top of page
  • Writer's pictureKeira Waddell

How To Prepare For A Long Run

Although I’ve been running for years, it’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve realised that I’ve been doing many things so wrong.

I thought that I was maybe just not a very good runner, and I was okay with that. I continued running even though I was making little progress and getting injured regularly. I knew it was good for me to run so I just keep doing it anyway.

But over the last year, when running has been pretty much the only exercise I could do, due to the lack of space in my tiny, one-bed flat, I’ve become determined to become a better runner, and I think I’ve perfected my pre-run preparation. So, here are a few things I’ve discovered and my top tips for any runner:

1. Proper nutrition.

Think about what you’re eating a few days before your long run, not just the morning of, or the night before. Carbs are your friends! Get in plenty of rice, pasta or oatmeal to your diet (personally, I don’t have to be told twice to eat my carbs — pasta, bread? Pass them here please). I’ve always had a very sensitive stomach, and to be honest, I had just come to accept this rather than trying to find the root of the problem. Eating too much fibre before your runs will make for a very uncomfortable run, so avoid eating too many leafy greens and veggies (if you must, a smoothie is a better option!)

2. Timing your meals is key.

Just as important as what you eat, when you eat it plays a vital part in your running prep. Avoid eating large meals too close to your run. Our bodies aren’t able to digest food properly while we run and there’s nothing worse than food sloshing around in your stomach, getting a stitch or GI distress while you’re out. Try to eat large meals three hours before you leave, and only a small snack around an hour before your run. If you’re running for less than an hour, you probably won’t need to eat anything before your run, but this is of course a personal choice.

3. Plan your mid-run nutrition.

If you’re running for longer than an hour, you may need some fuel to get you through. What you eat during a run is a very personal choice and will likely take some trial and error to find your perfect running snack. Some people enjoy taking gels and having one every hour or every half an hour. I find gels rather, so I opt for a couple of Jelly Beans. Yep, Jelly Beans — they give me the perfect amount of energy I need to keep going without causing any kind of distress. I recommend trying out different foods (on shorter, local runs though, in case you need to make an emergency return home).

4. Go to the bathroom.

Well, that brings me on to my next tip. It may seem obvious, but I must stress this. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you head out for your run. Also, make sure that you don’t eat or drink thirty minutes before you head out. If you find that you need the bathroom regularly while you’re out for a long run, try to plan a route that can incorporate a couple of bathroom stops. As an emergency option, every runner should carry some toilet paper or wet wipes. You just never know…. better to be safe than sorry.

5. Get your running gear ready the night before your run.

There’s nothing worse than finally feeling ready to get out for your run and not being able to find your favourite shorts or socks. Having everything ready to go from waking up will help your mind prepare for a run, even if you’re not running first thing, this is a great habit to get into! This includes all your running tech — make sure your earphones and watch and are charged up as well! Don’t let anything slow you down on your running day.

6. Warm-up correctly.

I was shocked when I learned that static stretching was NOT the way to warm up for a run. I had been doing this for years! This article in Running World states:

“Research indicates that static stretching is not the best for a runner. In fact, one study found that static stretching before a run led to slower starts and a greater perceived effort. Other studies show that even the simple sit-and-reach stretch can decrease your ability to stride naturally

I find that a 10-minute walk is a perfect warm-up for me. Dynamic stretching is also a good way to warm up before a run, it differs from static stretching as you don’t hold the stretches for a long time, but just flow through the poses, keeping your body moving. Since I’ve changed my warm-up, I’ve found I have a better range of motion and don’t feel as stiff when I set off.

I’d like to note that it’s important that you keep in mind that every single runner is different. What works for some people may not work for you. Don’t get too caught up in trying to emulate what other runners do if it’s not working for you. Keep trying out different routines and practices in your running until you find your perfect routine!

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

If you’re a cardio-junkie like me and only enjoy high impact workouts, yoga may not sound very appealing to you; it certainly took me a while to come around to it. While yoga seems like the opposite o

So many people tell me how they’ve written off running completely after their first try (or even before). To be honest, I understand why. I remember my first few runs… gasping for air after the first

bottom of page