I noticed a few weeks ago that I seem to have fallen into a routine when it comes to my long runs, by which I mean my longest run of the week for my training plan. For my current half marathon training plan, I run my longest run on Saturday morning, not crack of dawn morning but not afternoon either.
This summer I’ve had the plan to just wake up whenever that happens to be and get ready to run. That being said, I typically wake up fairly early on my own, usually around 6:30 or 7, especially when my body knows I have a long run that day. Where I live in North Carolina, it’s extremely humid early in the morning until the sun basically burns down the humidity after a few hours. Surely there’s a more technical way of putting it, but that’s how it seems to me. Anyway, you have the choice of either running through air so humid you can feel the moisture in the air or waiting until the humidity drops a little and the sun is beating down on you. I usually try to aim for the time where the humidity is dropping a bit but the sun isn’t quite blazing hot yet. It’s not exactly ideal, but it’s the best I’ve got for the summer. Why I chose to run a half marathon in August is another story.
So back to my routine. On Friday evening, I’ll lay out my clothes for the next morning: my Zensah sports bra, my Arctic Cool shirt, my Under Armour shorts, my Zensah True Grit socks, my Garmin watch, either my nuun or Honey Stinger visor, and my Asics shoes. With the exception of my current Asics shoes, every single item of clothing is my current absolute favorites and I love, love, love them all. Why not my Asics shoes? They’re fine and all but I just don’t love them. I’m currently trying out a pair of Adidas Boost shoes but they haven’t made it up to the status of my long run shoes yet.
The importance of all of these items is they’re what I’ll wear for my upcoming half marathon. I feel like wearing all of these clothes for many long runs should help me be fully ready before my race. There will be no surprises from my sports bra, for instance, since I know exactly how it performs on runs of 12 to 14 miles. I don’t think this is the main reason I’ve fallen into this routine, though. I think it’s more for the mental preparedness before a race. By knowing exactly what I’ll wear, I won’t even have to think about it when I pack and the night before the race, I’ll lay out my clothes just like I did before my other long runs.
When I wake up, I eat a Honey Stinger Cracker N’ Nut Butter Snack bar and drink some water. I love the Almond butter and dark chocolate bars. If you haven’t tried them, you can buy them directly from Honey Stinger here. I’ve found they’re not commonly found at sporting goods stores and local running stores (I’ve told one running store near me they really should get some in stock), so unfortunately you couldn’t try just one bar but would have to buy a whole box from Honey Stinger. Trust me on this, though, if you like chocolate and peanut butter you’ll love these. I don’t have a discount code I can share at this time, unfortunately.
I make up my nuun performance and put it in my Nathan water bottles, put my phone in my arm band, pop in my earbuds, tie my shoes, and am out the door! I do a few simple dynamic stretches, walk for a minute or so before I begin a light jog, then work up to a run. For this half marathon training plan, my long runs begin at 6 miles and go up to 13-14 miles at the peak. Often, the long runs will state a range, like 8-9 or 9-10 miles. I always go by how I’m feeling and if I’m up for the extra mile, I’ll run it, otherwise I’ll keep it at the lower end.
I’ve also noticed that I’ve fallen into a post-run routine this past month or so. As soon as I get home from my long run, I take off my arm band with my phone, put away my ear buds (love my Soundcore Spirit X Sports Earphones by Anker), get some ice-cold water, and get something to eat with protein and carbs. I sit on the rug in the family room while I eat and drink. By this point I’ve probably already changed out of my sweaty clothes and into a tank top and shorts (yep, no shower yet). After I eat, I’ll stretch and foam roll, then shower and get on with my day. If I’m staying home for the next several hours I’ll put on my Zensah recovery tights, or if I’m going out during the day but will be home that evening, I’ll put on the tights once I know I’ll be home for the rest of the day.
I feel like this routine has worked well for me. I’m sure I won’t always have this routine, though. It’s not like I’ve been doing this routine for years and I’m sure things will change a bit once the temperature drops outside (finally) and I’m doing my long runs this fall. For now, though, I like it and I’m sticking to it!
Do you all have long run routines? Anything you insist on wearing for every one of your longest runs for the week? Anything you do every time before or after you run? Anyone think I’m completely crazy for my routines?
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