On Tuesday night, after a week of some double workout days to play catch-up after the Perfect 10 Miler on September 29th wore me out for a few unexpected rest days in my training schedule, I was finally caught up on my plan… just in time for the “long run” of the week. I’m following the Exercise for Pink Half Marathon Trainer app schedule, and structured my week so that Wednesdays would be my rest days. That’s because on Wednesday, I work AND have a 2 and a half hour class at night, so I try to give my body a break. (And that break includes a lot of stress eating. I know, I’m bad.)
So like I said, I had a 6 mile run scheduled for Tuesday night. I was lucky that this week was the first week of the semester that I haven’t had a paper due by 8:00 on Tuesday in time for that Wednesday class, so I wanted to knock my run out as soon as I got home so I’d have the night to do my reading.
Here in the DC area, Tuesday was the perfect fall day. It was brisk out, and the sunset was stunning.
One of the gifts running has given me is forcing me not to immediately nap when I go home. I used to be the champion of “Work was so tiring, I need a nap” and then sleep til like 10 at night.
I also prefer to train outside to be better prepared for outdoor, road races (and because I cannot be bothered by manually changing the incline settings on a machine – the road is nature’s incline-changing treadmill!) and running also forces me to go outside and enjoy the word and the fresh air when I might otherwise accidentally find myself on the Internet for four hours and wonder where my life went. So before I actually went off on my run, I kind of just stood outside in my front yard soaking it in. That’s where the “Run Happy” Instagram shot I took that showed up in my last post came from. My best runs are when I’m feeling happy and most confident.
Some runners are super minimalist about what they need to give a great running performance, and I so admire that. I, however, have really seen my performance improve over time as I’ve researched the best types of fabrics and products to wear, and the best kinds of fuels to keep my body going. The guy that invented the distance we now know as the marathon totally passed out when he was done – I believe we’re a species meant to run, but not naturally meant to run THAT long. Those are called cheetahs.
So now that the weather is getting chillier and a simple tank top and capri leggings won’t cut it, I needed to figure out how to dress for runs in cold weather so I won’t be freezing but I also won’t so over-layer that I overheat. I also needed to figure out what type of fuel worked for me – and I was finding that GU Peanut Butter gels, while not disgusting as I once suspected, didn’t really have an effect. I also have been majorly struggling to find the right hydration pack to carry with me on longer runs, and the right tights to wear because listen, I have a BUTT, and runners with asses like mine need to get it right or there will be some embarrassing things happening down south on the rump.
So without further ado, here are my ingredients for Tuesday’s 6 mile run. It turned out that I felt amazing for pretty much all of it, and I want to remember all the things I did in preparation to make it such a successful training run. So here goes!
Race Ingredients for a perfect long training run
- New inserts in Brooks Glycerins. Turns out I was pro-nating and didn’t know it! Went to the Fleet Feet store, got my gait analyzed, and instead of having to buy brand new shoes like I thought I would, all I had to do was buy some cheap orthopedic inserts. Broke ‘em in 1 hour the first day, 2 the second, 2 more the third then took ‘em on a run. No more blisters, no more numb! No more making my feet feel dumb!
- Moisture wicking ankle socks for the run itself. Thicker cotton socks keep in moisture and create blisters. Gross! Get yourself some breathable shit.
- Breathable, drawstring Nike ankle-length leggings to stay on my big old butt. The drawstrings are key for asses like mine, as explained above. They even have hot pink reversible details to match my hot pink Saucony jacket (to look fly).
- Moisture-wicking turquoise racerback tank to make me feel (and look fly
- Highly coveted Sonic Print jacket from Saucony. (Hint, it’s much cheaper to buy NOT directly from the online Saucony store.) I’ve been wanting this thing ever since I started following Mile Posts and her Saucony obsession led me to finding this. It has:
- Pockets (FOR SNACKS!)
- Flashing light for a night run
- Full zip for easy layering
- Reflective details for higher visibility
- Lightweight and breathable
- Again, looking fly
- “Run Happy” Bondi Band covering my ears in the warm – AND keeping my earbuds in better! Hooking the Bondi band over my ears helped it stay on better – I’ve had problems with them falling off in the past when my hair gets sweaty enough.
- Nathan hand-held water bottle
- Fuck the hydraulic bouncy belt
- Fuck the amphipod with the bottle that flies out after five steps
- The handheld gives my nervous tick something to grip and it’s super accessible when I need a sip
- And it has… POCKETS FOR SNACKS!
- Nuun Hydrate Lemonade flavored tablets – Mmm, electrolytes. Plain cold water is great and all for hydration, but electrolytes are key. There are lots of hydrating products out there, and everyone has their preferences based on taste or content, but I happen to love sweet lemonade. Nuun Lemonade flavor is delicious. It doesn’t make the water too strongly-flavored – just enough to be pleasing to a potentially drying palate on a long run.
- GU Chocolate Outrage. Cannot believe it took me this long to realize I should be using a caffeinated gel fuel rather than just going by my love of peanut butter. When I felt no difference after popping GU gels on a recent 8 mile training run and on my 10 miler, I thought maybe this whole GU thing was a mental thing for people. Turns out, okay, it might still be, but switching to the Chocolate Outrage flavor, which has caffeine, unlike the peanut butter flavor, made a huge difference. When it kicked in around mile 4 of my run, I felt like I was flying!
You’ll notice a lot of this includes “looking fly.” Like I’ve said before, for me, confidence is key to a successful run. I’ve heard flack from people about “dressing up” to work out – um, I wouldn’t call leggings and running shoes “dressing up” but certainly, comfortably fitting, breathable clothing is super important for a healthy, safe run. Plus, a super cute turquoise racerback over a shlumpy cotton t-shirt from a high school musical I was in? Of course it’s going to affect the way I run. When I dress like a shlub, I end up running like I’m apologizing. “Yes, I know, I’m a shlub, let me just shuffle out of the way here.” But when I’m dressed like an athlete, it’s kind of like this whole fake it til you make it thing. Eventually, dressing like an athlete, wearing the athlete costume, I start to believe I really am an athlete.
So there you have it! My personal recipe for a successful training run.
HAHAHA just kidding. “Nevie, what the hell?! Where is all your blabbering we always have to hear from you about music? You talk about music more than you talk about anything else, and yet you do a whole running post and not even mention your PLAYLIST?!”
You’re right, friend, you’re quite right. SO right, in fact, that the reason it’s not included here is because The Art of the Running Playlist is so important that it needs its very own post. So stay tuned 🙂
What is YOUR number one most important ingredient for a successful long run? The ONE thing you bring with you – whether it’s mindset, fabric, gear, or a good luck charm – on a run that you are totally off your game without?