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Staying Safe on the Long Run (Chronicles of Running)

distance runningAll runners know that the foundation of training for a distance event like the marathon–and shorter distances as well–is the Long Run. “If you want to run fast, run far” is the time-honored advice.

Two Sundays ago, as I set off on my then-longest run of 8.6 miles, those words resounded in my brain as I struggled through the last two miles of my Long Run. I had planned to cover the distance in just under two hours, but found myself still plodding along after 2 hours, 20 minutes. As I gratefully turned the corner to my own street, I saw my wife pulling out of the driveway.

“I was coming to find you,” she said, more than a little irritated. “I didn’t know whether you’d been hit by a car or had a heart attack!” I realized that her concerns weren’t just the alarmist concerns of a non-running spouse; there is indeed a lot that can go wrong on the Long Run.

It occurred to me that I should have done two things to ease her concerns in advance. First, I should have shown her my planned route. I am not one of those runners who sets out without a plan. I always know where and how far I plan to run, and what my pace should be.

The second thing I should have done (and always will do in the future) was to give her a way to track my location in real time. Fortunately, this is trivially easy to do. There is a useful (and free) app on my phone called Life360. Once I enable “Location Sharing,” anyone I’ve added to my Circle can see exactly where I am.

This does wonders for peace of mind.

There are so many things that can go wrong when we are racking up our miles–and since distance running is so often a solitary undertaking, giving people who care about us a way to know we are safe is an important consideration. Any time I get into a small airplane, I file a flight plan so others know where I am. It makes sense.

Today, as I came to the end of a 10.75 mile run, my wife was in the driveway, cheering me. “I watched you turn the corner on my phone!” she said. “I got lunch ready for you.”

Now I file a “run plan” when I set out, and turn on Life360.

It makes sense.

Disclosure: I have received no compensation from Life360, and one of its key employees happens to be my daughter. The app is free, easy to use and takes up very little space on my phone. You should get it for your Android,  Windows or iPhone.

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