket in which to put your drivers’ license or student ID is a good idea, too. I usually find a pocket or place to stash a cell phone, too, just in case.

  • Michelle February 22, 2011, 9:55 am

    This is such a helpful post! It’s so true how your perception of long runs changes. In November I was training for my first 10k and 5 miles seemed like the longest time ever. Now 5 miles seems totally achievable and I ran 9 this weekend!!! I also forgot my fuel on the way to the gym (Dr i mandating treadmill runs till the ice in Boston melts!) so I stopped and got gummy bears at target. I think the other gym goers thought I was crazy eating them mid-run but hey, they worked!!

  • LindseyAnn February 22, 2011, 9:57 am

    I visualize my race during my long runs. It really keeps me fired up and reminds me why I’m out there. Having buddies out there really helps, too. My 11 miler with my fiance biking with me was so much easier to get through than my 12 miler alone. And, they don’t necessarily have to be running–like I mentioned, I had someone bike with me. If you’re running on a paved trail, you can have a non-running friend or family member rollerblade along with you, too.
    Great post, Caitlin! 🙂

  • Kaitlin February 22, 2011, 9:59 am

    AWESOME post Caitlin! You will rock your long run today! I’m gearing up for 9 miles this weekend in Arkansas with my BFF. We’re going to make sure to bring gatorade and have a breakfast spot picked out for after. I can’t wait.

    Also I am a huge fan of shot-blocks– sugary and full of fuel, but small and easy to carry.

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:29 pm

      What a fun sounding date night with your BFF!

  • Cassie February 22, 2011, 9:59 am

    Thanks for this post Caitlin! Perfect timing as I’m just starting marathon training. is another alternative to Map My Run–I used it religiously before I finally caved and bought a Garmin!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin February 22, 2011, 10:01 am

    Amazing post Caitlin! I think my favorite tip is the first one – sike yourself up for the run. I always try to maintain a positive attitude and realize I can DO this and just focus on enjoying it. I have a 10 miler coming up this weekend, so this is a great post!

  • Orla February 22, 2011, 10:01 am

    Dont think about the distance as a whole. Think about the next mile, or half mile or a great one I heard was “Run what you see”
    Great tip about using the runs to work out what refueling you need and also what works for you. I made the mistake of taking a gel at mile 22 in a marathon in a flavour I hadn’t had before (but the same brand as the others I have used for 5 years)It made me violently ill. I would like to apologise to the lovely 3 guys who were cheering me on for up chucking at their feet. Oh the shame!
    I guess the “dont do anything new on race day” applies to the flavours of gel shots too!
    Oh yeah, and enjoy it!

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:30 pm

      Oh no! I puked on a volunteer once too… so embarrassing!

      • Kristin February 22, 2011, 11:46 pm

        oh you gotta tell the puking story:) lol

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run February 22, 2011, 10:04 am

    My pre-long run advice: make a great playlist! I absolutely need music I love in order to keep me going. I listen to it in Shuffle mode so I never know what song will pop up next.

    Thanks for the great post. Tons of good advice in here.

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) February 22, 2011, 10:06 am

    I love this! I am just now really starting to enjoy my long runs. Last Sunday, I did my 8 mile run and loved every minute! It was my first time to fuel during a run and it helped immensely! Plus, I walked for about a minute after each mile and that helped so much too. I just thought “ok, all you have to do is run one mile” and not “oh holy cripes, you still have 7 miles left.”

  • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa February 22, 2011, 10:06 am

    What gets me out the door for my long runs during the nicer weather is having my husband come with me. Nope, he doesn’t, run, but he bikes! He bikes way ahead of me, but we plan a few meet ups along the way. Making it a family event is fun.

    I like to plan out these runs a while in advance, maybe travelling to a new trail, different city, etc just to shake things up a bit and make it something to look forward to.

    Finally, I try to get out of bed bright and early and start my run around 5 or 6AM, that way even if it is a really long run, I will have the rest of the day to do whatever needs to be done!

    • Nikki M. February 22, 2011, 12:26 pm

      Great idea! My husband has started riding his bike while I run. It makes me feel safe and allows us to spend more time together. Plus, I have a water bottle holder 🙂

      • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa February 22, 2011, 12:28 pm

        I do call him my “pack mule” on these long runs as I load him up with water, fuel, and anything else I might need!

        • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:30 pm

          Hahha I love it!

