For those who may not be familiar, a long run is the run in training of a distance of 16 or 17 miles and more. Typical long runs (for marathon training) are distances between 18-21 miles. It is one of the runs that runners tend to dread or love. 🙂
Long runs can be monotonous and lonely but can also be a great time to just check-out and get some quiet. I normally like the time of a long run and love when I have a good long run. It always makes the run more enjoyable when I remember to go at the proper pace (which is, on the average, 45 – 90 seconds slower than marathon pace) since it does what it is supposed to and I have enough energy left for runs in the next couple of days.
However, there are two things that bother me on the long run.
I am competitive by nature and when I see another runner ahead of me, it is close to impossible to hold back and not chase after the runner. Even though the other runner does not even know I am there, I always look at it as a challenge to catch any runner ahead. The farther away they are the better! The problem with this is that I am really working to do my long run at the slower pace that the run demands (back to that 45-90 seconds slower). When I see a runner, I push myself and find myself going quite a bit faster than marathon pace. This really messes up the purpose of the long run (time on your feet, to put it simply), unless I am doing a long run that has marathon pace miles in it. So, then I battle myself the whole time to not try to race after the other runner(s).
The flip side is that it is great to have runners ahead of me during any type of tempo workout. When I lived in Rochester, I used to plan my tempo runs to coincide with the start of the cross country team’s workout at the nearby high school. The high school was 1.2 miles away, which made for a nice warm-up. If I timed it right, they were just heading out to the bicycle path as I came down the bridge. That helped me to chase them and made my tempo run all the better! Just not during a long run… 🙂
Traffic and Red Lights
It is very helpful during the latter part of a long run to be able to keep moving and not stop. When I stop, my muscles start to get a little tight and the fatigue begins to set in a bit. If I keep moving, it helps me to just plow through. I normally do not have to worry about red lights – except for one spot 1.5 miles away from my house. It is in a spot where it is not really safe to keep going in the other direction if there is traffic so I normally need to just wait for traffic to clear to cross the large highway.
The problem is that as I approach the intersection, I normally will not see many cars at all. The few that are there are spread out enough that I have enough clearance to run. To help matters, as I approach the intersection, the red light will normally come on for the traffic I need stopped. The problem is that just before I reach the intersection, the light turns green and traffic comes out of nowhere! The traffic is so heavy that there is no way I can cross. So, it forces me to stop. I mean, this is almost every time! Where do these cars come from and does the red/green light just like to tempt me? 🙂
What About You?
How about you? Do you have any little pet peeves of things that happen during your long runs? Like having to go to the bathroom when you are only 1 mile into the run? 🙂