The Audacity of the Long Run

Milo Manila Marathon Elims becoming fever-pitch at the onset of the typhoon season doesn’t help since it is also time to commit to the longest training run of 30 – 35 kms. Like many of us already registered for the longest distance, I’m doing my own checklist of how to play out this crucial long run so it can be an important deciding factor in my performance on race day.

my longest long run outside of a marathon WAS a marathon distance in Tanay
my longest long run outside of a marathon WAS a marathon distance in Tanay. birthday run July 2010 with Marie and Carlo.

Pace Strategy. I have difficulty scoring a negative or positive split during a race. I’ve survived and sometimes even surprised myself by doing “even-splits” or trying to catch up a planned marathon pace.  But the whole idea of executing your pace strategy in mind for the long run is to simulate the race, and that’s where the discipline should take over you. It’s not about looking at your GPS watch constantly, but running by the feel of the pace that should take you strongly to the finish line.

Gear Strategy.  This is probably the last time you try anything new if you think you should deviate from your old reliables during race day. This applies, but not exclusively, to shoes, apparel, socks, gels, even sports bras and new underwear.

Carbo-loading. Just because it’s not a race, doesn’t mean one doesn’t carbo-load.  Runner’s World puts it succinctly: “Carb loading or “carbo loading” is a strategy used by runners to maximize carbo intake for muscle energy storage in preparation for a long run or race.”  In the same principle, don’t overdo the carbo-load as if you’ve earned every right to eat everything on sight!

Mindset and Emotional Disposition.  Many will agree with me that the 32-kilometer mark in a marathon is a make-or-break decision.  The battle between good and evil in our head is so strong, and sometimes we find ourselves giving out a loud yelp (causing the runner on your side to think you are turning nuts!) to get back into reality. The long run creates the urge to want to give up, too. I found out that the best weaponry against my mind trying to control the desire to continue on is focusing on the reward/s (of completing) the distance.

Bawal Magkasakit.  One of the nemesis of a marathoner is getting sick a few weeks before the race, and more significantly, at the time of a long run. Despite much effort, it can happen to the best of us, particularly when there is a viral prevalence lurking nearby. Sometimes, the first place you catch something is at home! Some Plan B is in order if you feel the aches of an impending fever coming on:

  • increase fluid intake and keep hydrated
  • debunk the Vitamin C overload myth but some fruits rich in Vitamin C can actually make you feel better
  • catch up on sleep and rest. chances are resistance to the negative health forces have taken its toll due to lack of recovery.
  • monitor your heart rate as an indicator if that long run is worth the risk of aggravating conditions.

I know we will all be going out during the unholy hours of the day tomorrow and putting everything to the test again. Here’s to hoping that Hermes (the Olympian god of running) keeps a loving eye on all of us and help us enjoy every tormenting stride of our long run!

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