Van Herp’s Rocking the Long Runs

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Training

By Tim Ritchie

Part Two of following the Legion in their preparation for the Boston Marathon dealt with their training in general. Part Three now looks to the cornerstone of marathon training – the long run or the mid-build up race. Many runners choose to ‘check in’ on their fitness by simulating what they are going to do on Marathon Monday either by way of a planned long run or through a shorter distance race. This way they can practice their preparation, get in the marathon mindset and see if any adjustments need to be made in the final weeks. Now, in their words….

Bridget van Herp

How has the long run become the key piece of your training?

The long run in my eyes is the most important piece of training.  It helps your body to build up to whatever length of distance you are training for.  I think if that if I didn’t incorporate long runs into my training then I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon or at least my mind wouldn’t think I could.  I’ve now run up to 21 miles and have the confidence that I can run the full 26.2 (knock on wood).  Each week I’ve run a little bit longer and I’ve been able to push through the last few miles each time so knowing that gives me confidence and helps my body adapt to longer mileage.

What is your LR routine (food, time, training partners, location)?

My long run routine usually starts with the day before.  I make sure the day before I prepare like any important race day.  I make sure that I hydrate and of course have a nice pasta dinner.  Not too much pasta because then my body will just feel heavy the next day.  I’ve only done my long runs on early mornings.  It’s easier for me to get out at the beginning of the day than at night.  I also usually will do my long runs with my brother who is also training for the marathon, my Dana-Farber team or the Melrose Running Club who also does a long run during Winter/Summer training seasons.  Locations vary.  I enjoy running around the Wakefield/Melrose/Stoneham area for a local run but I have enjoyed running along the marathon course so that I am use to my surroundings and get to know the Newton Hills haha!

Where does the LR fit into your weekly training plan?

Long run always falls on the weekend.  Most of the time I’ve done mine on Saturdays but there have been a few of them done on Sundays.  Always the weekend though so I have the rest of the day to recover and enjoy a nice large pizza as an award.

What do you do for recovery from the LR?

I tend to do a lot of stretching after and foam rolling.  I haven’t gotten myself to sit in an ice bath yet.  That sounds like torture to me! I’m not sure if my large pizza helps with recovery but I can just pretend that it does.

One run in detail…

One particular Long Run that has been the key to helping me figure out how race day is going to go was the 21 miler from Hopkinton to BC that I just ran.  I got to run the course and it helped me out a lot to figure out where my time will be around and what obstacles I will possibly face.  That mile 16 downhill really was important because when I ran it, I ran 30 seconds faster than I thought I would run.  I tried to slow down but somehow gravity kept pushing me faster and there seemed to be not much I could do about it.  I heard the same from a few other runners. Also, my legs cramped up bad when I turned the corner and hit the hills.  I have to be mentally prepared to push through.  Obviously I didn’t run the last 5 miles or so but you can start to see the Pru from the top of the last hill. It’s the home stretch after that so I’m confident I can get to that finish line!!

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