One learns a lot about oneself when running for 20 or more hours per week: food preferences, best pain relief tactics, how to enjoy the hours. Taken straight from my training experiences, below is a short list of things I have learned not to do during extremely long runs.
- Don’t consume food within five minutes of applying Icy Hot or Biofreeze. Or if you’re going to eat, use the hand that wasn’t just touching the gel. Your tongue will thank you.
- Don’t put open GU packets in your pockets. It doesn’t end well for your pockets.
- Don’t sleep in your bed if you want to wake up at 4 in the morning after 4-6 hours of sleep. The floor was made for a reason.
- On the subject of sleep, don’t go to sleep without a route in mind for the next day. Waking up and not knowing where to run invites crawling back into bed.
- Still on sleep– don’t go to sleep before having everything ready for the next morning– food, Gatorade, shoes, flashlight.
- Don’t think about the 15 miles you have left after you’ve already gone 20 miles. One step at a time.
- Don’t stress if your pace falters. You’ll feel better in a few miles. As I heard from ultrarunner Marshall Ulrich a couple years ago, “It never always gets worse.”
- Don’t get hit by a deer. (Don’t worry, this hasn’t happened… yet.)
And above all else,
9. Never say no to someone who wants to run with you. It is always, always, always better to have the company and good conversation, even if it means slowing down for a few miles.