This morning I went out for a long run and covered 15 miles | 24.1 km. Training solo means no group, no water stations, no emergency personnel to rely on.
First things first, checking the weather forecast to figure out what to wear: partly cloudy, the temperature was within the 50-60 °F range | 10-15 °C. This means that just a t-shirt and shorts would do the job.
Sport drinks and candy.
Before leaving home I prepared my sport drink (1) and filled up the two bottles I carry in my belt (2) and the one in the backpack (3). This amounts to 54 oz | 1600 ml, which I ended up consuming by the end of my run. Proper rehydration and electrolyte replacement helps delay fatigue. I also took a couple of byte size Snickers that come with just 40 some calories each. Half the calories of this chocolate treat come from fat, though the byte size candy is small enough for this not to be an issue of concern. I had just one upon completing the 15 miles.
Sprays, lotions and band-aids.
Before running I apply bug repellent and sun block the best I can. I use oat meal lotion for anti-chafing and any dry skin. Picture (4) also features band aids to avoid embarrassing (and often painful) bloody nipples. Unfortunately, a runner friend got badly bitten by a dog, therefore, at the bottom corner of that picture there is a pocket pepper spray for animals.
Running cap, sun glasses and first-aid kit.
Being repeatedly exposed to the sun for long periods of time means that developing skin cancer is a concern. In addition to applying sun block, I do wear a running cap. The running cap’s visor and the sun glasses (5) help with improving eyesight as well as protecting from: harmful UV rays, low hanging branches and leaves, trial dust and debris and, last but not least, annoying bugs. I carry a small first aid kit that fits in my backpack (6) which I will cover in another post.
The smartphone has running apps that take advantage of GPS, a music player and it comes in handy when having to make emergency calls, provided that there is wireless service coverage wherever you happen to be running. As shown in picture (7) I wear a GPS sports watch with a touch screen and a heart rate monitor. While my digital camera is not in the above collage, I like to take one with me that’s significantly better than that of the smartphone.
Socks and shoes.
Today’s run involved stepping on paddles and I wore the waterproof running shoes shown on the right side of picture (8). I took a picture of my running socks (9) right at the half marathon mark. I had to take my shoes off to get rid of debris. The right shoes and socks save you from blisters and reduce foot fatigue in long runs.
Tips for running solo.
- Know the route and stay alert.
- Let someone else know that you are going to be out there.
- Carry identification and pocket money.
- Take enough water and food.
- If running in the dark, be visible and wear reflective gear.
The fact is that covering a long distance by oneself can be challenging. Most typically, we run slower on our own than when running with a group. This means it takes longer to complete a given long distance and boredom can lead to fatigue.
There also is a need to talk to ourselves to do something like this before and during the run. While there is plenty of advice out there about the need to listen to one’s body, if I paid excessive attention to what mine seems to be saying I wouldn’t have gone beyond 10 miles today.
Our perception of any given sign can sometimes hide key stuff and amplify non-issues some other times. That translates into taking unnecessary risks as well as not pushing oneself hard enough. So, figuring out the equilibrium point takes practice.
I had an accident a couple of weeks ago and ended up in ER. Beyond the bruises, the most visible stuff was a black eye and a broken lip. I sincerely think that running has helped with a speedier recovery and I am happy to share that managed to complete 15 miles today.