Week 19: 10

Ten (10)

  • is the third binary number and is equal to the decimal number 2
  • was a rather B-grade movie from the 80’s starring Bo Derek
  • is the most common figure used to commence a countdown
  • was the number of weeks left until my ultra as at the start of this week just gone
  • is the number of sports bras that I possess
  • was the number of commandments handed down, and an epic film from 1956 starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner (I preferred him in The King and I)
  • is the cooking rule for fish (ten mins per inch of thickness)
  • is the basis for the decimal numbering system (can you tell I am a math nerd yet?)
  • is the average speed in kms/hour that I try to aim for when running a LSD (long slow distance)
  • was the number of laps I ran of the Tan yesterday, including up Anderson Road hill!

Which leads me to this week’s post – the Long Slow Distance, or LSD for short.

A few people have commented on the distances that I have run on weekends, and others have asked about my preparation or recovery, so I thought I would share my LSD approach. To me an LSD is anything over 20kms. Please remember – I am not a running coach, and what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. It has usually been a case of trial and error to work out what ‘fits’ for me.

The day(s) before

In the day or two before I am running an LSD, I try to boost my calorie intake a little. I know that I will lose around 2kg when I do a 30+km run, so I usually try to pop a little of that on leading up to the run – with healthy choices of course     ; )   .  Often the extra calories will come in the form of second breakfast, slightly larger serves for dinner or a small dessert afterwards, and an extra afternoon snack of some yoghurt. I try to make sure I have a lot more protein in particular. Eat till I have had enough – no point going to bed bloated! Besides, if I eat too much the night before the run, I will just invariably need to find a public toilet somewhere along the run. And what do I eat the night before? Simple foods that my body will break down easily. Often it is a pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce, usually a Bolognese. The other week I had fantastic Greek moussaka at a restaurant just a couple of blocks away, Othello. Whatever the dish, it will usually be accompanied by a green salad of some sort. Nothing too spicy, even though I love a good curry, as I pay for it the next day sometime around hour number 2 of the run.

I am usually pretty slack on counting how many glasses of water I consume each day. However, I actually pay attention to this in the days before an LSD – 8 glasses will be consumed! I have even been known to stick reminders in my diary to ensure I drink sufficient water! No point in having too much though, as it will dilute the salts in the system, and I need those for nerve functions the next day.

Sleep. I try to get a proper 8 hours sleep before an LSD. I survive during the week on about 6.5-7 hours a night, but need a little more for the long run. I usually don’t go out much the night before an LSD, or if I do, it is not a late one.

On the day

I get up about 2 hours before I want to leave the house for my run. The first 15-20 minutes of my day are spent doing a series of stretching and toning exercises. I do this pretty much every day, not just LSD days. It helps ensure my back stays OK. I have had a lot of problems with my back over the years, and have been in Emergency departments in hospitals on a number of occasions due to it. My morning routine involves a lot of exercises to increase flexibility and strengthen the core. These also have assisted me in developing defined abs now as well, so hey, not so bad. On the weekends though I spend a lot longer with my foam roller (ah – the love/hate relationship there!).

Breakfast is then consumed. It is always a variation of the same thing: oats/porridge. Most commonly it is a bowl of porridge that is topped with walnuts, banana, cinnamon and a few teaspoons of organic maple syrup. Yum! I have tried a lot of different breakfast options, and this seems to work best for me before a long run. The oats keep me feeling relatively full for almost the entire run. I do pop a few nutritional supplements in a fly wristband for the run though, as I can’t run for 4 hours without something to boost the blood sugars etc part way along the journey. This will most commonly be in the form of a couple of tubes of peanut butter flavoured Gu (mmm!), and a sliced up walnut and date protein ball or a small chocolate flavoured protein bar. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot – and it is not. But I just can’t eat much while I am running. Thus the need for a sustaining breakfast.

Then I have the routine of getting into my running gear. Body Glide (a distance runner’s best friend) is applied anywhere that I know abrasion will occur, then on with the layers of lycra and moisture-wicking attire. Then I will usually faff about and perhaps do a load of laundry or something so that my breakfast has time to settle, then it is out the door!

I won’t write about the run itself – I think I have covered that in numerous other posts.


Relieved it is over, and also sad at the same time, I press the button on my Polar watch to stop the timer/counter that tracks my distance, speed and time, and have a quick look at how I went. Then I start my recovery stretching and post run routine.

Polar data from Saturday's run

Polar data from yesterday’s LSD

I do a series of dynamic stretches immediately after I cease running, as I have found that my joints don’t like it if I just stop dead. They want to cool down slowly. No doubt I look a bit odd to all of the people in the cars driving past as I skip along the street doing high knee lifts, glute-kicks, etc. Oh well. I will probably outlive many of them. Anyway, back to the stretches: after the set of dynamic stretches are completed I go to the well-known static stretches to lengthen out the calves, achilles, quads, hammies, etc. I usually hold these for a little over 30 seconds. Rain, hail or shine, I always do my post-run stretches outside. Don’t know why. Just habit now I guess. When I finish and head inside my building I am essentially done from anything physical, and it is all about replenishing and recovering.

As soon as I step inside and take my shoes off I start running the bath. Epsom salts are always thrown in and I also usually pop some bubble bath in as well. Why not?  : )   While the bath is running I prepare an electrolyte replacement drink and a small snack to consume in the bath. Before bathing I weigh myself to check I haven’t dropped too much during the run. Most of the weight loss is due to fluids lost, but also muscle mass. Anything over a 5% loss is not good medically, and will mean I need to be careful and to ensure that I drink more fluids next time out and try to eat a little more. My loss is usually a little less than 3% of my body weight, which is in the OK range. I am usually good at taking water as I run, and the Tan is perfectly set up for that as there are drinking fountains pretty much every km. I drink from them every 2kms, even if I am not feeling thirsty. That is the key – drink often and drink early, but not too much.

Then it is time to hop in the bath and drink/eat. I feel a little decadent eating in the bath, but what the heck! It is only an electrolyte drink and some protein snack usually, not champagne and caviar!

After my bath ……..it is time for second breakfast!

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4 Responses to Week 19: 10

  1. Kristine (Kipwil) Willems says:

    Some good ideas to try for me here, thank you. I eat oats before a run too…they keep me going. I don’t drink a lot though as I run, although the longest I’ve run is a half marathon and I sipped during that. Dynamic stretches are a great idea! I’ve noticed my joints, with static stretching aren’t as happy as I’d like…love reading your blog.

    • ultraprimed says:

      Thanks, Kristine. I do find it challenging to take water so I make myself have a small amount every couple of kms, then it doesn’t feel like I am guzzling a drink!

  2. Carol says:

    Terrific blog post Di, and really learned stuff. It’s amazing thinking how much you can push your body, but it will bounce back with the care you give it. Ahhh and there’s the Body Glide, my newest best friend. I swear I would body glide my whole body if I could! haha As for eating in the bath, I agree, very decadent, although in days gone by it was a cup of tea and a Tim Tam. Not any more.

    You know now I’m going to have to Google dynamic stretches, as to what that all entails.

    As for drinking the water on the run, I get it of course, and even my miniscule distances compare to yours, but I’ve found in fun runs, the minute I even take a tiny sip from an offered cup at a water station, that’s like the flood gates have opened, and I am busting to go. Must work on that. 🙂

    • ultraprimed says:

      Ahaha! Love the body glide comment!
      In regards to the waterworks – yes, I am the same in winter at any rate, as the body doesn’t sweat quite as much fluid out so it has to go somewhere!

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