Preparing for a weekday long run

The past two rounds of marathon training have included more weekday distance. If you’re looking to get faster, you’re likely going to have to build up your weekly mileage. Ideally, that’s not all going to be crammed into the weekend. When I first started seeing 17km+ on a weekday being assigned by my coach, I was a bit intimated. I was going from one long run a week, normally on a dedicated day of the weekend, to multiple long runs a week. For example, yesterday morning (Tuesday) I ran 22km, which was longer than my “long run” this past weekend (15km for a recovery week). At first, the distance felt like a lot. I thought, how am I going to fit that long of a run in before work? Over time, and with more mid-week long runs, it’s become a lot easier to pound out weekday distance. That said, there’s a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few things to help you succeed:

Where you are going to run: Given that I run early in the morning, it’s even more important for me to figure out my route the night before. At dark-o-thirty in the morning, you do not want to be uncertain about where you’re headed. I’d recommend sticking to a route you know well.

Hop on a treadmill: While I’ve been doing most of my runs outside these past two training cycles, using the treadmill for  weekday distance is a very nice to have. It’s easy to watch a movie and let your mind zone out a bit.

Figure your fuel out: If I’m staying on the treadmill, I fill up two water bottles the night before. One with Nuun and one with water. I usually bring a gel with me, in case. I never seem to need it that early in the morning, which is interesting as I definitely require my gels on mornings I start my long runs later (8:00 am or later).

Entertainment: Again, if I’m sticking to the treadmill, I figure out which movie or TV show I’ll watch the night before. This is usually a bit of a process. I research the ratings of films and check out the “Film of the Week” on iTunes (99 cents, baby!). If I’m outside, I’ll download some podcasts to keep me entertained. Much like a weekend long run, but I find it’s even more important to prep, as time is tight.

Mentally prepare: Like most things, your mental game is key. Tell yourself that you’re doing this run and that’s that. Don’t make a fuss about it; treat it as a normal weekday run. When I first started building longer runs in during the week, I over thought it – OMGosh this is as long as my long run, this seems hard – mind games ensued. JUST STOP. They aren’t as big of a deal as it seems. The weekday long runs have actually started to fly by quicker than my weekend long runs, and have definitely helped me improve.

Take it easy: I can’t stress this enough. Normally my coach has me doing easy effort midweek long runs, with a harder workout the following day. In order to perform in my harder workout, it’s critical that I take it easy the day before. While my legs will inevitably be tired from the longer distance, taking it at an easy-effort pace has provided me with the most benefits.

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Do you incorporate midweek distance in your training?

Do you have any movie or TV show recommendations? I'm always looking for new shows for the treadmill!

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