in it for the long haul: tips to surviving those long runs.

I have slowly but surely been upping my mileage lately in my quest to do something new.  I do this every now and then just to challenge myself because I really feel like there is no tougher workout than running distances.  At least for me anyway.  The trouble is, I almost always get injured trying to up my distance though. This year, I am putting a lot of focus on cross training and listening to my body.  My longest run recently was today and it was a whopping 8 miles in 1:01:23.

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First of all, I am very much aware that running over an hour on a treadmill is crazy talk.  It’s what I like though and when it’s cold outside, I would 100% rather run inside.  So, I took to my good ole mill this morning.  Things that can be really boring: running for over an hour in one place never leaving.  I am more than aware that long runs can be dreaded, so here are my tips to getting that long run done as painlessly as possible:

Surviving the Long Run

  • Get out of your mind: find something to distract yourself.  Pick a good audiobook, podcast, or playlist to really get yourself focused on something other than the insanity you’re putting your body through.  I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack non-stop for my long runs.  I get so lost in the story and music that the time goes way more quickly than usual.
  • Play with your pace: Don’t assume that because you can run a mile in 8 minutes or you can run a 5k in 20 that you can sustain that pace for the duration of your run.  You very well might be able to, but don’t force it.  Listen to yourself.  Start out slow and work your way up to a speed you find comfortable.  I like to alternate between 5 minutes at a comfortable pace and then 5 minutes at a quicker, but still manageable pace (ex. today I switched between 7.7 mph and 8mph).  Doing 6 rounds of 5 minute/5 minute intervals is a lot more manageable than running for an hour straight.
  • Don’t look at the time: Truth.  I cover up my treadmill screen with a towel when I’m running because if it’s showing I just stare and stare and stare at the distance watching it creep so slowly.  What I don’t know, doesn’t hurt me.  If you’re running outside, just take in your surroundings and don’t rely solely on your watch.  Watches can be great
  • Break it up: I’m running 8 miles today can be a very scary statement.  I’m running 2 miles is not.  8 miles is 2 miles four times and that, for some reason, sounds way more manageable to me.  When you’re running, just focus on the shorter distances.  Take it a couple miles at a time rather than paying attention to how far you have to go.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break: You’re running for a long time!  That’s great!  But it’s not the easiest thing for your body to do.  If you have to walk for a minute, walk for a minute and recoup.  No one is going to kill you for it.  In fact, I like to take a minute when I’m running to just have a sip of water and shake it out after I’m a little more than halfway through.  This helps me to realize how far I’ve come and know that whatever I have left is something I’ve already accomplished.

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So there you go.  There are my tips to getting those long runs done.  Pro tip: if you are starting to run more, don’t up your distance too fast or you will be met with a whole lotta problems.  I add a mile to my distance every week.  Any more than that and you’re looking for trouble.  All in all, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  It knows what’s up and knows when you’re working a lil too hard.  It’ll give you the signs, you just have to pay attention.

Now go out there and run!

 

-sj

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