How do I prep for a long run during marathon training?

Since I’ve taken you through what a rest day looks like during marathon training, I thought I’d take you through how I prep for for my hardest day: long run Sunday. I ran an awesome 19 miles this Sunday (see my recap for week 10 of Eau Claire Marathon training) and here’s how that day went. Keep an eye out later this week for how I recover from my long run.

I debated when to set my alarm for that morning since we were changing the clocks forward an hour but I also needed enough time to get everything done. I ended up setting the alarm for 6 a.m. (5 a.m. before changing the clock) and that gave me two hours to get everything done before I wanted to head out.

One thing that helps me out a lot is getting my clothes and fuel ready the night before. I lay my workout clothes out to dry in the spare bedroom and they usually stay there all week long so it’s easy to grab them from there. But since I wanted to wear shorts (because the forecast was in the mid-30s with no wind and I knew I’d get too warm in tights), I had to grab those out of the bedroom the night before. So I set out my shorts, preferred long run socks (a pair of Fitsocks that I got at the Twin Cities Marathon), my Twin Cities Marathon shirt and headband before heading to bed.

Gu Energy Lab and Nuun in a Nathan Hydration Bottle for 19 mile long run during marathon training

I also got my GUs ready to grab and go. This was another debate I had, how many GUs and when to take them. I ended up deciding on four to take every four miles, with sips of Nuun every two. This really helps me break down by run because I’m breaking it down to two and four mile chunks. That makes 19 miles go by so quickly (even though it was almost 3 and a half hours of running). I don’t get my Nuun started the night before since we have a 20 minutes drive to the river and another 22 minutes after that before I take my first sip. So it has plenty of time to dissolve.

Mike and I had a plan figured out for long run day, so he knew where I was running and where/when to pick me up. I don’t like driving home after running 15+ miles just because I’m slightly out of it so Mike drops me off and picks me up. It helps him to know where I’ll be in general, in addition to tracking me via the RoadID app, just in case something happens. For this long run, I made it easier by running a loop so that Mike could pick me up and drop me off at the same spot.  

The final thing I got ready the night before was parts of my breakfast, coffee and shredded carrots. I knew I wanted carrot cake oatmeal and fresh ground coffee in the morning, but I didn’t want to be making a ton of noise shredding carrots or grinding beans. The neighbors in our building would have hated me. So I got those done while cooking dinner Saturday night so they were all set for me Sunday morning.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal and Coffee Pre-Long Run

I didn’t feel too bad waking up with my alarm Sunday morning but I’m pretty used to waking up at 4:30 a.m. for work. Vinnie got up with me and I got in my five minutes of meditation (which I’ve been shooting for 10 on the weekends but it wasn’t going to happen) before taking him out. Then I made my oatmeal and French Press coffee while drinking some water. I was keeping an eye on the clock (Mike was getting up at 7:30 and our plan was to leave the house at 8) but didn’t feel rushed like I thought I might be. I even got a chance to watch a little bit of TV while I finished drinking my coffee.

Calm meditation app

Vinnie and I got out on a walk after I ate so that we could both stretch our legs and I got dressed to run by the time we got home. Mike got up just as I finished getting ready in the bathroom so he was able to get in there while I got my smoothie and Nuun ready. Mike would bring my smoothie along when he picked me up but I like it all ready so he just has to remember to grab it. I even managed to get in some pre-run foam rolling in because I was feeling a little bit sore in my shoulders.

I did one last check of everything, making sure I had my GUs, headphones, Flipbelt and phone, before we kenneled up and headed down to the river.

How do you get ready for a long run? Do you have any favorite rituals? Let me know in the comments!