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If you have a long run of 60 minutes or more coming up on your schedule, make sure you plan ahead for it! Failure to plan the night before a long run can result in a miserable run or even a missed workout. I find it takes at least 30 minutes to gather everything I need for a long run, and I’m far more likely to have a successful workout if I take those 30 minutes the night before to get ready. Here’s what you can do to ensure your long run goes as well as possible. (You might only need a fraction of the items listed. I’ve tried to cover all the bases).

Long Run Planning Checklist

Click here for a free printable version of this long run checklist

_____ Gather and charge any electronic devices:
_____ Cell phone
_____ GPS watch and/or heart rate monitor
_____ iPod or other music source
_____ Headphones
_____ Also load any music or audiobooks onto your device
_____ Digital metronome or app on smartphone

_____ Plan your route

_____ Set your wake-up alarm

_____ Fill your car with gas to get to your route (or ready your bike, bus pass, etc.)

_____ Organize your fuel:
_____ Pre-run food and coffee?
_____ Fuel belt
_____ Sports bottles or hydration pack
_____ Filled with water and/or sports drink
_____ Gels, chews, beans, any food for consumption on the run
_____ Post-run snacks and recovery drinks

_____ Set out your running clothes and other gear:
_____ Shoes
_____ Socks (Compression socks? Calf sleeves?)
_____ Underwear
_____ Running tights, pants, shorts, skirt or any combination of those
_____ Sports bra
_____ Shirt, tank top (plus arm sleeves? Jacket? Vest?)
_____ Gloves, sweatbands, Handana
_____ Sunglasses
_____ Headband, hairbands, bandana, bobby pins
_____ Cap, visor, or cold weather hat
_____ Toiletries and post-run clothes (Toilet paper? Feminine products? Towel? Shampoo? Face wipes? Medications or special needs?)

_____ Gather any sun and body protection you use:
_____ Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
_____ Body Glide or other product to prevent chafing
_____ Bandaids
_____ Blister protection – 2nd Skin or Moleskin etc.

_____ Groom yourself:
_____ Trim your toenails (not too short! No cutting calluses!)
_____ Shave legs, armpits, anywhere you shave

_____ Think safety:
_____ Tell someone when and where you are going, and when you expect to be back
_____ Consider a reflective gear, knuckle lights and a headlamp
_____ Pack pepper spray or the like

Do you pack anything else for a long run? Have you ever forgotten a key item on your list? When I had to get up at 6 a.m. to leave at 6:30 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. half marathon training class, I got very good at planning for a long run. When that class ended though, I sometimes forgot to plan ahead. The worst thing I’ve forgotten so far is sunglasses. For me, planning ahead the night before is less about not forgetting something and more about getting out the door right away for an early morning run. One time it took me nearly an hour to get ready in the morning, and by that time my family had started to wake up and “need” me (if I’m out the door before they’re awake, Mike and the kids manage just fine. But if my youngest sees me before I get out the door, I’m toast! That early morning run might become a midday run in the heat or worse yet, might not happen at all.)

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