Today, I was reminded of the importance of preparation when doing a “long run.” For me, a long run is currently anything more than about 5 miles. What is considered a “long run” is certainly VERY different for each individual. Today, my plan was for 10-12 miles.
I started off my run SUPER well prepared. I have been struggling with the humidity that living in Louisiana during rainy season brings, so I had frozen two bottles of water overnight, and set them out on the front porch as I started, with plans to loop back around mile 5-6 for a water break and to re-fill my fuel belt. I then planned to swing back by the house around mile 10 for another water break/refill and either take the dog for a walk or take her with me to finish my last two miles, depending on how I was holding up.
I did really good with my usual pre-run preparation. I had a protein bar, and gave it about an hour to digest before getting started. During that time I drank an energy drink (my current normal morning routine whether I am running or not, since it’s just too warm for coffee!), and I even remembered to take my inhaler well before setting out, giving it it’s optimal 30 min to get to work before I started challenging my lungs.
I was all set!
I should have stuck to my plan! Around mile 2.5-3, I decided I could keep going on, as I had only JUST tapped into the second of my three water bottles on my fuel belt. Around mile 4, I decided that I should just go ahead turn around at mile 5ish. I would get to turn around at one of my favorite turn around points, and I would get home just in time to take the dog out. Perfect, right?!?! Well… it WOULD have been, if I didn’t run out of water around mile 6 (remember? Right around when I would have been stopping home for a refill?) and had just turned around not too long ago. By mile 7, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to 10 miles without water, and cut my route short to head home. Around mile 7.5 (2 hours in), I realized I never used any of my honey gels. I usually take them around 45-60 min in, and then every 45 min or so from there.
Wait a sec. So I am battling the heat, out of water, and on mile 7 having only had a protein bar for fuel?!?! Yup. I am that smart.
So, here I am, having done 8.25 miles instead of 10-12, having not walked the dog, and feeling silly for not having prepared. Let this be a lesson to us all (and hopefully mostly to me! I do tend to learn things the hard way…. Several times over.)
Be prepared! Stick to your plan! It is always ok to deviate from a plan, especially if you are having an extra difficult time, facing the possibility of injury, or other such things, but you are probably a pretty smart person, and your plan is probably pretty solid. It is there for a reason. Try to follow it.