10 Things I Think About Long Runs
1. I Don’t Like Running
I think that I don’t actually like running. 9 out of 10 runs are complete misery. Saturday’s 20 miler was the worst ever, it was 8 in the morning, everything hurt, Sean O’Keefe said I looked I had a bug and I couldn’t keep up with 730 pace. Friday evening’s 10 miler was the worst ever before that. On Friday I had a 25 minute dwell time in the car.
I think the rules of running are wrong. It makes no sense that all 20 milers must be started before 9am in the morning. I’m barely functional before 10am every day and I’m horrendously grumpy. People with children want to start at 7.30am. This makes no sense, why would people who are already sleep deprived want even less sleep?
3. Lucky Number 7
I think there is an agreed standard pace of a long run. A perfect run is precisely 7.00 minute miles. Slower than 7 is either a training crisis or being sensible depending on whether you ran it or are commenting on it. Faster than 7 is either a sign of great form or crazy training depending on whether you ran it or are commenting on it. In reality it doesn’t matter because no races are ever won at 7 minute pace.
4. Mile 8
I think the worst point in a 20 mile run is mile 8. Mile 8 is about an hour but no where near finished, there’s ages to go and even if you turn back you’ll have run 16 miles which isn’t enough. Pains are usually at their worst at this point.
5. Signifying Nothing
I think that nothing of any consequence has ever been said on a long run. Normally John Meade tells stories about people dying in extraordinary circumstances which passes the time. When John Meade isn’t there it’s just standard talking. I like talking, I don’t really know what I talk about. I think I might be annoying because when I run on my own and I have to talk to myself I end up annoyed.
6. Dwell Time
I think there is nothing more scary than the prospect of a solo 20mile run. The scary part is not the actual run, it’s starting the run. A solo run could result in a serious amount of dwell time in the car while you wait for that perfect moment to start. A good measurement of tiredness is the amount of time between turning off the radio in the car and getting out of the car. 10 minutes is perfectly normal. I normally use this silent time to pick the fluff from the grooves of the car key.
I think that it is very important to plan your route. I never plan my route, I don’t like knowing how long I have left. My favorite route is Raffeen because the hill comes at mile 8 and is a distraction from it being mile 8. I don’t like laps because there is a great temptation to stop. One lap plus Raffeen is 20 miles which is a perfect compromise.
I think that you shouldn’t drink water on a long run unless you have a full bottle to drink. A small drink of water will just stimulate the desire for more water and you’ll be even thirstier than you were before. If you’ve a full bottle it’s probably ok.
I think that I have never run without some sort of pain. The thing with a long run is that you could have a number of different niggles over the course the run. This is very confusing because it’s hard to figure out if there is actually anything wrong with you. On Saturday I had many pains but they were all gone by the end.
I think that the only reason that I like doing long runs is because of the smug feeling that you get afterwards. There is no worse feeling on a Sunday morning than when you have to look through Strava and see all the people who have run 20 miles. The only defense is to join them in their smugness once you’ve picked all the fluff from the car key.