  • Kristen February 22, 2011, 10:08 am

    One thing that helps me get through and enjoy my long runs is to think about things that are harder that what I’m doing. Last year, my sister did a half ironman. When I was having trouble during my longer runs (even before she completed the 70.3), I would think about the fact that she’d have to be running this distance after swimming and biking…I’d think of how hard that would be and I’d think of running with her during her race. It always made my run seem so much easier.

  • Lizzy @ runbakerace February 22, 2011, 10:09 am

    Such a good post and mindset is key to a long run for me. I also like doing long runs with friends to pass the time more quickly.

  • Amanda (Eating Up) February 22, 2011, 10:10 am

    This was a great post filled with tons of information! You’re so great at breaking it down to what is most important!

  • Evan Thomas February 22, 2011, 10:12 am

    I just bought my first camelbak yesterday to prep for my 20 mile run. I’ll be interested to see how it works. On my 18 on Saturday, I had to drop by Starbucks and buy a water, so that method clearly wasn’t going to do for long.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 22, 2011, 10:14 am

    Great tips Caitlin! I hope you have a great day!

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 22, 2011, 10:14 am

    I totally agree that marathon training changes how you view “long runs” — for this week I have 9 miles as my long run which will be hard, but once I get to 20 I will be praying for my 9 mile runs back!

    This is a great post — for me I have to drink lots of water a few days before hand, eat a filling breakfast and start running with a good attitude — for me if my head isn’t in it, the whole run will be awful. I need to stay positive!

  • Jen @ She said. She said. February 22, 2011, 10:15 am

    Great points!
    I agree that a Road ID is important and letting someone know where you’re going to be doing. So many scary stories out there.

    I think the mental attitude is also very important. I visualize how I’ll feel at the end.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 22, 2011, 10:15 am

    That shirt you have on in the first pic is fantastic! Where did you get it?

    I have used Shot Bloks in the past and was impressed with the extra “oomph” they gave me in my (one) half marathon and a couple of 10Ks.

  • meagan February 22, 2011, 10:17 am

    I always tried to plan my long runs in pretty, natural settings instead of my neighborhood. The city I live in has lots of trails, so that helps, but I’d go nuts running laps around our subdivision!

  • Ash February 22, 2011, 10:19 am

    Thanks for all the awesome tips. I wish it was nice up here so I could run outside! It’s only 20 degrees though…and I’m a big pansy haha. Inside workouts for me!

  • skinnyrunner February 22, 2011, 10:20 am

    all great tips! the mental part is so true… if you’re already dreading it before you start, its not gonna be a great run. Think, “I GET to run not I HAVE to run.”

  • Natalia - a side of simple February 22, 2011, 10:20 am

    Thanks so much for this, Caitlin! There’s so much information out there about training and long runs, but half the time I feel like the people don’t even have experience. Your post shows great insight and the honesty and tips you share are really helpful!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg February 22, 2011, 10:21 am

    You know, it’s funny– I actually love the long runs in my training plans! For some reason, I find them really meditative.

  • Lauren February 22, 2011, 10:30 am

    I try to plan my long runs outside on a fun, scenic route. It makes the miles go by faster and more fun. Having a running buddy always helps too!

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle February 22, 2011, 10:33 am

    this is super helpful b/c I’m starting my training for my first marathon today!!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad February 22, 2011, 10:34 am

    Eat/drink something within 30 min after your long run (3:1 carbs-to-protein). This will replenish your glycogen stores and make a HUGE difference in your recovery. Chocolate milk is great post-run fuel.

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:31 pm

      Thumbs up!

      Great comment.

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine February 22, 2011, 10:34 am

    Since I’m a new runner, every run is a long run for me. I’ve already injured myself by not stretching enough so that’d be my piece. Stretch really well.

    And a good playlist to pump you up is nice too!

  • Deanna @ PRetty in Pittsburgh February 22, 2011, 10:34 am

    GREAT POST! Really good tips for beginner runners and those who haven’t done long runs yet. Bookmarking this 🙂

  • Courtney February 22, 2011, 10:36 am

    Great post! I used to think of long runs in miles and I think it completely mentally destroyed me sometimes. Now I think of long runs in time. Example: If I’m running 8 miles at a 10 min/mile pace that’s an hour and 20 minutes. That’s nothing!!

  • Shah'ada February 22, 2011, 10:37 am

    Hey Caitlin!! TY for the post!!! I start half training in several weeks and will follow that immediately by training for my first full – I’m super excited and this post rocked!!!

