I'll be the first to admit that long run's aren't easy, especially when you really don't want to do it. I love running, this includes long runs, but sometimes when you hit a block, you need some help to get you through. Especially if you're training and want to stick to that plan! Here are my tips for conquering those long runs and staying on track!
HOW TO PUSH THROUGH A LONG RUN
BREAK IT UP INTO SMALLER CHUNKS
If I had hopped on the treadmill the other night with the thought of "ok 10 miles, here I come!" I probably wouldn't have made it. Yes, I realized that it was always going to be 10 miles, but I divided it up so it felt better in my mind. I chose to 1/4 it. Making it to the first 2.5 miles meant that the next marker I hit was 5.0 miles and I was halfway through.
Breaking it up this way allowed me to not get overwhelmed and probably took some pressure off the fact that I had to run for such a long time. 2.5 mile markers are much easier to hit than the 10 by itself.
MAKE A MANTRA
So, I've had the same mantra for, like, ever. Part of me almost wants to branch out and try something new, but another part of me wants to keep with what is familiar and what has worked. A mantra is the perfect opportunity to help keep yourself focused on the target and help/push you through! If you can think it, you can accomplish it.
My mantra is as simple as they come, but it's given me some serious willpower to get through some runs where I just feel like walking. Plain and simple, mine is, "you can do it!" - because I (and YOU) can!
FUEL YOUR BODY
I'm not afraid to admit that I haven't always been the best at this in the past. Part of it out of stubbornness, another part out of pure laziness. Either way, those both aren't good enough excuses for not fueling properly. And by fuel, I mean hydration and energy (aka kcals in the form of carbohydrates). If you're not fueling your body, it could and will eventually fail you, which is why I decided to change that! I like to use the following:
- water, water, water
- coocnut water
- Vega 'sustain' bars or other like bars
- candies (I know, I know, this isn't proper 'fuel' but it taste darn good!)
- fruit, like bananas
- some carb-y type food before I run (toast, oatmeal, pancakes)
GET YOUR GROOVE ON
I don't know about you, but if the right song comes on, I forget about the torturous amount of miles I have left and just zone out. My preference is definitely upbeat songs that I can match my strides to (and sometimes this helps increase my pace). But, don't get me wrong, silence can be a good motivator too. The great thing about music though, is if you put it on shuffle, you never know what is coming next and that's awesome and a fun anticipation while running!
GET A BUDDY
When I was training for my half two summers ago, I would get my little sister to ride her bike while I ran. It not only made me run faster, but made the longer miles seem much shorter. One night I remember, I had set out to only do about 5 miles, but felt so good that I kept adding a mile one at a time because I felt that good and eventually made it to 9. Do you know who was with me that night? My sister!
A buddy definitely helps keep the motivation up and might even help you get out the door in the first place. I'm trying to convince the hubby that he needs to run with me, and hopefully my sister still wants to be my partner in crime!
REMEMBER WHY YOU'RE OUT THERE
I don't care if it's training for a race or just leisurely that makes you run these far distances - just remember why you're out there. It's probably not because you hate doing it, but quite the opposite! Have fun with it. Stop when you need to. And, don't beat yourself up if none of the above things work. Maybe it just wasn't your day! But always make running something that you want to do, not something that you have to do.
Next time you're out for that long run, try one of the above suggestions and push through like a pro!
If you have a mantra for running, what is it?! Even if you don't, think up one that you'd like to use!