Prepping for a Long Run when You’re a Nervous Nelly Like Me

First off, I have been a bad, bad blogger. I’ve been busy and honestly haven’t had a lot to say. But here I am and today I’m going to talk about some changes to my goals and my prep for a long run.

Shifting Goals:

You may recall that I had planned to run the Pengelly Double Dip this year. I’ve changed my mind and am putting it off until next year. My concern is that it is timed poorly for me with respect to the long runs scheduled for my class, and I would feel like a very bad Pace Group Leader if I injured myself out of the class at this point. I still do want to do the race very much, and hope that next year will be the right year for me.

Instead, I’ve decided to try to run the Blue Mountain 30K. It’s in October, so it will give me something to work toward after the Marathon, and it seems like quite the challenging race. It is a very limited race, though, so hopefully I manage to get a spot.

I’ve also decided to train up to 30 miles instead of just 26.2 this year. Jeff Galloway recommends training up to 29 miles for a speed boost, and since I really dislike speed training but feel really good about distance, I decided to give it a try. At some point I realized that I’d better just plan to go 30, because the truth is that I like round numbers as milestones.

Prepping for a Long Run:

Our Galloway class has a 20 miler scheduled tomorrow, and I plan to do 24, to stay on track with my training goal. I really am a bit of a Concerned Constance when it comes to these long runs. I tend to overpack my nutrition belt. I fret about what to wear, what to bring and so forth. I bet there are others out there like me, so I thought it might be fun to talk about.

For about 5 to 7 days before a long run I pay special attention to my diet and hydration. I make sure I drink plenty of water and limit my coffee and alcohol intake.  For about 4 or 5 days beforehand I also drink a bit of coconut water each day (I really don’t like sports drinks). Since I have a wheat sensitivity I take extra care with what I eat for the week before any run over about 15 miles. An accidental exposure to wheat would make a long run really miserable and potentially embarrassing.

This is my basket of goodies. What shall I take?!?

This is my basket of goodies. What shall I take?!?

Sometime during the week before the long run I take stock of my nutrition supplies and make a stop at Runner’s Edge to buy more. I nearly always end up with way more than I could possibly need, but I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday before a Sunday long run I make sure to eat plenty of fiber. Lots of vegetables, salad, fruit and so forth. Dinner on Friday is when I start to dial back on the fiber, but usually it’s pretty balanced. Saturday, however, is a low fiber day. Different people have different strategies to keep from having to make urgent bathroom stops during a long run. Restricting my fiber the day before seems to work well for me, so that’s what I do.

The day before the long run I also trim my toenails. I cut them as short as I reasonably can to keep them from rubbing in my shoe. My toenails have never actually bothered me during a run, but I’ve had some terribly sore toes after a long run when I forgot to trim them.

And as I’m sure everybody does, I check the weather forecast and decide on what to wear, based partly on how hot it is supposed to get. I might try running in a singlet tomorrow, which would make it the first time I’d run long without sleeves. Last spring was cold and wet so I never actually went for a long run in a singlet. This year is shaping up to be a hot one, so now is the time to try, though I worry about chafe. I’ve got a tiny tub of Body Glide as well as other chafe prevention I can bring along, so I should manage just fine.

I usually remember to charge up my watch. Today I also changed the battery in my run/walk timer since I couldn’t recall when I last changed it.

My Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13s. Aren't they pretty?!?

My Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13s. Aren’t they pretty?!?

For this particular run I’m also worried about my shoes. I’ve got a new pair of Brooks Adrenalines that I bought on 4/19 and have worn for all of my runs since then. So far, the shoes feel great and I’m very happy with them, but all the runs they’ve gone on have been short runs. It should be fine to run in them tomorrow. They’ve gone about 25 miles so I should know by now if I was going to have trouble. But, as I mentioned I am an Anxious Annie. So I made arrangements for a friend to hang on to my second choice pair of shoes in case I have a shoe-mergency during the run and need him to bring them to me. I think that is mostly just a mental security blanket, really.

