I lived to tell about it, so I thought I'd share the routine--nay, ritual--that I follow when I head out for a long run. Most steps are also followed on a regular (shorter) run during the week as well, but for these 1-2 hour ventures, I don't miss a beat.
I'm using this book as a guide for my training. Along with the hints on healthy eating for runners, picking proper shoes, apparel, gadgets and cross training routines, I am following the "to finish" schedule for half marathon. The big day is 6 weeks away!
I add any new chapters to my current audio book, select a new episode of a podcast, or mix up the songs for speed work playlists (and check the battery on the iPod...a mistake made too many times in the past).
This screen shows what I ran today. ALMOST hit the 11 mile mark..but my knees will agree that I came close enough.
If this is a weekend run, I usually go out in the mornings
to avoid extreme heat.
In these cases, I set the coffee machine to brew just as I'm returning.
This allows me to smell the fresh pot when I walk through the door and pour a mug immediately.
I strap on my nerdy runner's watch and set the timer to match the run/walk interval I'll use for the day. The watch also times the overall run. Shown here is how long I was out today--2 hours.
Athletic shoe store at the bottom of our stairs. One for the gym, one for walking Monkey, and one for running (middle).
This photo pretty much sums me up:
Oh, yea. My orange rag. I know it's gross, but it has been my saving grace on long runs. In the summer, I can wipe away the cups of sweat threatening to run from my forehead into my eyes. It also wicks away giant drops--or buckets--of rain from my eyes (like today) when I get stuck in a storm. The third embarrassing, but true, purpose for the rag (and the reason I started carrying it in the first place, years ago during a Chicago winter run): my runny nose. When you run outside in the cold, your nose will run. Wiping snot away with your hand gets really old, really quickly. I get the microfiber rags people use to dry their cars off and chop them into pieces so that they'll fit into my fist. The material serves my purpose(s) really well. I think people who do hot yoga (should) use these towels as well.
So, I finally set out and start ticking off the miles. Nice and slow. Focusing on the sound and feel of my feet beneath me, take deep gulps of fresh Southern air and enjoy the scenery (shown here are southern live oaks, which the streets and parks are full of--LOVE these trees. You won't find them in Michigan).
As I mentioned before, I got stuck in a tropical downpour of rain at about mile number 8 this morning. It felt so great. The smell of the air changed, it became easier to breathe, and of course the cool water felt great on my hot body. The mud, on the other hand, was not as welcome. This picture doesn't begin to show how dirty my legs were when I got home.
I shower, pour the hot coffee that's patiently waiting for me (pumpkin spice today) and make a breakfast that's not only delicious, but also a great ratio of protein to carbs--great for blood sugar and muscle recovery.
I keep a journal to record training. This includes miles, times, routes, aches and health that affect the workout. I also note when I get new shoes so I can keep track of the miles put on each pair.
Finally it's time to ice the knees. I really should do this every time, but I make SURE to do it after long runs like this one. Stretching is another part that needs more attention. I DO stretch, but my next goal is to insert a specific stretch routine that concludes the steps above. This way I can't short change myself.
The happy, satisfied feeling I have after all of this is what keeps me sane. It keeps me heathy. I'm adding days to my life each time I go out. Running serves so many purposes. I love running!!!
I'm off to make a huge dinner, followed by a new bottle of Malbec from Argentina and maybe some cherry ice cream...because I can.