Tuesday, September 13, 2016

7 Tips For Staying Motivated During Long Runs

I know that many of us are in the mileage building phase of our training plans, preparing for fall races.  Those weekly long runs (and sometimes mid-week long runs) can be pretty taxing on our bodies, but I have found that they can be even more taxing on my mind!  I'll be honest, a couple hours into running and I can get pretty bored/ready for the next thing.  So, I wanted to share some tips I've used to keep trucking along and get those long runs in!
1. Switch it up!  Pick a new route if possible because even your best-loved route can get old and monotonous.

2. Find a friend!  I love running with people, and to get my mileage in, I'll sometimes run multiple "out and back" routes, picking up different people for each loop to get the miles in.  I'd rather run with someone at their pace than run by myself.

3. New tunes!  Even downloading a few new songs can give you the pep that you need mid run to keep things going.

4. Play mental games with yourself.  Count the number of people you pass (kids are half a point), subtract if you get passed, dogs count for two points, and cat on a leash? Totally a daily double Alex!  This is my game, but pick your own based on what you see along your route.

5. Plan what you're going to eat after your run.  I generally always get hungry part way through a long run and planning my next meal will usually distract me at least for a little bit.

6. Think about a great race you ran - remember everything about it that you can: the start, the course, different ways you felt, what you saw.  Never run a race? Imagine what it's going to be like!  Experts will tell you that visualizing what you're going to do before you actually do it is incredibly powerful.

7. When times get really desperate, you can break the race up into chunks.  Just think about running two miles or three miles at a time.  Or if you have to do it inside (oh my, double digit miles on a treadmill), run a chunk, jump off to do something like a quick house chore, run another chunk, and repeat until you get it all done.  Just try not to let too much time pass between runs.

Hang in there everyone and good luck to everyone building up for long runs - especially fall marathoners!

So how do you get through your long runs?
What are your favorite tricks to keep your mind from getting bored and wanting to quit?

8 comments:

  1. I've noticed the two things that help me are having new music on my ipod because then I get excited to go run so I can hear it. Also, switching up the route really does make a difference!

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    1. I completely agree with you! The right song at just the right time can totally change a run for me.

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  2. When I'm doing a long workout, I definitely use music as motivation as well as your tip for breaking it up into small chunks mentally. It can really help!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Lisa! I don't know how people run without music - one of many reasons I'll never be a triathlete :) It's also amazing to me how much of a mental game running can be!

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  3. Great tips Lindsay! I like to break up my run into smaller chunks so it doesn't seem as overwhelming. 20 Miles = 4 fives. Sometimes if I stop to reload my water, I pretend I'm starting fresh from zero. Oh the mind games. I do love to visualize the race I'm training for and pretend it's going really REALLY well! :D

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    1. I will do the "start fresh from zero" game too. I think, "okay, imagine you're just starting this run - you can do 5 miles with your legs feeling like this!" Whatever it takes to get the miles in!

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  4. I like to add new music to my playlist and when I hear the new song I might hit the repeat key several times!! I also like to chuck down the long run to "trick" myself into feeling like I've gotten a segment done. So, there goes a 10K, now lets try that again. . . Finally, I think about what is waiting for me at the end. What food or drink will be my reward for my really hard work. I have been known to down a full liter of ice cold San Peligrino when I got back to the house. All in the name of re-hydration of course!!

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    1. We definitely use a lot of the same tricks! And few things sound better than a super super cold beverage ... with french fries :). I swear I dream about them sometimes as the miles tick by!

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