The morning of the long run, I eat a filling breakfast. Not everybody does this, but I really dislike the feeling of being hungry during a run. It distracts me and makes me grumpy. For tomorrow I’m planning on a hard boiled egg, a small slice of gluten free bread with peanut butter and a little bit of yogurt with blue berries. I’ll eat as early as I can manage to, to give my body time to digest a bit before the run. I’ve had good luck with this method and it’s never caused me stomach upset. I will also be drinking a cup of green tea. Staying away from coffee is another way to prevent urgent bathroom stops or embarrassing accidents. I love coffee, but not the morning of a long run.

Look at all that! The tub on the right is a maybe.

Look at all that! The tub on the right is a maybe.

In addition to my usual water and nutrition I will have along some Body Glide, my phone, blister tape, sun screen, lip balm, and if there’s room I might bring a little tub that has a mix of bug repellent and a creamy chafe protector in it.

I really am a Trepidatious Tanya, and I think you can probably tell. On the positive side, though, I will be prepared for just about anything.

The Missoula Marathon is in 63 days and some hours. We only have a few long training runs left. Can I make it to 30 miles? Check back after our last long run on June 23rd to find out!

Blogs I Read

I know there are a ton of running blogs out there, but I thought I’d tell you about a few of those that I read and enjoy.

The Accidental Athlete is a grad student who runs and writes about her training.  She started running for many of the same reasons the rest of us do and found herself going farther than she ever imagined she would. I really relate to that and love reading about the things she’s learning and achieving as she goes.

Running Sunflower is a great writer and inspiring runner. She runs a lot of races, including marathons and always makes it sound like fun.

SisterSoleBlog is unique in two ways. First, it’s about BigSisterSole and LittleSisterSole who live in different states but encourage each other, train together (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively) and have adventures.  Second, LittleSisterSole is one of my pace group buddies from my Galloway marathon class. She’s super fun to run with, especially if you’re feeling low. She can cheer you up and take your mind off whatever is bugging you like nobody’s business.

The T-Rex Runner is a favorite blog of many runners I know. She’s a Marathon Maniac who travels all over, runs marathons and writes some of the BEST race reports I’ve read. She’s snarky and funny, which I really enjoy, but you can always tell she loves running, even when she’s having a tough time. Check out her recent posts about running two marathons in two days.

Slow is the New Fast is a recent addition to my blog reader, but it’s an idea that’s close to my heart. She has a great attitude and clearly loves what she’s doing. Right now she’s training for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. She’ll be running a half marathon on Saturday and then a full on Sunday. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Finally, the last blog in my list for today is Ultrun’s Blog. When Ultrun followed me I went to check out his blog and I will admit I felt absolutely unworthy. In the notification I got about being followed, wordpress included the suggestion that I check out his (then) recent post about the Ring of Fire – 3 Day, 131 Mile race. It’s a rather long post but absolutely worth reading. As with some of the others in my list, Ultrun’s love of running comes through in his words even when he’s writing about a race where he had a rough time. To be honest, reading about the Ring of Fire made me realize that if I want to, I can run a heck of a lot farther than a marathon. I just have to find the right races for me, and then train for them and I can do anything.

I hope you’ll find some of these blogs interesting. They’re not the only running blogs I read, but if I tried to include all of them I’d never get this post finished. I’ll have to do another roundup sometime soon.

Happy running!

14 Hot & Hard Miles

Boy the heat sure does make a difference. Today started out warm and just got warmer and that heat made it a bit harder for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m so glad I had such a great group of people to run with today, because they kept me going and kept my spirits up. If I had tried to run alone today, I think I would have had a miserable time.

The good news is, my feet didn’t swell during the run and haven’t swollen much yet either.  I wore my calf-compression sleeves and put them back on after a quick shower, in the hopes that they’ll help keep my feet from puffing up like they did after the 26 miler.

