Saturday, August 31, 2013

Preparing for an LSD Run

No, I'm not talking about running on acid.

In the running world, LSD stands for long, slow distance. When training for a race, it's good to work one of these runs in every week, ideally on a day when you have lots of time on your hands! The goal of these run isn't the time, it's the distance. You're ultimately just trying to achieve a certain distance (that is usually obscenely longer than what you usually run) with little to no stops, no matter how long it takes. When I go out on LSDs, I'm usually just shuffling my feet by the end of it, looking like an old lady. But I reach my goal distance one way or another!

How I feel during LSDs

These runs are supposed to introduce your body to the amount of stress it will feel during a longer distance race. You need to get used to being on your feet for a few hours at a time, your muscles need to feel the impact of your feet pounding the pavement repeatedly, and your brain needs to practice fighting through the physical anguish that you're putting yourself through which will ultimately push you across the finish line. Sounds appealing doesn't it?

Your LSD should be your dress rehearsal for your actual race, and you should prepare accordingly. Hydrate the entire week leading up to it. Load up on (good) calories and nutrients the night before and morning-of. Warm up and stretch your muscles the way you would the day of a race. And make sure you pack all of the supplies you need while out on your run. Here's what I usually bring with me.

1. Cell phone

Since an LSD isn't an organized race, there aren't always going to be medical personnel near by to come to your rescue if anything were to happen. If there's an emergency, if you feel like you physically can't go any further and you need someone to pick you up, or if someone needs to contact you while you're gone for a couple hours, you'll be thankful you brought it with you!

2. Identification/Insurance Card/Blood Donor Card/Emergency Contact Info

I like to carry all of these things with me if for whatever reason I get hurt and become unconscious. Since I'm normally running solo, there won't be anyone to identify me to anyone else who might find me. This way, they know my name and address, have a number to call one of my loved ones, and can relay some medical information to any medical personnel that arrive on the scene. If you don't want to carry all of these things with you, definitely consider buying a RoadID and wearing it while you run!

3. Camelback

I don't like carrying water bottles, so I strap on a Camelback when I go out on long runs. Makes for great, hands-free running!

4. Running Belt

I usually wear long spandex when I go out on LSDs, so that means zero pockets. Instead of having to carry everything in my hands for 3 hours, I just strap on one of these handy running belts! They look pretty nerdy but its better than juggling 13 things.

5. Nutrients of Some Sort

I'm not big on gels or goos or what have you, but I do think it's important to bring some sort of nutrients with you on big runs. After sweating for such a long time, your body will be screaming for some sugar or salt towards the tail end of a big run and ust water will not do the trick. Pack a granola bar or banana or plan your run where you can stop at a store and buy something to eat. You'll definitely feel the difference!

6. Podcasts, Audio Books, and Playlists - oh my!

LSDs can be excruciatingly boring - especially if you're going it alone. I love my music, but there's only so much of the same 100 songs that I have loaded onto my running playlist. I like to load up my iPod with podcasts and audio books as well, so A.) I'm learning something new and B.) It's kind of like there's someone chatting with me along the way! Definitely try downloading a few of those or have someone else make you a playlist of their music so you're hearing something totally new during each run!

7. Suncreen, Hat, and Sunglasses

Since you'll be outside for a particularly long period of time, make sure you're preparing for it - especially in the summer! The sun can take a lot out of you, and cause scary things like severe sunburn, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, migraines, and more. Protect yourself!

I hope these tips will be helpful for your next LSD run! 
I'm off on an 18 miler myself... Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Training Update: Lazy Long Distance

With a little under 7 weeks to go until Hartford, I've been swinging between long distances and complete laziness. Marathon training has been tough and has definitely brought out the whiney couch potato in me.

"But I don't WANNA go running!" -Me. Almost every day. Also I think I heard a two year old saying something similar just the other day...

I'd like to sound noble and awesome and tell you that I've gone out on every single run my schedule has told me to do, but then I'd be lying (and that's the opposite of noble and awesome). The truth is that I usually skip at least one scheduled run every week. Sometimes my body is just not up for it, so I make up excuses in my mind and I can't get myself out the door.

I am, however, going on my long runs. Like, high-teen mileage status. Because I'm slacking on my mid-distance days, they're probably a lot more difficult than they should be, but they're getting done, none the less. I am still pretty apprehensive about this whole 26.2 business. So far I've only made it up to 17, and 18 is in the cards for me this Saturday. Those are long distances, and I'd still have an additional 8 or 9 miles to go on top of that come race day. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I guess I've just got to trust my body and brain to push me across the finish line.

(Here's my vlog from my 17-miler. I seem cheery mid-run, but the next day update makes it clear I was struggling!)

With these critical last 6 and a half weeks of my training colliding with the busiest possible time of year for me professionally, it's definitely going to be a challenge to get my booty out the door when all I want to do is hide under my blankets watching Netflix during my down time. But these 6 weeks are going to go by in a blink, so I'll be strapping the Nikes on and pounding the pavement and looking forward to October 13th when I can be lazy and not feel guilty! :P

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Runner's Envy

The other day while eating lunch, one of my co-workers said that she has "runner's envy". I've never heard of this term before, and as I set out every day on my painful multi-mile runs, I couldn't imagine anyone being envious of me. But once I thought about it, it occurred to me that runner's envy is pretty common. Even I have a mild dose!

Runner's Envy is what it sounds like - when you're envious of runners. Even if you're a runner yourself, you can have Runner's Envy (and personally, I think it's more common if you run on a regular basis!) You may see another runner that's faster than you. Another runner that's clearly in better shape than you. Another runner that's running further than you. Another runner that has nicer gear than you. It could be any single attribute that another runner possesses that you don't, and it can totally throw off your confidence.

A few weeks ago while I was out on my run, I came across another female runner who was a lot faster than me. She was on the opposite sidewalk from me, but going in the same direction. I saw her come up out of the corner of my eye and blast right by me like it wasn't a big deal. Even though I had no idea who this girl was or what kind of runner she was, I was jealous and began to doubt myself.

What if I'm not good enough? 
What if I won't be able to accomplish my running goals? 
Maybe I should just quit while I'm ahead.

But then I realized - I don't know who this girl is or what kind of runner she is. How she trains has no effect on how I train. Maybe she's faster than me, but can she run long distances like I can? Is she training for a marathon like I am? Is running her main fitness focus like it is mine? I'll probably never know, and once I realized that, I felt liberated and could easily focus on my own run and training.

Every runner is different. Every runner has their strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to stay focused on yourself and what you need to do in order to accomplish your goals.