    I *do* have a question . . . right now, I have to run on a completely empty stomach. As in, wake up and drink a cup of coffee then run or eat breakfast at 8 or 9 and go on a run at 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. If I eat *anything* (literally anything) closer than 6 hours to my run I am naseaus, pukey, and miserable. What can I do to remedy this?!? I’m up to 5 mi right now and I’m fine running 5 w/o food, but someone I doubt I’ll be able to run more than 8 w/o food in my system. I’ve tried everything – banana, toast w/ pb, toast w/ EB, half piece of toast, apple, smoothie, etc. I’m a whole food eating vegan, so the food I put in my system is not crap. Help me!! I’m soooo open for suggestions! Thank you!

    • Cyndi Eggers February 22, 2011, 11:41 am

      skip fats and dairy. I cannot stomach oils and peanut butter will make me seriously ill. My go-to fuel is an old-fashioned Power Bar. I think it works so well is because your body has to do very little to break it down and begin absorbing the nutrients, calories, etc. I normally have a coffee, banana and oatmeal right when I wake up and then 30 minutes or so before I head out I have a Power Bar. Hope it works for you!

      • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:33 pm

        Hmmm well since you are a vegan (otherwise I would have agreed to skip dairy), maybe the issue is your food is too fibrous?

        Are you sure you aren’t dehydrated?

        If this persists, I would recommend seeking out a sports medicine doctor that specializes in internal wellness too.

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) February 22, 2011, 10:38 am

    ‘Now, “long run” doesn’t indicate any particular distance, a long run is a long run… TO YOU’

    Love this.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 22, 2011, 10:40 am

    These are great tips for people who are just starting to do longer runs. I remember when I was training for my half marathon and I thought 5 miles was long! Now I really don’t consider 10 miles to be long either (I get looks from non-runners when I say this). Okay, maybe it’s a little long, but you get my point…I think! 😉

  • giordin February 22, 2011, 10:41 am

    During one of my training runs, I stuck some snacks in plastic baggies and pinned them to the inside of my shorts (like you do with your jelly beans). It worked so well the first time, that I did the same thing during my marathon race, but for whatever reason, my plastic baggies disintegrated while I was running so I suddenly started feeling shot blocks and cheez-its start falling out of my shorts!! It was a horrible experience and must have looked really odd for the people around me.

    • Cyndi Eggers February 22, 2011, 11:38 am

      Look for shorts that have convenient pockets – I have a pair that have side pockets on the outside that worked great for my energy gummies. They’re still close fitting shorts which is great because even though I had food tashed in the pockets they did not bounce or fall out.

      • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:34 pm

        Oh man, great story!!! Cyndi has good advice.

  • jassy February 22, 2011, 10:45 am

    you are a pro! 🙂

  • Dianne February 22, 2011, 10:46 am

    THANK YOU for mentioning the #2 before a run! My biggest problem with long runs is always looking for a bathroom :-/

  • Amber K February 22, 2011, 10:46 am

    Wow, this post taught me a LOT! So comprehensive. I am not really into running and yet it seems more attainable now. 🙂

  • Kelly February 22, 2011, 10:48 am

    I think you are so right about building it up in your mind as a good thing. For this reason I sometimes find long runs easier because I’ve got it in my mind that it’s going to be tough but worth it in the end. When I think about my short runs as “oh it’s only 3 miles” after less than 1 I’m ready for it to be over.

  • Alyssa-fashion fitness foodie February 22, 2011, 10:55 am

    I’m so glad I came across your blog the other day! I want to run a half marathon sometime this year and these are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing and posting them

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist February 22, 2011, 11:01 am

    I had just decided to start training for my first half marathon the day before I broke my foot. It will be a while now but when I do get back to running this post will be very helpful!

  • Bonnie February 22, 2011, 11:02 am

    What a great post, Caitlin! Thanks for sharing your tips – I agree with every one of them! I love how a runner’s definition of a “long run” can change depending on where they are in life, what they’ve experienced, and how much they’ve grown as a runner. I tend to view my long runs more as adventures than hard workouts to accomplish and it makes it so much more fun and epic! Especially in the cold and snow, it helps if I bundle up and just have a good attitude about it and not think of how miserable I’m going to be. Then it becomes a game to finish and I normally finish well; it’s ALWAYS worth it, every time. Lately (and for the first time actually), I’ve been downloading thoughtful podcasts and listening to them on my long runs, which makes the time pass quickly and really engages my mind. Happy running!

