how to make it through your long run

half marathon

I set out at 9:50 a.m. for a casual 5k run.

New playlist

+Lots of happy things to think about

+All the free morning time in the world

+Temperature in the 50′s

+New running gear

+A new course I have never run before with plenty of motivating smiling and waving runners

=13.1 miles in 2:36:17

My first half-marathon. For fun. Super casual.

I don’t know how I did it. I just ran straight and didn’t stop.

I am really glad the trail was a straight shot. I didn’t even realize I had passed the 5 mile mark because I honestly just kept running in one direction. It was then that I thought how am I going to get home? I wasn’t worried about getting lost because all I had to do was turn around and run back in the same direction. I had to get home somehow. I realized that if I ran back, I could essentially complete a half marathon. I laughed at the thought. Me? Run 13.1 miles? Yeah right.

But at mile 6, I just got really excited about the thought. I ran 10 miles over the summer, which was my furthest run. If I can run 10 miles and I can run 3 miles, then I can run 13 miles. I just had to run 10 miles and then do a casual 5k. Easy peasy.

At mile 7, I felt like a million bucks and had to challenge myself. I turned around and began my 7 miles back.

I really think that the runner’s high amazing feeling is more than just a bunch of endorphins streaming through your veins. I think a large part of that incredible feeling has to do with overcoming our mental barriers. We accomplish a run, race, challenge that we didn’t think we could do and that results in joy, confidence and a feeling of VICTORY.

Our minds hold us back so much. I think that the greatest athletes out there don’t use the words I CAN’T (at least not very often).

Our minds give up before our bodies do. Basically, our bodies are so much stronger and can do so much more than our minds want us to. So….that means we can train ourselves to tell our minds to be quiet for a little while and PUSH IT. Running helps me work on my mental strength just as much as I work on my physical strength.

We are so much stronger than we think we are.

Don’t let your mind bully you around!

post half marathon
Post-run endorphins! 

How to Make It Through Your Long Run:

1. I ALWAYS split the run up mentally. I don’t look at the run as doing 20 miles but instead 5 miles 4 times. I just like thinking about the segment that I am in (i.e. I know I can do 5 miles) rather than getting overwhelmed by thinking about the entire run all at once (um… running 20 miles straight sounds a little intimidating).

2. Go to bed early. If you want to have a good long run the next morning, you just gotta do it. We really can’t expect to ask our bodies to perform really well and run a ridiculous amount of miles on little sleep.

3. Don’t focus on speed. Slowing down will greatly reduce your risk of injury. 10 miles is still 10 miles no matter how fast or slow you go. One thing I always tell myself while running is “it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop”.

4. Go somewhere new. Try running somewhere other than your normal route. Add some excitement!

5. Fuel and hydrate. Once you get too low on your energy, it is really hard to come back from that and catch up. Your long runs will feel so much better if you are taking in calories and water throughout your run. Run past water fountains if you don’t want to carry a bottle. If you don’t want to buy sports gels, put some gummy bears in your pockets. Or raisins. Marshmallows. A mashed up banana in a bag. Frozen grapes. (I did not do this on my run, and I really did hit a wall during the last three miles. It took every last drop of strength in me to keep going).

6. Stop staring at your tracker. It can be really mentally challenging to check your phone every minute and see that you are only .1 miles farther in your run. Get your mind on something else.

7. Save your music for when you really need it. I listened to music the whole time and got really sick of it by the last five miles. Not a single song gave me the push I needed. I rolled my eyes when Beyonce came on. Yeah, it was that bad!

8. Come up with a power word or mantra. Repeat it to yourself 4 trillion times. On mile 8, I gave myself a pep talk out loud. (I was crazy enough for running 13 miles for fun, so I didn’t care what anyone else passing me thought hahah. Runners will understand!). I told myself, “you got this! Look how far you’ve come! I am so proud of you! You can do hard things! You are an awesome runner! You can do it!!!!”

9. Always have a reward for yourself at the end. Make some fun plans for a massage, pedicure, a movie night, or to read for 4 hours straight when you finish. Thinking about a ginormous chocolate chip cookie that is 7 inches in circumference definitely pushed me through to the end. Ooh, or jumping off the high dive into a pool of bacon.

10. Take the pressure off of yourself. Running isn’t your job. Your family will still love you if you don’t rock your long run. Some days are just off and there is nothing we can do about it. Your worth does not depend on your running performance.

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P.S. It is okay to pee in the woods if need be. This, I did do. It hit me on mile 4. I had to do what I had to do. Everybody Poops
… but no one wants to poop while running. Who wants to carry around more weight while already feeling their own load? (pun intended). It is definitely a “long run” problem.

P.P.S. There was salt on my face.

P.P.P.S. I also blew my nose on my shirt. I haven’t mastered the “snot rocket” that all runners swear by.

P.P.P.P.S. When I got home and took off my shoes, I realized my toe bled entirely through my sock due to chafing. “There will be blood” is a good general theme for half/full marathon training. Blood, sweat and tears. Once I have all three, I know I’ve had a good run.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Runners are gross. We know. 😉

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Share your long run tips!!!

What is your reward after a long run or race?

Music while running? Yay or nay? All of the time or some of the time?

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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