How to Prepare for a Long Run Tips & Gear

Preparing for a long run, for me, is different than preparing for speed work or a tempo run. With any run 6 miles or more, I have to put some serious thought and consideration into preparation when you figure out how to prepare for a long run.

The times I haven’t, the experience has been less than ideal. Chafing. Dehydration. Runny Nose. These issues can make an hour and a half run suddenly feel like torture.

How to Prepare for a Long Run

How to Prepare for a Long Run

About Long Runs

As I prepared for a 7-miler run in the past, which was a long run, and for an upcoming 6-miler the weekend after, it made me realize how many areas I usually focus on and think about before setting foot on the pavement. So without further adieu, here are my long run preparation tips.

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Long Run Preparation

• Begin hydrating the night before, or better, 24-hours before the run

Fuel up with a hearty dinner the night before

• Check the weather and dress properly (I like Runner’s World What to Wear best)

• Charge GPS Watch and/or map a route online beforehand (or bring a running watch)

• Eat before the run, but not too much, and not too little (this can get tricky)

• Determine if a hand held water bottle or hydration belt is needed on the run

• Bring along fuel if needed

• Pick out the proper shoes (My Pearl Izumis cause blisters at mile 3, but the Asics are golden for long runs.)

• Assess situation for potential chafing, apply BodyGlide as necessary

• Keep in mind a post-run recovery plan including post-run fueling, hydration, stretching, etc.

• Consider any other necessities, such as bringing tissues, car keys and a positive outlook.

Preparing for a Long Run

Breaking Up Longer Runs

During one long run I asked my running partner I asked if we could take two short walk breaks. Then I realized I should ask, do you break up your long run? I was beginning to get that overheated feeling. We walked about 50 feet each time, and still managed to keep a great pace overall.

I brought my handheld water bottle which was a lifesaver. I think next time I tackle a long run I might break it up and run a few miles, take a break, and then finish.

How to Finish Your Long Run

Run, jog, walk, crawl. Just make sure you get the mileage in.  In the past I have fallen short on my long runs. Giving up. Exhausted. Can’t go anymore. Well enough of that. If you have to, just walk, OK? It’s still time and miles on your feet. It counts. Here’s how to finish your long run.

In the past I would would have said “My legs are tired.” This year I said “Make sure you get the mileage in.” I’m glad I did. That’s how to finish your long run. Finishing your long run can be challenging but not impossible.

Long Distance Run

How to Prepare for a Long Run

In Summary

It’s important to prepare for your long run. There is a saying though about never regretting a run, or workout for that matter, you will feel better for doing something rather than nothing – I promise.

I hope these tips on finishing your long run are helpful next time you are out on the pavement or on the trails. I hope this post inspired you.

What routines or tips do you use to prepare for a long run?

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6 thoughts on “How to Prepare for a Long Run Tips & Gear”

  1. I have my first 6 mile relay on Sunday. Thanks for the tips. I am mostly concerned about what to eat beforehand. I was told maybe an egg and toast were best but no dairy!

  2. I make sure i get up in time to eat a good pre-run breakfast. But before I do that, I always take an Imodium. Sounds so crazy, but if its a really long one, it helps me avoid crapping and other running unmentionables. Make sure you get good sleep, drink plenty of water, and like you said, take a positive outlook!

  3. I haven’t done a long run in a while, but my golden tip was go to the bathroom beforehand! Kind of a “duh” idea, but there have been several instances where I was all…screw this, I have to pee…but no place to stop!

    • Oh yes! I get especially paranoid about restroom breaks. Of course drinking all that water to hydrate exasperates the problem!

  4. Drinking water the day before is key. I notice a huge difference if I drink water the night before or not. Or if I go out drinking the night before. I think a lot about my long run and get myself pumped up. I plan a fun route that passes my favorite places. Or I pass places twice so 2 hours later people can go “that girl is still running, crazy”.


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