  • Katie February 22, 2011, 11:08 am

    Such a great post! I dont run but IF I did these are amazing tips you have on here! I really do want to run a race in the future, I think after my wedding I am going to make it a goal to to do that : )

  • Lisa February 22, 2011, 11:15 am

    I just did a 15 miler yesterday on the treadmill! It wasn’t too exciting, but it was necessary for my mental confidence as I’m marathon training! Soon I hope to start taking the long runs outside, just as soon as it warms up a bit! (I’m in Pittsburgh!) So yeah, your tips are perfect! Thanks! (P.S. GU for me all the way!)

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:34 pm

      I cannot believe you ran 15 miles on a treadmill, you are amazing.

  • Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 22, 2011, 11:19 am

    Great information! My longest run has only been 5 miles at this point but I’m training for a half so they will be getting longer soon!

  • monicanelsonfitness February 22, 2011, 11:23 am

    thanks! really great info. Loved reading it.

  • Rae February 22, 2011, 11:24 am

    Ditto on the Raod ID and letting someone kow where you are going 🙂 Here are my tips:

    1. If you are runnign loops and dont like to carry a water bottle, stash it at your start point and guzzle some with each loop.
    2. dried cranberries for fuel. They rock my world!
    3. If youre a heavy sweater, Endurolytes, or salt tabs, can be really effective-experiment a bit, but i find them helpful on a hot run or race every half hour or so. Also, drinks like Nuun (awesome and low low cal) have sodium in them to replenish
    4. Dont eat dairy before a long run if you have ANY sensitivity at all. its a bad bad idea 😛

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:35 pm

      Tip #2 is great!

  • Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete February 22, 2011, 11:29 am

    This is a such a great list! I also like just concentrating on getting myself to the next tree or the next mile. I think breaking up the run as much as possible helps. I also think out and backs are much better than loops because once you have run half the distance, you have to get home!!

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life February 22, 2011, 11:30 am

    Totally agree–they are a major event in the week, and I plan accordingly!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) February 22, 2011, 11:33 am

    Really good guide!

    I am doing my 20 (hopefully 22) miler this week. Originally, it was supposed to happen on Saturday, but now due to rain, it looks like I will do it Thursday morning before work (coming in late to work, obviously!). Given that it’s already Tuesday, I am glad to have these little reminders.

    P.S. My stomach is more like “delicate flower.” I don’t eat before running in the morning (even for marathons), but if I run later in the day, I try to end lunch at least 3 hours before and even then, I tend to have issues…

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:35 pm

      Good luck on your 22 miler!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss February 22, 2011, 11:34 am

    I love, love long runs!! The biggest thing that gets me through it is that intial “It’s going to be so COOL to run!” thought. 🙂 Unfortunately, I’m recovering from (yet another) who knows when my next long run will be.

  • Cyndi Eggers February 22, 2011, 11:35 am

    I didn’t have a chance to read all of the entries above but a MUST for long runs is BodyGlide or a similar anti-chafe product. I never need it under 10 miles but I regret it painfully for anything more. I also eat a low-fat diet and have found a few products that don;t upset my sensitive stomach: pre-run I eat various oatmeal concoctions that always include a banana and then 30 minutes before I head out I have an old fashioned Power Bar. After 45 minutes of a long run I have 2 or 3 pieces of Stingers – like Shock Bloks but organic. I love long runs and how they make you feel so strong and accomplished after!!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good February 22, 2011, 11:41 am

    Thank you for the tips. If possible, I like to run long runs somewhere pretty. It helps pass the time if I am taking in the scenery. I also like to use music to help keep me going.

    I appreciate you saying that a long run is a long run *to you*. My longest runs thus far would be a welcome break for someone training for a marathon. My long run this past week was a 9 miler, and I was so happy to get that under my belt. 🙂

  • Lee @ RealLeeRunning February 22, 2011, 11:45 am

    Running buddies! I’m tellin ya, they are the only ones who got me through my marathon training. It really is crazy how you change your mind about what is a long run. I was dreading my 8 mile run this weekend but I kept reminding myself if I can do 26.2 I can certainly manage 8!

  • bakingnbooks February 22, 2011, 11:50 am

    You look so HARD-CORE in that first photo!

    Wrap the jelly beans tight…could be trouble if they explode in your pants….;)

  • Clarissa February 22, 2011, 11:52 am

    I love the “pinning Jelly Beans inside shorts” idea! I should always keep a bag of those bad boys in my purse, yummy!

