On the surface, long runs are pretty simple, right?
Run for a longer time than you usually do.
But in practice, long runs aren’t always as straightforward as they seem like they should be.
If you’re struggling with your long runs, I promise you’re not alone.
Here are some tips that may help make those long runs a little less daunting.
Making Your Long Runs More Bearable
If you’re good to go when it comes to your long runs, then keep on keeping on.
No need to fix something that’s not broken.
But if you’re struggling with your long runs, I got you.
If I’m honest, long runs are far from my favorites.
So here are some things I’ve done in the past, or am still doing regularly, to help me get through my long runs.
Misery Loves Company
On the weeks when I’m doing my long run solo?
It takes forever for me to get out the door in the morning.
But when I’m running with Kate?
I don’t dawdle because I know she’s waiting on me.
Having a partner in crime is also helpful in making sure the work gets done.
More often than not, we aren’t both having a “fuck it” day on the same day.
So when I want to shut it down early? She keeps me going.
And on the days when she isn’t up for it? I can help drag her along as well.
You do know your long runs shouldn’t be fast, right?
At least not most of the time.
If you’re struggling with your long runs, especially feeling like you’re running out of gas before the end of the run, slowing down can make a world of difference.
And if you’re worried about your Strava stats or what people might think because you’re doing your long runs a bit slower?
Mix Up the Route
Sometimes a change of scenery can do you a world of good.
Mixing up your route can be helpful from the standpoint of new visual stimulation and alleviating boredom, but there’s potentially more to it than that.
It’s possible to develop a bit of a mental block to certain routes, and by making a change to the routine you can overcome said block.
There also could be some logistical issues that could be resolved by taking a few different turns along the way.
Maybe you avoid a hill or two. Or steer clear of a busy intersection.
Whether you drive to a different part of town or simply turn left instead of right when you get to the end of your driveway, mixing up your route can be an easy way to spice up your long runs.
Use Your Music Strategically
When it comes to your music, you might be wise to wait to push play.
Music can provide a great boost when you need it, but if you start jamming out at mile one it lessens the impact it can have later in the run.
Maybe start your run listening to a podcast or an audiobook instead.
Then when you start to struggle an hour or two later?
Turn to your go to playlist to help you get through the last few miles.
Chunk It Up
Sometimes the number of miles on the docket for the day can be a bit overwhelming.
Whether you’re getting into uncharted territory for the first time or it’s a distance you’ve done before, a big number can make things a little more difficult.
The solution: chunk it.
Admittedly, this is nothing more than an exercise in mental gymnastics.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Instead of running 15 miles, break it down into five 3-milers.
You do 3 miles multiple times per week, so that number isn’t nearly as daunting as 15.
So do three, reset mentally, and do three again.
Still struggling to do the mental gymnastics required to chunk things up?
Add a physical reset to the mix beyond the mental.
Add in a strategic walk break.
Now you finish your three miles, you walk for a minute, and then you move on to the next three miles (which now is only 2.9 miles).
You Got This
If you’re struggling with long runs, don’t keep banging your head against the wall, ok?
Try some of the tips above. Mix and match a little bit, and figure out what works best for you.
Long runs may never be your favorite, and that’s fine.
But they shouldn’t be a miserable slog either, ok?
How do You Feel About Long Runs: Love ’em? Hate ’em? Somewhere in Between?
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