A blog by runners. For runners.

Don’t skip your long run: tips + tricks

I love drafting training plans for upcoming races. I have a half marathon on the schedule for early October, and — though I’m a week late — I’m now getting starting with my 10 9 week plan. I have a pretty aggressive goal that I may or may not meet. Still, I will do my best and try to be active most days of the week with either easy runs, tempo and speed workouts, or cross-training like cycling or swimming.

Problem is, a summer sans real training and focused on recovery has left me struggling to get in double digits mileage on that all too important long run day. I have maintained running a 10-miler once a month, but otherwise have just tried keeping my weekly total around 25-30 miles a week.

Learning to love running long again will take a shift in mindset. It will also require some clever convincing and even a bit of enticing in order to make sure I get in the distance I need to complete so I’m ready come race day.

Here are some strategies I use and some that were shared with me by my blog readers:

  • Visualize how great you’ll feel when it’s over. I don’t like to wish my training away, but sometimes it’s best to fast-forward in my mind to the other side of all those miles.
  • Break it up into smaller segments. For runs longer than 1 hour, there’s usually some fueling involved. So, I’ll plan a couple stops along the way to drink water and briefly rest (usually no longer than a minute or two). Trying to get the first 5 miles done, then the next 6, and the final 4 is sometimes easier than the full 15.
  • Listen to music. I rarely if ever bring my tunes along for the run, but on particularly difficult days — it’s a must. If you’re not into music, consider podcasts or audiobooks.
  • Bargain with yourself. Start with promising to run one mile. Then another. Usually you’ll end up running most if not all of your workout this way.
  • Think of a time when you couldn’t run. Maybe you were injured or sick. Too busy with work or life. Spend a couple minutes remembering periods when you’ve not been so lucky to lace up, and you’ll feel thankful.
  • Write down your goal. Or say it out loud. Sometimes declaring — outside of your head, at least — why you want to finish the run in the first place is all the motivation you need.
  • Reward yourself. Don’t go overboard, but a little treat or two could be what you need. A new eBook. A cold beer. You get the idea.
  • Just do it. Some of the best advice I’ve received in running and in life is to get up and go. Step outside. Say yes to completing your workout.

What methods or trick do you use to keep logging those tough workouts?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.

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