This is the first weekend in awhile that I won’t be taking a long drive for a long run. I’m happy about that, both because I am tired of devoting my entire day to a run, and because I don’t like the environmental impact of driving so much to runs. (Also I have a lease on my car right now, and while I’m 99.99% certain I’m going to buy it when the lease ends, I’m way over my mileage so if I did need to turn it in, I’d owe a bunch of money if this trend continues!)
I’ve learned some very basic, obvious lessons about how to make these runs work for me.
- Keep a bag packed with the basics.
I have a bag packed with pre-run and post-run gear all the time. My hydration pack has more supplies in it (TP, mints, gels, etc.), but the bag of basics I can grab for a long drive or a short one and be ready to go right away. Just like a gym bag. Before, I was keeping some stuff in my car, other stuff in my house, and then trying to remember everything each time. Now my car’s a bit less cluttered and I am not running around confused or forgetting important things when I head out.
- Fuel up on the drive.
So obvious. Eat and drink while driving, rather than eating and drinking before departing. I wouldn’t have to say this if I hadn’t made this mistake before, and ended up hungry/bonking on the run. I drink a vanilla Coke and eat an energy bar on the way up north now.
- Keep cold drinks and a snack in the car for afterward.
I freeze a bottle of water completely solid, and even on warm days when I’m gone for hours, there’s still at least a bit of ice left, and it’s refreshing. Packing a cooler could be a good idea, too, but that’s more work than I’d like. Ideally I’d like a snack afterward that’s different from running food (gels and energy bars), but I’m settling for another energy bar right now. A sandwich would be delicious.
- Bring a change of clothes.
One uncomfortable ride home from Schroeder, MN convinced me of that. I couldn’t even clean my glasses. Now I bring a t-shirt and flip-flops. Bringing a towel to sit on is another option, for people who want to protect their car but don’t care about changing clothes.
- Time of run > time of drive
Sorry, fast people, this puts you at a disadvantage. However, a 3 hour round trip for a 2 hour run is environmentally irresponsible and hardly seems worth the effort, besides.
These are all very simple changes, hardly ground-breaking epiphanies, yet they’ve made long run travels a lot easier.