  • Tracy February 22, 2011, 11:53 am

    Honestly, I don’t do any of that stuff. I just go out and run. No camelback, no water bottle, no spibelt. I might stop back at the house or car to get a drink if I’m doing a long run on a hot day. I often go without breakfast too. I’m not skin and bones; my muscles can hold tons of fuel from the previous night’s dinner. I think there can be too much made out of pre-fueling, fueling-while-running, and re-fueling IMO.

    Everyone is different. People have to figure out what works for them. For me it’s this: Just go run.

  • Kelly February 22, 2011, 11:55 am

    Oh long runs, they can be so challenging mentally. I’m a big fan of Power Bar gel blasts. They’re yummy. I cannot carry anything while I run, so my long runs need to bring me by water fountains or grocery stores.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat February 22, 2011, 12:01 pm

    I love that you said don’t crash on the couch yet. That is one of the hardest lessons I had to learn but now that I take a hot shower, get up and move around (sometimes grocery shopping) and do yoga after runs, I have almost NO soreness. Even after a half!

    Great tips 🙂

  • Kacy February 22, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Great post! I definitely think gettting into the right mindset it key. It’s so mental – you have to be prepared to do the work and kick ass and you’ll really start to enjoy it!

  • Rachel February 22, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Great advice! I like to run a shorter loop for multiple laps to complete a long run. I’ll do a 3 mile loop 4 or 5 times, but I only think about each loop as I’m doing it. I get all these mini rewards for completing a loop. Usually reaching each small goal gives me a mental boost to keep going.

    I also think pumping yourself up the week before is important. Telling myself I’m going to do it really helps me actual do it.

    Even for a long run, I’ve learned I can’t eat much before hand (even a couple hours earlier)or my stomach aches. I usually have a date with PB or a banana at the most.

    Also, for recovery I agree that movement and stretching really helps!

    Long runs may suck at moments during it, but I’m always extremely happy/proud when it’s finished!

  • Ashley February 22, 2011, 12:26 pm

    You are so awesome. Thank you so much. I don’t have any tips to share but I really want to start racing and this is really helpful!

  • Lynne February 22, 2011, 12:26 pm

    On apps for those who carry their phones with them, Endomondo Pro does some of the same things my Garmin does. There is a free version and another one that cost $3.99. Worth checking out if you can’t afford a Garmin.

  • Mary (what's cookin' with mary) February 22, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Just read a guest post on CnC about increasing your pace that I want to send to my SIL and her bestie and now I’ll be sending them this too. They just ran a 10k and want to sig up for a 1/2 mary. All great info. TY

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing the blog!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 22, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Getting yourself pumped up is crucial! The first long run of marathon training was 15 miles, and I tried to make it seem like it was really fun all week. I also made my sister ride her bike next to me and ended up doing 17 miles! I know it sounds crazy, but I actually have really fond memories of that day…

  • Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner February 22, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I love your tips Caitlin! 😀 One of my favorite snacks to take with me are bananas! 🙂

  • Margaret February 22, 2011, 12:49 pm

    On my long runs, I try to map out a visually entertaining course, and I’m cautious of the hills!

  • Kathie February 22, 2011, 12:53 pm

    You are awesome!! thanks for all the great tips!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In February 22, 2011, 1:12 pm

    Great Post! I’m training for my first marathon and am getting into the 18-20 mile distances, so this was really helpful! Thankfully I can already check off a lot of your recommendations!

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl February 22, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Great tips! I was never exactly sure why the training plans always said to run 30 seconds to 1:30/mile under race pace. What you said makes sense though! Thanks!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 22, 2011, 1:39 pm

    This is a great post!! I have recently begun to appreciate the long run but not putting too much pressure on myself. Currently I am striving for either a time goal or a distance goal but not both. (That will come a little later in the training)

  • Liz @ February 22, 2011, 1:46 pm

    RunKeeper is a FANTASTIC iPhone app and I use it on all my long runs! It tracks your map, distance, average pace, and individual splits and it’s very accurate! You can set it to work alongside your favorite playlist, and you can program it to update you at custom intervals about how you’re doing. It’s really motivating!

  • Melissa February 22, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Hi! Have you read Born to Run? Its an amazing book about distance running, and really getting back to basics, like using vibrams. In there is a recipe that the Tarahumara make with Chia seeds that they use for fuel. I haven’t tried but sounds interesting.

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:48 pm

      I really want to read it but I haven’t bought it yet. Soon!

