Four Small Tweaks to Make My Long Runs a Million Times Better

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John and I headed to Salem Lake Sunday morning for a long run. There were a four things I did differently, and I’m not sure which was the key factor–perhaps all of them–but I felt GREAT on this run. A million time better than last week’s long run. 

Here’s what was different:

1. I didn’t drink the night before. Or the night before that or the night before that. In fact, I only had one drink in the past week.

2. I tried Maca powder.

3. I wore compression socks.

4. I ran in a newer pair of Vibram FiveFingers.

Before we went, I fueled up with Mesa Sunrise gluten-free cereal, coffee and slathered up with Body Glide. 🙂 

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Before the run, we each took about a tablespoon of maca powder dissolved in water. John has been reading a few books by ultra-marathoners, and they swear by it for energy. I’m going to keep experimenting with it since I felt so great on the run. 

I also wore compression socks for the first time ever. John swears by them for keeping legs fresh during runs; they help blood circulate out of your legs more quickly, I think? I need to research exactly the science behind it. Since my legs got so tired on last week’s run, I thought it’d be worth trying so I borrowed a pair of his. 

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We ran the first loop together, about 7 miles, and then we split up so John could run a bit faster. I felt GREAT. I ended up running a little bit more than 2 loops, for a total of 15 miles. I averaged an 8:00 min/pace, and I picked up speed on the second loop. My legs did feel fresh, so I’m going to get a pair of my own compression socks.

I’m not sure if it was the maca or the fact that I didn’t have wine the night before but I had so much energy on the run, right from the beginning and all the way to the end. I felt like I could have kept running. I love having a glass of wine (or two) on the weekend, but it makes me so sluggish on long runs and makes it difficult to wake up early to run and then training just eats up my whole day. Cutting back substantially on alcohol can only have a good impact on my running. I’ll save it as a post-run reward. 

I ran in a pair of newer Vibram FiveFingers that have more traction than the older blue pair I ran in last week. I felt like I was slipping on the trail last week because the bottoms were so slick. It was definitely better today in the pink pair. And my green pair (not pictured) hardly have any traction left. I really should retire them.

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When I got home, I put my legs up for 10 minutes. It’s the BEST feeling. Especially outside in beautiful weather. I took a 10 minute ice bath and then put my legs up again for 10 more minutes. 

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Do you run in compression socks? Thoughts? 

What small tweaks have you discovered that make your runs – long or short – better?

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    11 responses to “Four Small Tweaks to Make My Long Runs a Million Times Better”

    1. Compression Socks are the best! I can’t believe you have never tried them before!?
      Plus Mesa Sunrise is my favorite cereal! Total win! I suggest pouring gallons of cinnamon on it too, it makes it that much better 😉

      • I KNOW! How have I not tried them before??

        I love that you love Mesa Sunrise!! I feel like no one has tried it! I’m gonna try cinnamon on it! I’ve been getting a little burned out on it but that would definitely improve things. 😀

    2. I love compression socks! I wear them on all of my long runs and sleep in them most nights. My favorite brand is Pro Compression. They have awesome colors, and you can find good deals on them! I haven’t tried maca powder, but now I’m curious!

    3. I make overnight oatmeal the night before—and my long runs are no problem…..some oatmeal and ground flax seeds mixed with plain yogurt, milk of any sort, almond or peanut butter and a splash of honey. Oh, and frozen berries. Stir it all together, refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning. After I eat it I relax for a few minutes and then get my clothes changes. There’s quick energy and slow energy in the oatmeal and plenty of calcium to build bones and protein for muscles!

    4. I ? compression sleeves!! I was very reluctant to try them but after I finally did, I was upset I didn’t try them sooner!! Now I can’t live without them for long runs! As for fuel, for my races I treat myself to oatmeal scotchie cookies 🙂 but for practice runs I do steel cut oats.

    5. my mileage is pretty low so I don’t wear them on my runs, but after several days of running for me I started to get cramps over night and just all around soreness. I wear the compression socks around the house or to sleep in and they’re a life saver.

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