Plotting Out My Long Runs

Plotting Out My Long Runs

With marathon training in full swing, my runs are getting longer, which means strategically planning my routes. I of course need to make sure I get the miles in, but I also need to plan for water refills along the way. It’s been ridiculously hot and humid in the Chicago area for at least the past month, so I’ve had to get creative to assure I stay hydrated in the heat. I always carry a liter bottle of water with me when I run, which generally lasts about five miles. On my longer runs, I need to either circle back home, or plan my routes around places to refill. I really prefer not to have to circle back home.

My first water stop

Luckily, there are plenty of running trails near my home, but unfortunately, not all of them have bathrooms or water fountains. I’ve learned over time where the ‘hot spots’ are, and by now I pretty much have it down to a science. Today’s 12-mile run in the heat called for a few more stops than usual. About four miles in, I headed over to the park pavilion, which not only has water fountains (not just for humans, but also for our four-legged friends!), but a pretty decent bathroom as well.

Gotta take advantage of the facilities when you can!

I didn’t necessarily have to go at that point, but it was there…so why the heck not?


Enjoying the cool shade

Next, I headed to the forest preserve trails for some much-needed shade. About three miles in there is a baseball field, with not only a water fountain, but also a vending machine with Gatorade and water! I didn’t need it today, but I always carry a few bucks with me, just in case.

Refreshments on demand


Mid-run stretch








Another couple of miles in, I crossed a beautiful bridge. I took the opportunity to get a few stretches in and was then on my way. Maybe a mile later I ran through a small tunnel. It was not just cool temperature-wise, it was cool (as in awesome!) to run through it.


This obviously (obviously!) called for a jumping pose. With a later start than planned (what else is new?) I decided to cut my run a little short, so I turned around and made my way back to the refreshing shade of the forest preserve.

A couple of miles later I was back at the baseball field…just in time for another bathroom break!

Strategically-placed bathrooms



Another two miles and I was back home, 12 miles completed. The temperature had probably reached its peak by then, so what better way to cool off than to jump in the pool? I didn’t bother to change out of my running clothes, and oh, it felt so good!

A refreshing jump in the pool to end my long run

Do you map out your runs? How do you manage staying hydrated during your long runs? What fun ways do you cool off when you’re done?


  1. That’s so smart! Unfortunately I don’t have many running trails near me but I do normally start and end in a park that has bathrooms and water fountains. I usually carry my handheld with me on runs since I never know when I will find a water fountain!

  2. Nicely done. I usually just carry all my hydration with me. If I know I’ll be out for hours on end I’ll carry my double barrel with me.

  3. I love this post! I carry a water bottle with me and there are plenty of places to refill along the route I run (and public restrooms) which helps a ton!

  4. As much as I detest carrying a water bottle, I have gotten used to it. It’s a small, 8-oz bottle, so it’s never too heavy, but does need frequent fill-ups. I also have a hydration vest that I use on occasion for really long runs.

  5. We are super duper spoiled here with the Lakefront Trail, and I am even more spoiled because I’ve always lived close to it! Bathrooms, water fountains, and hell, even a jump in the lake if you want it! lol!

  6. Wow, you drink a lot of water. My 22 oz bottle usually lasts me 8-10 miles. On the rare time I run longer I use my Nathan. But, it’s good to know where the stops are!

    1. Author

      I do drink a ton. I probably drink 3 or 4 liters a day when I’m NOT running. I wish I could find a solution better than the frequent stops.

  7. I don’t typically map out my runs. I let my Garmin take me the distance often deciding where to go during the run!

  8. Looks like you had a lot of fun on this run! I usually run and out and back but have brought money for water/gatorade just in case.

  9. That pool looks very refreshing! We were out of town last week, and there was a pool in the backyard where we were staying. I failed to take advantage of that post run. Shame on me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *