When the training plan hits the calendar, you may take note of the weekend when the longest training run appears. For months prior, you work up to the mileage of that longest run, preparing your legs for the journey ahead. And when that longest training run finally appears, a few thoughts may go through your head. Let’s take a look!
1. “Twenty miles is a long way.”
Whatever your longest run for your training cycle will be, there is no doubt it may seem a little daunting. An easy way to help with the distance is to find a new route. This offers new scenery, different elevations, and can help make those miles go by a little faster. It doesn’t have to be brand new, just a place that you haven’t run in a while.
2. “There’s my groove! Hitting my goal will happen after all!”
During your longest training run, there is a section where everything seems to be clicking. It may be toward the beginning (which is more likely) or it may even be at the end when you know the run is almost over. Capture what is working! Did you fuel really well? Are you wearing something, like a visor or compression socks, that is really helping? Is your posture on point? Take a quick overview of your running and determine what may be contributing to the feeling of success.
3. “I sure hope the weather cooperates on race day.”
We all hope for those perfect weather conditions come race day. Since we cannot control the weather, no matter how hard we try, prepare for anything. The weather may not be ideal during some of your training runs, so take the opportunity to run in a variety of conditions. A strong wind, rain and heat may be a possibility on race day, so be prepared!
4. “Wait – I have to run 6.2 more miles on race day?”
There comes a point during the longest training run when you realize you have to run miles beyond the amount you just ran. While many say adrenaline can pull you through, it’s also important to have your mental game on point. Work on some powerful mantras to chant, create a playlist that will include songs to keep your legs moving and even make sure spectators are at key places on the course. A strong mental game can make a huge difference.
5. “I cannot wait to run shorter distances again.”
There comes a point during the longest run where you may become tired of spending hours upon hours on the road. Pay close attention to the race distances you add to the calendar each year, because there are times where you just need a break. Even the elite athletes only put one or two marathons on their calendars each year, so it is absolutely fine to focus on shorter distances as well! It may even be time to hang up the racing shoes and just plain run for fun.
6. “I just ran 20 miles – I am a rockstar!”
Let’s be honest, when you finish that longest training run, you feel pretty awesome. Maybe it wasn’t the pace you wanted. Maybe your fueling strategy wasn’t great. No matter what, you just conquered a huge milestone. And even better, it means it’s time to taper and really focus on the race ahead!