I was walking Bandit one day last week, thinking about my “long-er” runs and how much more manageable short long runs seem (if that makes sense). I had already decided on this topic for todays post, then I was texting with another runner friend. She is also not running very long these days or racing, although our reasons are different.
We both mused about how we might get back to longer runs and races — some day
It’s not just the run
If you’ve ever trained for a longer distance race, you know that the long run can start the night before. Laying out your clothes, your fuel, your hydration, perhaps your recovery snack. Making sure you either have the ingredients for breakfast, or getting breakfast ready so that it’s ready to just grab or heat up. Making sure any electronics you need are charged. Making sure you get to bed at a decent hour so you’re rested.
The morning of your long run there’s dressing. Maybe applying anti chafe gel and sunscreen. Eating breakfast — if you’re like me, that means leaving a couple of hours, 90 minutes at the least, to digest said breakfast before you run. Probably drive somewhere to run. Dynamic warmup.
Finally it’s time to run!
If you’re meeting up with friends, there might be chatting beforehand — and after. Before you know it, more than half the day is gone!
You may not include all these steps in prep for your long run, but there’s no denying that for most of us there’s some prep work that goes into a longer run.
Now it’s time to actually run!
If you’re a faster runner, this may only be a few hours out of your day, depending on the length of your long run. If you’re a slower runner, it can take a much longer time. You may or may not need a pitstop before, during, or after, too!
Now it’s time to recover
That might mean a snack, or it might mean a meal with your friends and more chatting. Maybe some stretching and/or foam rolling. Depending on how long you ran, or how hard that run was, you might even need a nap.
Well, you get the idea. Sometimes if feels as though running long is a job! Not necessarily in a bad way, but it can consume a lot of time.
Now imagine this . . .
Your long run is between 5 – 8 miles. The run itself takes less time. There’s no reason to carry fuel (although you should definitely still hydrate!). You are less likely to feel really tired afterward. Breakfast can be easy — some toast or a sprouted English Muffin with some butter (in my case ghee) and honey and a little salt. No prep the night before!
There’s really no need to alter your eating much before or after. I foam roll before, personally, rarely afterwards, although I usually do stretch afterwards.
Because it takes so much less time it’s much easier to squeeze into my week, on a weekend or any other day, really. I’m also able to do some strength training later in the day
The biggest benefit? I’m not so tired. It’s really just a run, a slightly long-er run.
I still have more than half the states to run a half marathon in! That isn’t a goal that I’ve given up on, just but on hold for now. Someday when life is less stressful I may feel differently, but for now, running less suits me. I also really enjoy how easy it is to fit shorter runs into my life.
I know for some people maintaining that long run is a way to feel more normal in a world that is still not at a new normal. Whatever floats your boat! Just be on the lookout for symptoms of burnout (which just might be an upcoming post soon).
You might also enjoy:
What would you miss if you didn’t run so long?
What might you be able to do if you weren’t running so long?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.