Monday, August 31, 2009

Do as I say, not as I do

Last night, I made a ridiculous number of bad decisions regarding my long run. Here is what I already knew, but learned again:

1. Keep to your schedule. I always, always run in the morning, but yesterday I postponed my run until past 8 p.m. to skip the heat. It really threw my bodyoff that I was pushing myself that late.

2. Think about the course. Have common sense, for example don't run along the Tidal Basin in April. Look for local events that could hinder your course (especially on the National Mall). Basically, think about where you're running. If I did this last night I would have realized that the VA trails would be dark, empty and scary. I turned around last night, and decided to do laps around the Mall since at least its decently lit. I don't have a GPS watch (yet! it'll be here in two days) and so I tried to determine what would make up 16 miles. I was wrong and ended up running 18.

3. Don't drink and run. I had a visitor this weekend, and so had to go out. I had a bad experience Saturday afternoon that I would rather not talk about, and decided to get drunk in order to forget about it. My logic was to get drunk before dinner, and then I'll have the evening to sober up. Not a great decision, and I had the most excruciating hangover Sunday morning.

4. Prepare for the long run. If you have a long run planned, preparing for it should be your priority from about 12 hours beforehand. If you have a morning long run, get plenty of sleep the night before. Have a balanced dinner with a few extra carbs. Go to bed super-hydrated. If its an evening run, spend the day eating balanced meals, the last one about 2 hours before, with a small snack one hour prior to running. Drink water all day.

Yesterday, I was out of my apartment and barely ate or drank anything. I wasn't hydrated, and I only had a big, pre-run snack as opposed to any form of lunch or dinner. I had a cup of lentils, and tried to drink as much water as I could, but it was still too much and I felt like crap most of the run.

5. Don't postpone until the last possible moment. I need to get my long run in on the weekend. If I hadn't postponed until the last opportunity: Sunday night at 8pm. Then if I wasn't up for it I could have rescheduled for the next day. If anything else had gone wrong, I would have ended up skipping my long run completely, which would have been a horrible idea.

Things I did right:
  • I stayed hydrated. I wore my water belt, and had water fountain opportunities to refill them.
  • I brought along a snack. I had a granola bar in my belt, so that when I was starving at 12 miles, I had least had a few bites of pure carbohydrates to keep me going.
  • Recover. I'm taking today off, what with my long run being so late and my body hating me. When I got home, I shoveled in dinner with lots of carbs, stretched, and iced my knees and ankles.
  • I prioritized safety. Sticking to the Mall as opposed to staying on the dark trails was a good call. Its really a rape scene waiting to happen. Of course, the attacker would have to catch me first!
  • I waited until it was cool out to go running, as opposed to going during the hottest part of an August day in DC. It was much easier on my body and last night, there was an actual breeze, which was amazing.
I can't wait until my Garmin Forerunner 305 gets in on Wednesday, I wish I had it last night! Since my long run was tough, I'm taking today off. To make up for it, I plan:

(Ok, I might do a quick 3-miler after work)
Tues: 6 mile tempo run and cross-training
Wed: 4-miles speedwork and a spinning class after work!
Thurs: 10- mile run
Fri: 5- mile speedwork and cross-training
Sat: 0ff
Sun: 18-mile run. And this time, I'll take my own advice.

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