My 10 point plan for preparing a long run

On Sunday, I am going on a long run. A very long run. About 90 miles actually. It will take me about four days, I reckon. The reason behind it is that I thought I’d give it a go to see if I can.

I quite like a good theme too. I like to theme things. So this run is Wellington themed. My starting point is Apsley House, the Duke of Wellington’s London residence, and my end point is Walmer Castle, the residence on the coast where he held the position of Lord Warden of the Cinque Points and where he later died.

Now having never done anything of the sort, I’m clearly well placed to share my preparation plan with others, in case you want to pick up any little tips for adventures of your own.

Ok, listen up. This advice is like golddust.

1. Make a plan for a 90 mile run after you have been running for a mere six weeks.
I took up running in mid November. By January I had invented the Wellington run and given myself five months to be ready, the idea being that I finish on the day of the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June).
The naive confidence that you have at this stage leads you to believe it is a brilliant plan and to hurtle on ahead with the idea.

2. Do a few organised races
After running for just six weeks, I then went to my first 5k Parkrun. A month later I did my first 10k. Then I ran a half marathon the following month.
This is a good way to build your stamina and the race situation of the day means you’ll really test yourself. 

3. Proceed to work every waking hour without a single day off for an entire month
This is a good way to prepare as it means the time until your run arrives before you’ve really had chance to comprehend what on earth you’ve signed yourself up for and therefore a heightened feeling of unpreparedness and idiocy surround everything and you get quite distracted and clumsy.

4. Plan long runs but do shorter ones then nap in the garden
When eventually you get a day off to do a long run, it is a good idea to plan two shorter runs with a break at home in the middle. That means that when you had planned to go out for your second run, you can instead sleep through the afternoon, resulting in some mild sunburn and a cold cup of tea with small bugs in it. By doing this, you can realise that you haven’t yet attempted to hit the mileage you’ll be doing on your run and so become quite nervous about the run’s chances of success.

5. Do something to get you in the mood
When you find a few hours spare to get some running in, my advice is instead to go along to a historical reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo with horses and cannons and military bands and sit grinning and cheering like a teenager seeing One Direction.


Here’s the first band playing Uptown Funk. Aaaamazing.


German military band leaving while horses enter. They were so so good, even doing a little running dance thing. Fab.


Highland dancers and people dressed like they were at the Duchess of Richmond’s ball the night before the battle.


CANNONS! Very nearly wet myself, they were so loud.

6. Run to and from work one day
A week before you are due to leave, run to and from work, if it is far enough, to help you realise what the running will be like. Make sure you do this without the bag you’ll be taking on your adventure and include fighting through some foliage to find a place to go for a wee.

7. Buy the bag you’ll be using, four days before your leaving date
Yeh, I reckon it’s better to do it right before you leave, to give you almost no chance to get used to running with it on. Then do a 10k run and notice that it gives you huge red welts across your back, meaning you don’t use the bag for three days, to give them time to heal. This adds to the whole haphazard feel of the preparations and really puts you on edge, which is fab.

8. Do an intense yoga class after your first run with the new bag
Just to make your legs feel even more broken and unable to take on the long run, do a leg-intensive yoga class that makes you feel thoroughly mashed in.

9. Bash your legs on bike pedals then drop a metal cash box on your foot
This is the best advice on here actually as it has been the icing on the cake of my well-thought-out plan. Because of the heightened awareness of one’s own idiocy, a new level of clumsiness may start to appear in your life in the week leading up to departure. Hopefully you can channel this clumsiness to cause some real damage to your body and cast major doubt over the success of your trip.
Crashing your shins into bike pedals is most effective in this respect. As is misplacing a heavy cash box on the edge of a table so that it plummets down and lands exactly on the part of your foot where your big toe connects in. You know, the part that will be constantly moving while you run. The resulting blueish bruise is a sight to behold, with only 30 hours until you start your big run and no hope that it will have gone in time.

10. And finally, have a broken phone
I find that this is really helpful as it adds the element of uncertainty about whether you’ll be able to use the MapApp if lost, whether the battery will drain after 20 minutes or whether the sound will work so you can listen to audiobooks, which may be the only thing that can keep you going.

And so, my lovelies, go forth into the world and create your own adventures! I have MORE than equipped you for them so you have no excuses.

Tune back in next week to see if I made it or if I broke all my legs and arms on the way instead.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on June 13, 2015 at 06:00

    Good luck!


  2. Posted by absolutecynic on June 13, 2015 at 06:29

    Loved it and laughed all the way through it! Good luck with everything!


  3. You are my actual hero xx


    • I’m very pleased to hold this position in your life, as I pop my toe blister and recoil in horror at the sweaty stinky running clothes I’ve been wearing for the past four days!


  4. Posted by kristincduffy on June 25, 2015 at 20:36

    You are my planning twin. Especially #9. Clearly the best way to prepare for a long run is various injury to all of your running parts as close to said long run as possible!!


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