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Preparing for Your Long Run

Preparing for Your Long Run

By Coach Mark Kwiatkowski


The long run is an integral part of the running process, no matter if your long run is 5 miles or 20, the physical and mental benefits it brings are undeniable. But there’s more that goes into a long run than just the run itself, and these four tips to get you and your mind right for a long run, are things I have learned the hard way through years of distance running training.


1. Plan your Running Strategy.

I sit down the day or night before and create a rough plan of how I want my run to go; usually this starts with planning out my running strategy consisting of what my run-walk intervals are as well as my target heart rate is for the run. Here at Playtri we advocate for a run-walk strategy as over our two decades of experience have discovered it is the fastest strategy for most athletes, as well as staying in your aerobic heart rate zone. If you do not know your aerobic heart rate zone, Playtri offers Blood Lactate Testing to help you find your zones!


2. Have a Nutrition and Hydration Plan.

For almost every long run in Texas you need water and electrolytes, and a general rule of thumb is to consume between 24-32oz for every hour you are running. When running longer than 1.5 hours, around 100-250 calories/hour is recommended. The more you can take on the better, so start low and progress the amount you consume, more commonly referred to as “training your gut.” Carrying all of this can be a logistical issue and that’s why we recommend the use of belts to carry what you need without overly weighing you down. Working with a Playtri Coach is the best way to nail your hydration and nutrition plan because they take the guess work out for you through a variety of tests that are offered to tell you exactly what you need on everything from a 1 hour run to a 3 hour run.


3. Get Some Sleep! Sleep is often the most underutilized tool we have as athletes to help us prepare for big workouts as well as just repairing our bodies from the normal wear and tear we experience from everyday workouts. The night before your long run, have a plan for when you want to start your run and from there, figure out what time you need to wind down for bed to sleep enough, putting yourself in a great position to execute your long run at a high level. If you are stressed about the next day, write down everything you need to prepare for your run and do what you can the night before to put your mind at ease.


4. Positive Self-Talk/Visualization If you are somebody who gets that uneasy feeling the couple of days leading into a long run, don’t worry you’re not alone. You feel that way because it’s something that matters to you, it matters to you that you do well on this run, it matters to you that you achieve something you set out to do, it matters to you that you keep stacking these wins, so you accomplish your goals. As athletes, we’re great at thinking about what is going to go wrong, instead, take some time to visualize what could go right. All these methods can help ease your anxiety about this large workout, because as athletes, we all know at the end we are going to be feeling amazing.


With all these tools in your toolbox, you have everything you need to crush your long run. And when you do, remember to look back at what you did and be proud that you achieved something that was uncomfortable, but overcame that and are better because of it.


Coach Mark Kwiatkowski is a Level 2 Playtri Coach. He is a distance runner of 12 years and is enthusiastic about all things triathlon and getting people involved and excited about the sport and achieving their goals. You can reach Mark at

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