This advice has been contributed by one of Taiwan’s most prolific long distance runners Yi Lin Chung.
As a runner that has lost some speed after hitting my mid 30s, going for longer distances is another way to challenge myself. Please allow me to share a few personal tips in training, gears and nutrition for long runs.
Three Pre-Run Musts
- Course: Familiarize yourself with the route and plot out places where water and food are available for refueling. I also search for fun places near the area that I can hit up after the run (good restaurants, hot springs, scenic spots etc.).
- Weather: Definitely check the weather report, which is a good reference for what to wear and what gears to bring. It’s also a good way to mentally prepare for the run. Seeing 34 next the word temperature the night before will certainly gets you thinking….
- Terrain: Select a pair of shoes that best suit the terrain. Don’t wear a pair of aggressive trail shoes if you are running LSD along the riverside path. Duh… right shoes for the right runs!
Next is my packing checklist:
- For long runs, I always notify my family of my destination and plans for both safety reasons and to give them peace of mind.
- Insurance card: For emergencies (knock on wood with all 24 of my knuckles), it’s an easy way for others to find out who I am, and medical professionals can find my emergency contacts and medical histories through government databases.
- Subway EasyCard: It is the greatest invention for runners in Taiwan (Octopus card in HK or equivalent in your country will work as well). We can purchase foods and drinks from an array of convenient and grocery stores as well as pay for public transportations. I usually put 500 NT in my card. It is more convenient than paying with cash and most importantly I won’t have a bunch of change jingling in my pocket or pack.
- Cash: But of course, not all stores, especially the moms and pops in rural areas, accept EasyCards, so bring cash if your route is mostly in the boonies.
- Smartphone: It’s essential for many obvious reasons – taking photos, emergency calls, navigation etc.
- A change of clothes/towel: If I’m taking public transportation to go home, I will prepare a clean T-shirt. Don’t want to stink up the whole bus.
- Battery pack
- First-aid kit*
- Head lamp
- Light weight windbreaker 7 to 10 are “just-in-case” gears, but as we trail runners know, getting lost is part of the game, so better be safe than sorry.
These are my supplements for longer runs:
- Sports drink, water
- Salt pills
- Energy bars and gels
- Some solid foods such as rice balls or bread
My hydration gear:
The purpose of long runs:
- Muscle memory: Allow your body to get used to moving for very long periods of time. Persuade your body that long distances are the norm and eventually it will become a long distance machine. Long runs train your mind as well. During tough races, you will feel more confident when you have experienced these “pains” before.
- Fueling practice: Long runs are the best way to understand your body. When should you fuel and with what? It’s also the time to test new products and methods before your next race.
- Gear test: It’s important to test any new gear – shoes, packs, shirts, lamps etc. Give yourself a chance to understand and maximize the advantages of all the little details your equipment has to offer. Test them and find out which gears are best for which race situations.
I would love to hear your thoughts and tips as well. Thank you. Happy Trails.
- My first aid kit includes:
- Emergency blanket
- Iodine cotton pads
- Water-proof band aid
- Stretchable tape about width 2.5-3cm x length 80 cm
Yi Lin Chung is one of the most prolific train runners in Taiwan, having completed races of up to 100 miles.