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!
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!