Anatomy of a Long Run

Part of my training plan this year is to increase my mileage and endurance with the traditional Sunday Long Run. I figured if I'm working up to a half marathon in September (13.1 miles), then if I started in January, I could add a mile to my LR every month to work up to 13 by race day. So January would be 5 miles, February 6, March 7, April 8, May 9, June 10, July 11, and August 12. (Did I have to write that down? Yes, I did.) I figure momentum will get me through that 13th mile in September, though I may try to squeeze in a practice 13-miler.

This plan has been working so far, and in the past 2 weeks I've pulled off my very first 9-milers. One of them also had an average pace of 8:10, which seems kind of crazy. I have no idea what I was on that day! And being "on" something, specifically food, is a big part of what I'm trying to learn. If I can come up with a good fueling system now, then I can rely on it come race day. I'm also just trying to keep track of what to bring along on a Long Run. It's a significant time investment, and if I mess something up it's kind of a waste. Here are my notes as I try to get it right.

Night before: Drink lots of water. Then drink a bit more. Try carb-loading with pizza or pasta or bread, just in case that's a real thing. I occasionally have a drink or two (it's Saturday!), but try to keep it mellow.

Morning of, at least an hour before start: Drink coffee. Eat waffles. Check outside temps carefully and follow these rules: if it's under 32, wear gloves. If it's under 52, wear a jacket layer. If it's over 52, do NOT wear a jacket. If it's over 60, wear short sleeves and short pants. Also, I'm trying to remember to wear knee-high compression socks to promote good circulation.

15 minutes before: Use the potty. Apply sunscreen. Eat 100 calories or so of something sugary. Drink some water.

For my pre-run fueling this week I tried some Honey Stinger energy chews that came in my last Stridebox. They're tasty and soft, with recognizable ingredients like fruit juice, cane juice, and color from carrots.

Load up the waistpack: 100 calories of something for miles 3 and 6. Phone. Water bottle. I also wear a hat, my garmin 410 GPS watch with heart monitor, and a pink Road ID wristband with my name and emergency phone numbers on it.

For this run, I tried a Vi Fuel chocolate gel at mile 3, which also came in my Stridebox. For the past few weeks I've been using Razz Clif gels only, and while they actually taste OK, the texture is so thick that I feel like I'm suffocating when I swallow them. It's hard to breathe! The Vi Fuel did have a lighter, more liquid consistency. And it tasted a lot like chocolate syrup (which is good). It was made with maltodextrin, dextrose, caffeine, and things like taurine amino acid. It tasted a tiny bit of chemicals. Apparently they have recently changed their name to VFuel for simplicity's sake. In general, based on past performance, I'm trying to take in easy-to-utilize fuel every 3 miles. I don't necessarily want caffeine every time, so I like to mix it up. I also drink a bit of water every mile (my watch beeps then anyway, so it's easy).

Shoes are a very important piece of equipment! Recently I got a second pair so I can trade off! (I also have two older pairs that I use for rainy days or bootcamp/non-running workouts.)

I now have a gorgeous pair of purple Saucony Kinvara 4s. Purchased from Burrows Specialized Sports in downtown Brattleboro.

I compared them to my Brooks Pureflows just for fun.

Looking at the arch side, the Kinvaras seem to have more support tucked up into the arch. Both shoes have the same heel drop (the heel is 4mm higher than the toe).

Looking at the soles, the Brooks seems to have lots of support under the outside of the mid-foot (that white "knot" area). The Saucony is totally nipped in at the same point--they seem to be putting the support under the arch instead. Also the Brooks seems to have a wider sole/footprint in general.

The heels look totally different from behind. The Brooks is symmetrical and flat, while the Saucony seems to have some plan of its own, with different planes and types of sole material merging and overlapping.

Ah, love that color! I feel more supported in the Sauconys so plan to use them for longer runs. The Brooks are great for shorter jaunts and for the track workouts I've started doing with a local group every Tuesday  morning. Yes, I love to run.

Tell me about your routines! Is there something you try to do every Sunday rain or shine? If you run, do you have a checklist? Do you do "LRs" ?

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