My Pre-Long Run Ritual is Either Really Smart or Really Dumb

I love to hate long runs. While they are time-consuming and exhausting, they also build mental strength and are one of the best detoxes in the world. After the run is finished, that runner’s high is truly out of this world. Beforehand? Not so much. While I often have to muster a ton of mental effort to get out on the road, I try to stick to a ritual that has worked out quite well.

The Night Before: Accepting My Reality (and Completely Dreading It)

I can feel it coming, but I am never excited about it. To justify the dread I feel before a long run, I have a big, epicurean meal complete with complex carbohydrates and candy. When I’m done, I justify that I’ll run it off in a few short hours.

I also lay out my outfit and hit the hay extra early.

30 Minutes Before: Fuel Up

When I wake up, it’s time to fuel. Typically, I’m not a big pre-run eater, but over an hour on the road justifies the necessity. I try to eat something that I’ll at least be semi-excited to eat. Usually, that’s a banana with peanut butter on the side. I pair it with a glass of water and some coffee. The extra caffeine jolt helps.

20 Minutes Before: Pack it Up

Depending on how far the run, I’ll pack extra water or energy gels in my Nathan Belt. When it comes to energy gels, I add them if I believe that I’ll be on the road for over 90 minutes. At that point, I’m sucking one down every 45 minutes to maintain energy.

5 Minutes Before: Pump the Jam

I usually do a few stretches. More importantly, I play one or two songs that really get me going. Lately, that’s been pretty much anything by Greta Van Fleet. Additionally, I’ll try to think about some issue or problem that’s been weighing me down and focus that energy into getting me out the door. By the end of my run, I’ll have run all the negativity off.

What’s your pre-long run ritual?

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