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Long Run Preparation

Preparing for the long run is more than training for one day. It starts with the whole week. 

Weekend only runners don't do well as the runs progress in distance.  If your schedule gets the way of your training, try to have two longer midweek runs.  Remember, if you miss a day, do not add the mileage to another run.  That day is gone forever. You need an easy day before the run.  That means either a day off or a shorter run day.  If you don't feel like doing the runs during the week, that may indicate went too fast or too far the weekend before.

Food and hydration are important aspects of the long run.  Eat a high carbohydrate meal the evening before. Watch the consumption of alcoholic beverages as they tend to dehydrate.  If you have a glass of beer or wine, plan to drink 1 - 2 glasses for each one consumed.

Plan to awaken 2 hours before the start time and eat breakfast.  Toast, bagel, cereal, yogurt, banana, juice and water make a light meal.  If you drink coffee, continue to do so.  The coffee or food stimulates the intestine and helps rid the body of the previous day's food.   Drink at least one glass of water at home and take a full water (one litre) bottle with you.  Drink that water 30 minutes after your run.  Take some extra clothing along as well if you are driving a ways from home.  The weather may be change. Being over or under dressed can make the run miserable.

If you are going to be running longer than an hour and aid stations are not on your route, bring a water bottle along on the run or plan your run where you have access to water. You need 6 -8 oz. of water for every 15 - 20 minutes of exercise.  Dehydration leads to poor performance, discomfort, and soreness that may linger for days.  As the long runs progress to 2+ hours in length, it is important to consume carbohydrates to keep the glycogen stores replenished.    Take in 100 -200 calories of carbohydrate per hour.  You need to train your body to store and then use this energy. You can use sports drinks, sports bars or gels or some simple sugars such as jelly beans and gummi bears.  Remember that bars and gels require water to get them into the proper concentration to be absorbed.  Half a bar or half a gel pack requires 8 - 12 ounces of water to be absorbable.  Sports drinks were developed to be at the proper concentration.  They encourage fluid consumption from the addition of flavor and some salts.


Studies show that pre exercise stretching does not prevent injury and may, in fact cause injury, due to improper techniques.  If you want to loosen upbefore your run, warm up by some walking or light jogging.  Then perform a little light stretching.  The best time to stretch is after a run when the muscles are warm and loose.  You can also go home, take a warm shower and then do a complete stretching program.

When you are finished with the long run you should feel pleasantly tired and feel like you could do it again tomorrow.   If you are feelexhausted and are not hungry for several hours, this may be telling you that you were working too hard.

Your muscles are most receptive to refilling their glycogen stores in the first 2 hours after the run.  This is the time you need to eat. As mentioned,you need to train your muscles to store glycogen as well as to utlilze it slowly. Have some sports drink and sports bars in your pack so you can start refueling immediately.  The glycogen goes into the muscles better if it's consumed with some protein.  Stop for the bagel with the low fat cream cheese or peanut butter.  Have the turkey sandwich with the lettuce and tomatoes or the pancakes with scrambled eggs.  All those thoughts and all that talk about food during the run indicate that your body needs refueling.  Don't forget the water.

Long Run Checklist

Running clothes & shoes (take more clothes than you think you need in case the weather may change).
Dry shirt, shoes and socks for afterward Perhaps a fresh sports bra and shorts.
Sports Drink
Use a shoe pouch. Never leave valuables or money in your car, take them with you.

Women in Motion August 1.2000