Over the past 16 weeks I have been training for my first marathon. I am lucky to have made as much progress as I have now done up to 21.7 miles and my last long run this past Sunday! On that note a long run at a slower pace is quite a time consuming task. It is also very easy to get unbelievably bored and/or discouraged during these runs. For those of you who occasionally struggle through their long runs here are some ways that I get through my 3 hour plus runs!
1) Make sure my Runtastic app is on for miles not km!
The thought of running 30-42 km’s is very intimidating as I don’t know if I even drive that far some days. I find changing my Runtastic App from Km notifications to Miles was super helpful as it’s almost a mind game. By doing I have managed to keep myself from getting overwhelmed by long distances, 22 miles sounds a lot better than 35 km.
2) Organizing my music
The night before my long run I adjust my playlist to fit the time I will be running. I also break it into 3 sections. Each section starts with my favorite run song “Believe” by Mumford and Sons and is followed with music that matches the goal pace of that section. My first section I focus on finding my pace and not going to fast. Its so easy to run fast in the beginning when you are full of energy but it is definitely not a good idea to start that way. I find listening to country or slowing beat music keeps me on track. If I can still sing along to the songs I am on track. My second section is a tad faster then the first and I usually go into some rock with a couple upbeat songs that give me a little push when needed. The third section is my race soundtrack. This music is upbeat and keeps me motivated. Stuff that I can really give it all to. I always aim for a negative split and doing this has really helped me accomplish that goal.
3) Feeling Nature and Have Fun With It
This may sound like a funny thing to do so let me explain. I struggle hard for the first 6 km every long run. I find when I jump up to touch a tree or put my hands in the air to feel the breeze it not only reminds me of the beauty around me but also quiets that discouraging voice that haunts me for the first 6 km. Take in the beauty that you are experiencing on your run!
4) Bringing a buddy
If you are training on your own for your upcoming race those longer distances can feel very overwhelming. I don’t know about you but I rarely get excited about running for 3- 4 hours on my own. Luckily I have found that when asking someone to bike with you not only does it push you a little to keep up but also gives you great company. I am pretty lucky that my parents will join me on my 21 plus mile runs occasionally. My dad high fives me as I go and my mom goes behind me cheering me on. It doesn’t get much better. So all in all I suggest you bring some cheerleaders on bikes for your long runs when you can.
5) Think through your week
My new take on life is if I can not figure out a reasonable solution in my long run then it’s actually a problem. This has really helped me take up time on my run and also think realistically about my life. I find it so easy sometimes to think of all the things going wrong in life but by spending some time on my run thinking through the issues at hand it reminds me how blessed I truly am. Another perk to this is that by the end of the run not only am I proud of my accomplishment but I am have a worry free mind.
I hope this helps any of you struggling through your long runs!