So, you’re training for your first long-distance road race and are finally gearing up for the first long run of your training cycle.
If up until this point you haven’t covered more than about six miles in one go, then there are certainly a few things you’ll want to consider before you head out the door to tackle those monster miles.
In addition to prepping by fueling up with some nutrient-dense carbs — think oatmeal with banana and peanut butter, or whole grain toast with avocado — there are a few things you’ll want to make sure to take with you as you head out the door to tackle the many miles ahead.
Here’s what you definitely won’t want to forget.
1. Headphones and Music Playing Device
Sure, there are benefits to both running with and without music. But for those longer runs, especially if you’re going solo, it’s a good idea to bring some entertainment along. Make sure to craft a playlist with your favorite running songs or download a few episodes of your favorite podcasts.
2. Check the Weather and Dress Accordingly
Dressing perfectly for the weather is not an easy thing to do, especially during seasons like fall and spring when the temperature varies from day to day. It’s a skill that’s acquired through lots of trial and error, but rule of thumb says runners should dress for a temperature 10 degrees warmer than what it’s really like outside.
Related: What to Wear for Summer Running
If you don’t get your outfit right for a shorter run, it’s not that big of a deal because it’s easier to suck it up and deal with it when you know you’ve only got a short distance to go. But during a long run you want to make sure you’re going to be comfy for the entire ride, because when you’re out there for the long haul, apparel that doesn’t work can ruin the entire run. Don’t forget it: comfort is key.
During your long run, you’ll want to replenish fluids about every 30 minutes — don’t wait until you feel really thirsty to drink, because by then you’ll already begin to feel the effects of dehydration.
So, either plan to bring a water bottle along with you or strategically plan your route so you’ll be absolutely sure there are water fountains along the way. Also, if you choose the water fountain route, be sure that those water fountains are in service. Many cities shut public water fountains down during the winter months.
4. Credit/Debit Card or Some Cash
Ask any runner who’s trained for a long-distance race: you never know what’s going to happen while you’re on a long run, which is why it’s a good idea to carry some form of money with you. $20 is probably a good safety net, and if you have a credit card, it could be a good idea to bring it with you just as a back-up. For example, if you get injured and can’t get home or the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse, you’ll easily be able to catch a cab or hop on public transportation.
You should always bring some form of ID with you when you run, too. In case of an emergency, having an ID on you will allow first responders to easily identify you. But instead of carrying your actual license, consider investing in a wristband or pendant ID.