  • Emily February 22, 2011, 2:09 pm

    For special runs, I’ll debut a special playlist. Great new music is almost as exhilarating to me as that runners’ high 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 22, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Thanks for all these great tips! The longest run I’ve ever done was around 6 miles, but I’m hoping to start doing longer runs this summer. I’ll have to come back and review this post before I do! 😀

  • Christina February 22, 2011, 2:21 pm

    I seriously just need the spring to get here so I can get some runs in outdoors! I really don’t like running in the winter here in NY, plus I’m paranoid I’ll slip on ice lol. Thanks for such great tips!

  • annette @ enjoyyourhealthylife February 22, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Best advice? Actually going and DOING those long runs 🙂 Side note, always get enough sleep- it’ll make or break a long run!!

  • Julie @ Shining From Within February 22, 2011, 3:48 pm

    I love this post. All this advice is so useful to me because I’ll be doing long runs (8+) miles pretty soon! I need to experiment with gatorade/pre-run breakfast/gu’s though. Thanks 🙂

  • Lyn February 22, 2011, 3:53 pm

    Hey! I’m a fairly new reader and this was an awesome post!

    I have a burning question for you all and this is the perfect opportunity –
    Does anyone else get headaches after long runs? My long runs are like, 5-7 miles. I haven’t done one in a while because I’m waiting for the weather to warm up a little (I’m in Philly) – but back in the summer and fall, I noticed this was happening a lot if I ran any more than 4-5 miles. I would get a throbbing headache that started right after the run and lasted ALL DAY (and I’m not normally a headache person!).
    I think it might be related to dehydration because I noticed that if I forced myself to drink like, a liter of water before the run (not easy for me), I could sometimes ward it off. Does this happen to anyone else or is it just me?

    • Jazz February 22, 2011, 7:48 pm

      I used to get this from OVER hydrating, without having any salt/electrolytes .. try some gatorade and see!

    • Caitlin February 22, 2011, 7:51 pm

      My husband says your electrolytes might be off. He recommends drinking 4 ounces of coconut water each day 🙂 Hope that helps!

    • elaine! February 25, 2011, 5:58 pm

      Interesting question — thanks for the replies, too. After my long runs, I start to get a massive headache about 4-6 hours later, and it lasts all night and through the next day. I thought it could have been due to clenching my jaw, but maybe it’s electrolytes too. I’ll try that on my next long run.

  • Ashley @ Thefitacademic February 22, 2011, 6:22 pm

    Love this post! So much great info packed into one place!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef February 22, 2011, 8:33 pm

    i would definitely suggest a roadID or carrying your driver’s license/school id with you when you run. also, there are alternatives to camelbak that are lighter in weight. i have the Nathan Intensity Women’s Hydration Vest and it’s great! i’m not affiliated with the company & think my everyday camelbak water bottle is great, but i find the nathan race vest to be much more comfortable to wear while running and it has a ton of storage for your runs too. just a tip 🙂

  • Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY February 23, 2011, 9:12 am

    Great tips. Having a positive outlook on the run is the best way to prepare. Also, thinking about fun ways to “recover” help me a lot too. I love meeting friends for a fun brunch afterwards or going to one of my favorite restaurants that night.

  • Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY February 23, 2011, 9:12 am

    Great tips. Having a positive outlook on the run is the best way to prepare. Also, thinking about fun ways to “recover” help me a lot too. I love meeting friends for a fun brunch afterwards or going to one of my favorite restaurants that night.

  • elaine! February 25, 2011, 5:55 pm

    It’s really helped me mentally to have time goals instead of distance goals for my long runs. Instead of thinking, “I have to go run 10 miles,” I think, “Time to go out and run for 2 hours.”

    I know that seems MORE stressful, but the thing is, if I’m tracking my mileage, I start to think, “If I run faster, I’ll be done sooner,” and I run through all my energy and have a crappy run. But if I tell myself, “I’m out here for 2 hours no matter what, I might as well pace myself and make it a good run” — well, it ends up being a good run!

    I have yet to see how this time-based program is going to affect my readiness for my first marathon. But I can tell you that I beat a 10-minute-mile pace for my last 3-mile run, for the FIRST TIME EVER! So it can’t be all bad. 🙂

  • Crystal October 11, 2012, 9:30 pm

    I know you wrote this over a year ago, but I’ve been combing through your running posts and I just want to say that this one is very helpful! I’m running my first half marathon in a couple weeks and blog has been very inspirational 🙂

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