This is only the second double digit run that we’ve had in heat. Our 23 miler started cool, but got pretty warm by the end. I have to say, I really love people who leave their sprinklers out to water their lawns on days like this. In the past, I was always a bit irritated to see the waste of water that comes with watering on hot days, but I’ve officially changed my stance on that. Now, I get as excited as a giddy 5 year old when I see a sprinkler that I can run through. So thank you to all those folks who leave their sprinklers out on our running routes. You’re the best!

The other change I made today was to go straight to a local coffee & tea shop and get myself a chocolate creamsicle milkshake after our run. Many people swear by chocolate milk and/or chocolate milkshakes, and I’ve seen some suggestions lately that it’s best to get that first dose of protein and carbs in within 10 minutes of finishing your run. It’s supposed to promote muscle refueling, and since the Marathon is in 13 days and 15 hours, I thought now might be a good time to give it a try.

Finally, for a while now I’ve been meaning to link to a blog being written by one of my pace group members. Little Sister Sole at SisterSoleBlog is a really great person to run with and I always enjoy reading her blog. She’s very upbeat and very encouraging and I missed her on today’s run, since she is out of town. Please check out her blog.

No more long or medium runs before the big one. I’m as ready as I can be now!

And She Just Keeps Getting Faster

A few nights ago I had a dream about running today’s Magic Mile.  I don’t recall most of it, but I do know that I was irritated with someone in my dream who was trying to encourage me to try to run my mile in under 9 minutes.  I told that person, “There’s no way I can break nine minutes, so just shut up about it.”

I really didn’t expect to have a very good Magic Mile today.  Due to various factors, I didn’t sleep all that well last night.  Also, during the first part of my mile, I had to stop and pickup my shirt that had fallen off (it was my over-shirt that had been tied around my waist, so that’s not as interesting as it sounds).  As I reached the half mile marker on my run this morning, I checked my timer and it was already over 5 minutes, so I felt sure I was going to run my mile between the 10:03 pace of my first mile and the 9:28 pace of my second MM.

As I took my final walk break, I glanced at my timer again and was so surprised by what I saw, that I don’t actually remember what it said, but it was no where near what I expected.  At that point, I took off.  I got a bit of a mental boost from seeing that I was faster than anticipated, and as I crossed the finish line and stopped my timer, I was absolutely astonished to see that I’d come in at 8:55.  I asked another runner to verify that I was actually reading my timer correctly.  I honestly did not expect that kind of time improvement again.

We have two more Magic Miles scheduled, and the directions at the Galloway site suggest taking your 4 most recent MM’s, throwing out the worst and averaging the other 3.  So it’s still too soon to make Galloway’s most accurate prediction for my marathon time and pace.  This MM alone puts me on pace for a 5 hour and 3 minute marathon, which I feel great about.  If I could break 5 hours, that would be pretty darned exciting for me.

After my run today, I joined many other runners from my class and the “traditional” class in the meeting space The Runner’s Edge lets us use.  There were snacks and holiday gift bags with gels & fizzes in them.  I also took the time to use the foam roller on my  IT Band and have decided that I will be buying my own foam roller asap.  It hurt like the dickens, but it relaxed my IT Band right up.

The marathon is 90 days away now.  Our next long run is 17.5 miles, a week from today.  I’m already looking forward to it.  It may kick my butt like the 15 miler did, but I’m okay with that.  Every time we add miles, we push our “wall” out that much farther.  For now, I’m happy with pushing it out to 26.2 in time for the marathon.


Quick Link Post!

While browsing yesterday I came across this spotlight post about Butte’s running club, Butte’s Piss and Moan Runners.

Having lived in Butte previously, as well as having visited a lot, I was struck by this running club and wanted to share it with anyone who might have the opportunity to visit Butte and run in any of their events.  I find the Whiner’s Award to be particularly amusing.  Butte’s Piss and Moan Runners sound like my kind of folks.

And just a reminder, if you are a runner in Montana and you blog, you can add your blog to’s blog list, by following the link at the top right of the Blog Directory page, and I hope that you will.

This coming Sunday is my 15 mile training run!  I’m excited!