Yesterday was my "short" long run, with an aim of 23K. The distance caught me off guard, in that I got a little too non chalant. 23 is a BIG break from 36 and I truly thought it would be a non issue. I came out of my run yesterday feeling disappointed. Mostly for not doing all the things I KNOW I need to do to be successful. Here's my personal list of things I know about myself running wise (and otherwise in some cases):
1. I'm a morning person. Now don't get me wrong, I would love the occasional sleep in from getting up with the kids, but especially for running, get me up, have some oatmeal, and get on those shoes. I am NOT an afternoon runner. I always flop. It's a food issue. I don't know how to properly fuel myself for an ENTIRE morning, and THEN run a longer distance. Even with all my snacks I pack, I was hungry yesterday, and hungry really early on. I needed to have done my run early in the day.
2. Gels. Last year preparing for Calgary, I was super hungry as my distances got higher. I tried bananas (no no, plus there is no way to carry a banana for 4 hours without it becoming a truly gross mess). This year I have experimented with a few different gels (Pocket Fuel, my old favorite Cliff Gels, and now using Stinger). Pocket Fuel was really thick (but good), but it led me to carrying nuts on my run. Snacking on nuts is so great. It keeps me fueled, but adds a nice crunch in comparison to my gels. As for the gels, I have learned I need to take one about every 8K. If I space them out too much I crash hard. My body just needs that boost on a more consistant basis. Yesterday I took ONE. At 11K. I was doing well on my run until 18K and I crashed hard. Not necessarily physically (some yes), but definitely emotionally. I was just so so done. I really should have had two gels for that distance.
3. Pace. I had a hard time slowing myself down yesterday. I should be doing a long run pace of 6:30min/k (which I have struggled with all year always landing around 6:10), but yesterday at 2K I saw my watch said 5:38. Gulp. Wow. I tried to scale it back but was really unsuccessful. By 18K I was at a 6:50 and taking frequent walk breaks. You can visibily see on Strava where my body just gave up.
The good I am taking from this yesterday, is it was a run that clearly showed I can't just pass any of those things up. I have to pay attention to them on a long run of ANY distance.
Do you have things you know are critical to making a run successful?